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Is Nairobi Dangerous?

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san francisco
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Is Nairobi Dangerous?

How dangerous is Nairobi as a city? Hearing stories of dangers of robbery, etc. My daughter is thinking of volunteering there for a month in July.

Nairobi, Kenya
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for Kenya
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1. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

Nairobi is like any other city. There are areas you would not go into, and areas that are fine. There are thousands of volunteers who come to Kenya every year, and I have seen where some of them live, and what they do. They are usually always safe, and very happy with what they are doing.

The organisations that arrange for volunteers to come to Kenya take care of them, and orientate them on where to go, what to do, etc.

I would say she will be fine, and she will have a great time.

Mombasa, Kenya
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2. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

Agreed with all the above :) Lived there for nearly 20 years till I moved to the coast. Usual precautions, as in any other place, have to be observed. If she sticks to the advise of the organisation which she volunteers for, she will be fine. I see young volunteers who are laughing and happy, so it can't be too bad :)


Tijara Beach Hotel

Kampala, Uganda
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3. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

I do agree with you too. thanks first post

Kampala, Uganda
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4. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

just like major towns around the world,there re places you can't be at certain hours past 7pm,so most of day time which will be her working times she will probably be with the organisation bases or field so it is an awesome place,people re friendly.

Fairbanks, Alaska
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5. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

I don't agree that nairobi is like any other city. Maybe it's like johanasburg but only in a bad way. But it sure isn't like Paris or London or hong kong or NYC.

Don't kid yourself, its a dangerous place. there's a reason that all the hotels tell you to only take a taxi to get somewhere.

I'd suggest not relying on one source. Google dangerous cities and read and read.

But please don't fall for the "it's like any city anywhere" line.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

I think that after time of living in Africa, people forget the culture shock. I certainly wouldn't put it as like any city either, perhaps "any developing country large city" might be better.

However, the points about the volunteer organization helping her out are valid. I would say, however, that yes, they have rules and guidelines that should be followed, but they are not babysitters. If she is an adult - she will be allowed to make her own decisions - good, bad or indifferent.

If she is just out of high school, there are many other places for volunteering that might be less challenging.

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7. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

SanFrancisco -

I remember the days when the Tenderloin in SFO wasn't a place for ordinary folks to just walk about, but understand these days the area has been gentrified. Like that area, so too are there similar in every major city around the world. Even in the safest cities, it's often highly recommended that people use taxis/car services in the evenings. Even in the safest areas some cities there's no guarantee some hooligan won't pop out of the bushes (so to speak) and be up to no good.

In the end, only you know your child. How old she is you don't mention or whether she's traveled anywhere on her own outside the USofA.

Over the past 4/years I know of two young women who have visited as volunteers two different African countries ... sorry I don't recall which, though my eyes raised when I heard which - 1) a 14/yr old* with her mom the first 2/weeks, then stayed the remainder of the time for 2/weeks on her own in some distant village; 1) the other was 16/yyrs to another country living with a local family. In both cases, without electricity or running water... certainly not like their priviledged lives at home. Both did just fine and hated the idea of having to leave, and have since returned again and again.

*this one was a hoot when reading her daily blog, and best of all on day of departure being late to the airport... gave the staff some 'New York lip' to the effect "if you had decent roads, I wouldn't have been delayed" (we do raise our kids to speak up) and got on that plane, if for no reason so she'd be out of the airport staff's hair... you go Maddy!

These days where contact is rather easy the 'kids' have to be provided their iPhone or whatever communications with sufficient funds so they are accessible 24/7... parents will sleep better.

Certainly these organizations can't afford things going wrong with their volunteers, so all are given rules/regs (much as us tourist safari goers are advised), where they can/can't go and what to be aware of, such as their surroundings, being out late at night and not doing anything stupid.

As RWA above, thousands of volunteers are in Kenya year-in/year-out, whether Nairobi or far-off distances and we don't hear of issues as regards their overall safety.

Your decision, I guess.

Edited: 2:09 pm, February 14, 2013
8. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

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Fairbanks, Alaska
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9. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

I think 4sandi is spot on with most of her(?) comments. But I do take issue with:

"and we don't hear of issues as regards their overall safety."

Be very careful about this sort of claim. As has recently been shown with the peace corps in Africa and SA these organizations do not publicize safety issues. It took a congressional investigation to find out that peace corps volunteers in Africa and SA were frequently targets of robbery, assualt and rape.

Nairobi, Kenya
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10. Re: Is Nairobi Dangerous?

Dear San FranciscoD,

I have now lived in Nairobi for over 11 months,and there is no doubt that it is far safer today than before. If your daughter follows the precautions which her volunteer agency tells her,she shouldn't experience any problems. I don't personally find Nairobi to be dangerous.