What if Ebola arrived in Nairobi in a Plane? Where would it go? Who would stop it?
Kenyans can be picky on certain things and completely passive and ignorant on other things. They can buy a 5 thousand shillings phone and not toilet paper or soap! A businessman interested in starting a firm that would manufacture powdered milk wanted to know the prospects of having Kenyans use the milk. His poll showed that Kenyans would not be the best customers for the product. Kenyans prefer real milk from a real cow. Therefore his multimillion-dollar idea and his capital were taken to another country. Kenyans are a fascinating people.
It is this state of being that allows many to survive on an almost empty stomach and still vote for people who do nothing for them. The past election showed that those who voted for TNA or ODM did not care who the candidates were. They had committed themselves to TNA/ODM and therefore when they went to the polling booth, they cast all the votes in what they called 3 pieces! They defend their position while walking on the same mud they have for years. Amazing!
I flew from Chicago through Zurich and arrived on Swiss air. I was excited because the Kenya Media had hyped the state of the JKIA. In fact ceremonies had been broadcast of the Transport CS reviewing the new masterpiece and declaring it a state of the art. Being a Diaspora I naively thought that the words written by the Kenya Media were actual! The plane taxied in and instead of getting out into an Orlando International Airport kind of way, we were let out via a staircase.
I noticed that the fire truck manned next to Swiss air is the same old fire truck. I think Mzee Jomo Kenyatta ordered it. Then I walked into the bus. They are modern buses within international standards. Then these buses drove us into the temporary international arrivals. I noticed that the Europeans arriving were nervous. One with children told the child not to touch the railings.
We then followed the people into the immigration desk. They are temporary and that means old, like those we used in primary school. Then we move to pick up our bags. At least the carts are free unlike Chicago airport where I paid 4 dollars! 4 dollars for that piece of metal! Then we pushed our carts into the open air receiving where Kenyan tax drivers wait with signs written in ink! I spot my people and off we go. Nothing at the airport told me that anything against Ebola was being done.
With Ebola devastating West African Nations, and the news media presenting it as the end of the world, one would think that Kenyans care. They are not even talking about it or imagining what would happen! Thank God we are in East Africa, but if one case arrived on the plane, or sea, or walk into the country through our vast unmanned borders, it would spread like wild fire.
Making my observation realizing that Ebola is spread body fluids, I begun by wondering. The airport has nothing impressive to prevent this. The taxis, buses and matatus are not virus proof. For example, a guy in Kimende stood next to a bushy shop. He was doing the natural thing he was created to do, leak. Then he zipped up and seeing me decided that we had not seen each other for a while. He stretched his hand to greet me. At that time I am thinking, he just leaked and like majority of people he did not wash his hands. The hands must have some remnants of stuff!
Not just him, but majority of toilets are out houses. The ones with urinals have no water. Therefore, when stepping on the wet floor, it is not water but urine. Then the main toilet though having a utility tank, has no water and the toilet has no toilet paper. The sink has no water leave alone soap. Imagine one person entering into this state of affairs! Imagine walking into one of these toilets, then going home? What would stop Ebola?
And you wonder what is going on in West Africa? They have the same problems and how do you stop the virus from infecting a whole family who share the outhouse with a hole in the ground with no water or soap. No matter how straight a shooter one may be, the next person must step on the wet floor! Imagine that!
But this is our home. And home is but home. What would Kenyans do without the Lords mercy?
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates @HTBluff