Wisdom from the streets of Nairobi

By antonia kihara

Street Wisdom – Antonia and Ruby in the streets of Nairobi Friday 26th September 2020 11am

OUR QUESTION: How do we “manage” “REBIRTH?”

Both of us are experiencing massive changes in our lives, changes in relationships, status, desires, expression. We both feel we are outgrowing the status quo of our lives and moving into a whole new dimension ready or not. It’s uncomfortable. So we both needed some guidance on how to navigate these changes.



We kept seeing lottery booths and adverts for winning. At some point there was so much we felt like we were in a casino. The wisdom here is, that life is a gamble. We have been traumatized by our failures and learning to trust again feels like a gamble. There are no guarantees and at the end of the day, every choice we make will still be a gamble. It could go right, it could go wrong. We still need to take the risk. And be prepared that it could go wrong, but it could go right, and that’s part of the adventure of life.


We kept noticing messy parts of the town. Debris and general mess. There was one big pipe that looked like a snake, it freaked us out. We were quite disturbed by the mess, like somebody please clean it up. The wisdom here is, rebirthing is messy. We have been hoping to transition smoothly but it’s such big changes there is no such thing. There are fallouts with friends to clear out space for new ones, there is starting up new projects without all the tools so it looks messy. There is trying out new things that don’t quite fit that make us feel like we are all over the place. It’s all messy. It’s new, new ways of being and doing, and it’s ok for the process not to be perfect. We think messy is part of the process.


We saw many government buildings, parliament, the courts, city council, and street names named after questionable politicians. We realised that everything is political. The way people react and respond, the things that people desire and say they desire, the reasons behind people’s thoughts and actions, are all driven by an agenda, conscious or unconscious. So everybody is in their own game, managing their own game, maintaining their agenda, and we shouldn’t take it personally. When we ask for advice or as we manoeuvre through life, the wisdom is to understand (not judge) that everything is political and what matters is the game we want to play.


We were overwhelmed with how many phone shops there were and phone adverts or telco company adverts, it was communication communication communication. Real oppressive overload of advertising. We have experienced recently many opinions from many people about many things and it has been overwhelming. We have found ourselves defending our point of view and getting confused by all the opinions. The wisdom here is that there are so many opinions, from people we know, from the internet, from guru’s, and old uncles, we can’t possibly take it all in. In fact, listening to all the opinions can be overwhelming. While rebirthing the most important voice is the one inside of ourselves. The wisdom here is to block out all voices so you can hear your own. We need to free ourselves from the impact of other opinions to really come out as we should in the rebirth.


This was a sign to wear a mask but it literally looked like it was saying “shut your mouth”. This follows from the last piece of wisdom, the reason sometimes we have too many opinions is because we have said too much. The wisdom here is the less we say, the less opinions we will have, which will be better for our health. It’s a bit obvious but in rebirth sometimes all you want to do is talk and talk about this awkwardness that is going on but sometimes silence is best.


We saw this club that was famous in the 70’s. It really stood out to us. It is made of a very exclusive clique of people who actually had lots of fun. The wisdom here was that yes there are cliques in life, and we should create our own cliques, especially in rebirth. Part of rebirthing is finding new spaces to belong. Leaving one clique doesn’t mean we won’t find another. It is the cycle of life and life is always better when you are surrounded by your tribe. Wisdom here is, find you tribe, tribes are normal, and the need to belong is healthy. In rebirthing, we are in between but I think we are only getting closer to finding our authentic tribe as we become more authentic ourselves.


We sat and watched a pastor in a black suit and red shining shoes preaching with fervour, and were amazed. We saw 2 women who looked like proper criminals planning city-wide robberies. We saw an old man looking completely lost and hopeless just watching the world go by. We have experienced crazy individuals in our own lives that have left us shocked and bewildered. And sitting there we realized, crazy people, are part of the drama. They are part of the play, the script and they are everywhere, we can’t avoid them. The wisdom is, once you accept that, kind of like everything is political, everything is easier to swallow. We can recognize them and let them go (not be shocked and dismayed).


As we are trying to balance life, trying to manage risk, we will meet those people that we just connect with, and it’s fast and right. The wisdom here is we should still trust in divine connections, and connections don’t have to be slow and be built over decades; they can also be fast and still be as strong.


We noticed a completely new modern building next to one of Nairobi’s iconic signatures, KICC. We also saw many old buildings between modern ones, and we also saw one very old building that was Victorian at the bottom and Islamic at the top. What a combination, were the English and Muslims such close friends they built a building together? Just as the city evolves. so do we. The wisdom here is accepting the big changes, the different landscapes of the story of lives and look at it as part of the great adventure of life, that things do change and sometimes dramatically and that is ok. It’s natural, so we shouldn’t freak out when the next chapter starts to look and feel completely different. 


We started off with seeing the mess and then we were drawn to the order. The rows in the windows of buildings and street posts, the sequencing of things one after another. The squares and blocks that felt reminded us that life is a series of building blocks. Rebirthing is already messy so one way to manage it is to do one thing at a time, have a road map, sequence, and let the structure hold things together even when the soul is feeling overwhelmed. The wisdom here is, get organized, take baby steps.

by Antonia Kihara, founder of Soulfood Cafe