You Don't Have to Lie or Break a Bank
In Nairobi, the battle for first impressions is real.
Sometimes, being real or natural does not get you what you want. It can prevent you from penetrating some social circles, cost you "likes" on Facebook and Instagram, or make others think you are not cool.
However, you don't have to lie or break a bank to make people think of you in this or the other way. If you played around with words, you can create fake impressions but remain real.
- Use fancy names for your estate. Don't tell people you live in Kawangware. Instead, tell them you reside in "Lavington West". (You may also use "Behind TRM" instead of Roysambu; "Near Two Rivers" instead of Rwaka; "Along Waiyaki Way" for 87, Kinoo, Regen; or "New Kitsuru" for Mwimuto ).
- If people ask you to describe your estate, don't tell them it's a slum. Say it is a high-density area.
- Don't tell people you walk to work because you want to save on bus fare. Say you hate being stuck in traffic.
- If you are going for a date or a meeting, take a matatu to the nearest bus stop and then take Uber to the venue.
- Carry around a Java coffee mug as you are walking around town, but the coffee inside should be from home or office.
- Buy a fancy iPhone cover for your counterfeit phone, and always carry it with the iPhone logo facing up or outward.
- If people ask you where you bought your suit or shoes, don't say you picked them from Garissa Lodge. Tell them your supplier, Hassan, imported them from Dubai.
- If people ask you questions about things you are not familiar with, don't say you don't know the answer. Tell them that you'll find out the answer and get back to them."
- If people ask you to help them find jobs, don't tell them you don't have big connections. Give them your email address, and ask them to you send their CV.
- If people ask you why you are taking lunch in a kibanda, don't say it's because you are broke. Tell them kibanda food is fresh and tasty.
- If they ask you if you are faking it, tell them you told them what they wanted to hear.