Furniture in shops here is crazily expensive so unless you want a side of the road, wooden crate sofa which is good for stacking, you need to look elsewhere. A good option is to get one in an expat sale who have European imported furniture. You have to be quick and you have to be open minded as you need to commit to the sale from a small grainy photo.
Today I bought a sofa. Not only did I buy it, I went to collect, carry, transport and deliver. It turned into quite a mission.
I borrowed the huge Toyota pick up from work and after a day of full-on meetings headed out to the vague address I had been given. There is no GPS here, no post codes and limited road signs, so navigating is hit and miss. I had directions but missed the police station, didn’t see the sharp bend in the road and couldn’t make out the yellow brick weave road in the dark. The road got narrower and fewer and fewer cars. I was down to a crawl trying to avoid pedestrians strolling along the road. I’d come from a smart embassy lined boulevard but now I was down to a shanty town with roadside shacks, tin roofs and stray dogs. I’d obviously missed the turning.
It was less than ideal to park up the beast I was driving, get out my mobile and call for help but I had no option. After a quick call I was back on track and made it to the exclusive gated compound, guards, manicured hedges and a private drive for every house. I was met by the au pair who didn’t know about me picking up the couch. The item for collection was in the basement complete with two young lads watching movies!! The only way out was through the back garden, up a large slope, over a drainage ditch and up some wobbly steps – all in the dark and me and the au pair the only manpower!
Got the 2-seater and the 3-seater loaded up in the back and the lads did a good job of cramming all the sofa cushions into the passenger seat. Then a dog fight broke out. I’d left the entrance gate open and some dogs had got into the compound and started territorial warfare. Ooops. Tried to reverse out but had absolutely no visibility with all the furnishings around me. Mangaged to wedge 5m of vehichle between two ornamental hedges and a large flower pot. Hope fully the owner didn’t notice the damage as I unstuck myself by executing a 23 point turn and made a swift exit.
At this point I lost my nerve to drive back in my heavily loaded, visibility constrained tank in the dark. I wondered if Chris would meet me at the next shopping mall and take over?
IKEA – there is definitely a gap in the market in Nairobi. And next time I will be hiring a professional to move my furniture!