19-03-2022 by Freddie del Curatolo
Those who know Kenya and have traveled a bit, dwelling on the details of the cyclical nature of certain human and social predispositions, know well that before each season of the great rains, at the edges of the roads of every town and in many bumps and bridges of the streets, even dirt roads, there is a ferment of spades and wheelbarrows, if not excavators and drills.
It's a race against the hostile weather, which will bring floods and inundations, which will deposit hectoliters of water on the sides of the roads and turn almost every traffic circle in the town into little Natron and Magadi. In the upside-down world of baobabs and poor people with the latest smartphone, this is the storm before the calm. Rain is seen by many as a salvation, to the point where even flooded roads are accepted. The quiet also provides much less people around, many fewer cars and especially motorcycles, which in Kenya are now more than mosquitoes.
Everything is normal, it's just hard to understand why many of the works are redone every single season, between March and April. In addition to the many contracts entrusted to the phantom "Penelope Company", which builds in the morning and undoes at night, only to start all over again, there are also displacements of specialized workers who even wear helmets and seem to be involved in their mission.
Are they complementary projects?
Are they improvements to work done previously?
Adjustments to something that was forgotten?
Or, simply, is there some leftover or emergency fund to be used and drained...more than the water that will come?
Judging by the daring and expertise with which many of these excavations and canalizations are made and followed, we would lean towards the latter.
If a good part of Nairobi is regularly closed during this period, except for always expecting images of entire neighborhoods with floating cars and shacks as bathtubs, there are also repairs of potholes, not always carried out in a workmanlike manner but sometimes providential so that unnatural pools do not form where a tuk-tuk could easily sink.
Malindi too is in turmoil these days, with the "roundabout" transformed for the umpteenth time into an open-air construction site, a hollowed-out octopus from which tentacles of channels that should lead to the sea branch off. Sometimes, however, it is the ocean that rises like a salmon. Who knows, with a little bit of luck, if we get the projects wrong, we could have an authentic African Venice, something other than Lamu...or, at most, a beautiful Malindi with the Navigli area. At this point, it would make sense for the people of Nairobi to call it, as they have done for years, "Little Milan".
This year's so-called "small rains" are very similar to the older sisters in May and June.
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