If ever I doubted that 8years is a long time, living in Kilimani has taught me that a lot can change in 8 years. From a relatively lower density predominantly residential neighbourhood in 2007, today (September 2015) the area has transformed into this mixed use, commercial cum residential hood.
Take for example Tigoni road, the crescent road connecting Chaka Road to Argwings Kodhek . In 2007 there were only 4 blocks of apartments i.e Prime Executive Court, Duncan Court, Touchwood Apartments and The Gables. Today, we have an additional 5 high rise apartment complexes (Twin Oaks, Fedha Residences, Glenbroke apartments, Tigoni Towers, and one other whose name I forget and apparently even Google doesn’t know it) plus one hotel under construction. Two residential houses in Cedar Court have been converted into a legal office MK Advocates. A mama mboga round the corner has set up shop and is doing booming business selling tomatoes at twenty shillings a piece (USD 0.2) when you can walk down the road to Yaya and buy two for the price of one but somehow she is still in business. And last but not least, a once quiet neighbourhood café has been converted into a church with daily services and a Kindergaten.
Let me put this change to Tigoni Road, Kilimani into perspective (aside from the blaring daily noise from the church):
|No more than 4 cars either way||At least 12 cars either way|
|DUST||Manageable – typical Nairobi||Unbearable – if you live on this road you must dust your house twice a day if you still dare to open your windows.|
|POTHOLES||1 or 2 small ones – manageable||2 to 5 large ones but for some reason they get fixed every two months thanks to a couple of high ranking officials with interests on this road.|
|WATER||Never a day without water Average water bill was Kes. 600 a month.||Not a single drop from Nairobi City Council – residents forced to buy water from vendors at Kes. 3,000 for 6,000 litres. Average water bill up to Kes. 15,000 a month.|
|ELECTRICITY||Reliable with occasional blackouts||Well, still reliable. At least Kenya Power spares this area and we are saved from the constant blackouts residents of Lavington suffer.|
|TAXIS||Average of 3 to 4||Average of 10 to 15|
On the Upside though, these changes have made some positive contributions to the area. For starters, Chandarana at Yaya Centre opens until 9pm so it is not uncommon to see people walking at night in the area and this is a great thing. The apartment complexes are all well-lit and therefore security lights in the area are always on black out or not. A couple of eateries are within walking distance such as:
Taxis are available 24hours and the good thing is that a good number of them are owner operated so not sure if UBER will penetrate the deep relationships some of the residents in the area have forged with their favourite cab guys. From Patrick and Sammy to Peter the mukorino these guys are just good to have around and they really do have your back. Any review of Tigoni Road will not be complete without mentioning Mogaka the kiosk guy – you know we always need that guy in the hood who is always willing to give you milk and bread on credit and provide a nice meet-up for the neighbourhood house nannies to gossip about their employers.
Finally, you know Kilimani is a cool neighbourhood when residents get together to create a foundation to focus on making the area a great place to live. Kudos to the founders of Kilimani Project Foundation – a job well done!