Last Friday afternoon at a fast food joint in Westlands, I noticed one of the outlet's cleaners approach a young man at a far corner and apparently ask him to leave.
The young man was about 15 feet away and furtively munching on something wrapped in a plastic paper. While I could not hear the conversation between him and the cleaner, I concluded that whatever he was eating, was the reason he was shooed away. That thing about, 'no food from outside is allowed'.
It makes business sense for an eatery not to allow food bought outside their place to be eaten there, because if they did, people would buy cheaper alternatives from elsewhere and use their seats, tables and leave garbage behind.
Likewise, the unwelcome guests would also use facilities such as hand washing stands and toilets, without bringing in any business. If such was allowed, I could buy my cheap wine from the supermarket and enjoy it on the high end sofa in a five-star establishment.
But while chasing people not promoting your business, makes business sense, the kind of action I witnessed at that joint, was humiliating to the 'victim'. Although the young man promptly re-wrapped his snack, zipped the bag in which he had carried it and quickly left through the nearest exit, I could tell that his ego was wounded.
There is no dignity in such a situation and the young man must have felt that he had been chased away, because he was a class lower than those enjoying themselves inside. There are many Kenyans who cannot afford to sit down and eat in a kiosk, let alone three square meals a day. Many young people walk kilometres daily looking for jobs. Hopefully, the incoming government will strive to change such circumstances and may be in a few years, most us will afford decent meals under shelter.
But before that happens, it would be nice for those who cannot afford to sit in an eating house or bar, to have some public places where they can rest their weary bones. That is why Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, such facilities like the Jevanjee Gardens and any other public parks, should be properly rehabilitated and kept in such a way that Nairobians will feel dignified resting there.
That is why Governor Sakaja, while there may not be open spaces to establish public parks in Westlands and other areas, you must think out of the box to make Nairobi more-friendly for everyone.
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Create benches and umbrellas on sidewalks for those who may purchase a cake and a small packet of milk from a supermarket or a 'gumu' from a kiosk to sit, eat and take stock of their day.
As it is today, Nairobi seems to belong to the bourgeoisie who can drive, shop lavishly in malls and eat proteins they do not need and then snug at the back left seat of a limo to go burn the same at a luxurious gym. Mr Governor, let the other half enjoy Nairobi even if in simple ways.