Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Malaise

The Standard has this interesting article about how the use of Kenya as a drug traffic conduit is slowly going to change Kenya into a nation of drug users. The interesting thing with Kenya is that other than the liberal smoking of weed and chewing of miraa (khat), the use of hard drugs ie cocaine isn't very prevalant unless you come from the down and out neighbourhoods or hang out with rich recreational drug users. It isn't like here in the States where over half of the people in jail are in for drug related offences and how some inner city areas have been brought to their knees by drug users and the crime that follows them.

This is both a good and a bad thing if you ask me. It is good to know that Kenyan law enforcement is doing what it can to stop hard drugs from entering the country but on the other hand the less hard evidence Kenyans see of hard drugs and there effects, the more blissfuly ignorant we shall remain. The best close example is the slow but growing alcoholism epidemic we have in Kenya. I had a Kenyan friend who works for an insurance company here and was talking to a client about their health situation so that they would consider the person for insurance coverage. So when it came to how much alcohol the person drank, the customer said they were an alcoholic; my friend in turn asked the person how many drinks per day he took. The client said X number of drinks per week, my friend put down the number but in her head she was thinking, "me and my friends drink that amount of liqour and more every weekend and we just fine."

The sad thing is that for most Kenyans as long as you are functioning you are not an alcoholic. You become an alcoholic when you everyday life becomes a mess due to your drinking; but if you can overindulge and function, you are fine. I think that is the same situation we have as regards drugs in Kenya, if we can't see the damage; then it's all good. I do sincerely hope that the cost of the hard drugs keeps them out of the reach of most Kenyans, young and old; we have enough problems as it is without having drug dealers, crack heads and broken families in the mix.

I was reading the New York Times when I came across an article by their travel writer called "36 Hours in Nairobi, Kenya." The article covered the usual tourist sites but what caught my eye was the paragraph below.


After a stop in Jeevanjee Gardens, Nairobi’s equivalent of Speaker’s Corner (on a recent Sunday a muscular and aggressive preacher held forth on God’s love for street children), head across Moi Avenue for lunch at Topaz, a chicken and chips joint. It’s one of the city’s favorite greasy spoons, packed even in the middle of the night, and everything here is lovingly deep fried. A meal of chicken, French fries, sausage and a Krest Bitter Lemon soda will run you around 350 shillings.

So now I can proudly say that I was a regular patron at an internationally reknowned dining establishment!


LJ-K said...

Forget Topaz, Millenium is the place... :-)

Kelitu said...

Great! Now i'm thirsty for a cold 500ml of Krest Bitter Lemon.
Thanx Aco for the throwback. But no matter what Kenchic is still Kuku Mfalme to me.

vedec said...

Topaz mentioned in the New York Times?!!! I am equally as proud then, to have contributed to its profits during those late night "dinners" ages amazed it still exists, at least under that name!
If half of what I've heard about drug use in Kenya is true, then I believe it has become more common than the govt. cares to admit, but is obviously less of an issue than it may be stateside. Alcoholism though is a big problem, it's just not defined as a form of addiction despite the social, financial and health destruction it causes. Unless ignorance has blurred the line between dependence on alcohol and the intense liking of it.

Unyc said...

Drug Use in Kenya is slowly growing in the Coast coz of tourists who smuggle them in n exchange them for sexual favours or sell them 2 naive pple promising heaven after takin the crack! Lol at ur pal...alcoholic and they take more than that...
A sure of keepin pple from using such is the price. It shld remain unaffordable esp 2 the teens n young adults.
As 4 Topaz, hpe they know they hv been featured in NY Times. Just as Kelitu its Kenchic 4 me always. We r kuku about chicken.

Majonzi said...

Very true about alcoholism in Kenya and with Kenyans. Kenyans like to brag how bars run out of alcohol when there is a group of Kenyans. And we really have a drinking problem, all over the country, from rural folk to urban folk. what gives? while women are in it as well, a lot of these alcoholics are men and heads of households. kuna nini wakenya?

how I crave chips masala!!!

egm said...

Alcoholism sure is a major issue among Kenyans. I guess in a way we should be relieved at the relative high cost of the drugs, otherwise we might have seen more of its use. But on the alcohol front, it is worrying when you see young people doing nothing but drinking throughout to the point of getting so sick antibiotics have to be prescribed (happened to a pal of my brother once). These people are hardening their livers from a very early age.

As for food, I'm with Kelitu and Unyc. Kenchic all the way!

The truth said...

like you i was jazzed that tpaz made it to the new york times kwel it is a nairobi treasure but i was shocked that nai has become so expensive .Alcoholism in kenya on the other hand is a sad affair many young people drink to look cool or for courage which is really sad especially when even after your campus days are gone you still rely on a tusker for courage and for social status.Not counting the thousands of homes and relatioonships that alcohol messes up .

If you can handle your drink its cool but if you drink to look cool or do things you normally would do then thats just lame despite ur ability to handle or not handle your drink

Sue said...

Ai!! topaz bado iko?
Enyewe drugs have begun sipping into the coutry .. especially Malindi.. Si even Joe Donde's kids were once caught transporting Crack at the airport...
Nowadays pia Kenya ni kubaiya

Unyc said...

the truth ni msapere!! yeye tu amenote risto za mullah...

Madsvibe said...

The alcoholism bit, everyone looksa at it differently I guess.

Never been to Topaz but I need to get there ASAP to see what the NY Times guy saw, if any.

The truth said...

@unyc- LOL you are right you have to save mullah

Udi said...

Me I am one of those people who advocate excess alcohol. I blame it though on my irish ancestry.

As for Topaz, many a nights have I made a detour and headed there.

Joshua said...


Will you be in Atl for the Kenyan forum? Holla at my email. Thanks.

Movie Buff said...

I really want some Topaz right about now

Farmgal said...

wah! I discovered Topaz in aug when i was hukoz Nai...yaani tha chicken and chips! Am salivating as I type!
A word of warning though, dont
go there in the day...

As for tha issue of drugs, I pray Kenya will not go down that road.

Acolyte said...

@ lj-k
I love both joints!
@ kelitu
I thought Topaz sold kenchic kuku? Oh well I could be wrong.
@ vedec
Topaz is a Nai institution I tell you! I think we need to confront these problems as Kenyans as soon as possible.
@ unyc
I think the bulk of drug users in the coast are tourists but there has been a growing number of youth who are getting involved and getting HIV in the bargain.
@ majonzi
Ah exotica masala chips! Now those were classics!
Yes we are a drinking nation sadly.
@ egm
Yes sadly some Kenyans dont know how to limit their drinking hence getting sick as ever, I have seen it too.
@ thetruth
How much are fries in nai now? DOnt tell me they have passed the 30/= mark!
Ego and alcohol are a very bad combination I tell you. Most people dont admit their weakness in the drinking front.
@ sue
Well as the story goes Donde's kids were just in the company of weed traffickers and not selling themselves.
@ unyc
Mbeca above all else!lol!
@ madsvibe
Topaz is a must! Have a quater on me!
@ udi
You is a fewl! Topaz after the rave is a must!
@ joshua
Will get back to you on that!
@ movie buff
That makes two of us!
@ farmgal
That food is on point I tell you! I also hope we stay relatively drug free; we have enuff problems as it is!

Girl next door said...

Alcohol is such a big part of the Kenyan lifestyle.
I read the full article---making the NY Times is quite a feat!