Many people say that Nairobians are stingy, selfish or unwelcoming. You probably have a friend who told you: “Mke wangu hapendi wageni.” There are many practical reasons why Nairobi city dwellers may not entertain guests, including lack of enough money to take care of an extra person, fear that guests will carry their stuff, exposure among others. It is also possible that your predecessors set a negative precedence, making your host shy away from hosting people in the future. These tips below will help you secure a spot in a Nairobian’s heart especially if you are looking for somewhere to spend the weekend or holiday:
- Remove shoes when entering their house. People care about basic hygiene. Keeping the house clean minimises the risk of contracting a disease. You realise that your shoes walk over a lot of stuff out there, and thus walking in the house in your shoes only contaminates it. Whether they have a carpet or not, leave your shoes at the door to keep the house germ-free.
- Live by their rules. Every house has its own rules, and whether it is your friend or youngest sibling, you must abide by their rules if you want to stay. There are rules on how to use the TV, fridge, loo, microwave, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom etc. Most of your guests have children and therefore filter whatever programmes run on their TV. Watching PG movies and programmes is a faster way to get kicked out. Many estates prefer to keep the volume of the stereo low so as not to disturb their neighbours. If you go contrary, you may put them at risk and also risk getting kicked out. Do not brush your teeth in the kitchen sink, and observe their sleeping time – unless you are studying quietly after everyone has gone to sleep.
- Maintain hygiene. Basic hygiene is important in winning an invite into someone’s home. There are friends who visit you, take tea and then go home, leaving you to clean the utensils alone. Then there are others who visit, come straight to the kitchen to help prepare the tea or meal, clear the table and help you clean the utensils thereafter. Life is extremely hectic in the city and people have no time to clean up after you. If you cannot clean utensils, come with packed food and disposable plates. If you use the toilet, flash it. Clean the bathroom after use. Again, don’t spit on the sink and be careful to wash your hands while handling food.
- Help with house chores. If you are staying for some time, consider helping with everyday chores such as cooking, arranging the house and cleaning utensils. If you have your own guest room, keep it in good order. Clear the table after meals and keep the toilet clean. If they are the ones buying food, you do not expect them to come home in the evening tired, cook for you and clean utensils while you spend your time watching their TV or movies on your computer.
- Chip in financially. If you are earning, do some shopping. Don’t spend all your money entertaining yourself while they are struggling to put food on the table. Every once in a while, buy breakfast, unga, rice, beef and simple gifts for their children if they have any.
- Don’t bring guests. It is very ungrateful for you to start bringing guests to another person’s house without their permission. When they welcomed you, they did not give you the right to use their house as if it was your own. Respect their privacy and meet your guests away – unless they grant you permission to bring them home.