The restoration of Toi Market, cat suits, crabs and midnight prayers

toimarket-burned.jpgOne of Christi’s favorite places to shop has always been Toi Market at the edge of Kibera. Bales and bales of used (donated?) clothes and toys from the US and Europe are sold for nominal prices. During the post election violence, Toi Market was flattened and burned to the ground by people like my sister’s former security guard. (He bragged a little too much about this exploit and got “transferred.”)

Christi writes: Yesterday, I went downtown to pick up a prescription and decided to stop at Toi Market on the way home, just out of curiosity to see if any of the businesses were back up and running. The place has been almost completely rebuilt, but way nicer than before. Instead of crowded, rickety stalls with rice sacks strung up over some of them, there are planned-out walkways, solid wood tables for the merchandise and corrugated tin sheets overhead. I saw two of the sales ladies I used to see before the place was burned down. They were very happy.

I think this is a great image of restoration. Something is totally devastated, but is resurrected better than it was in the past. [Where are the hordes of journalists when I need a picture of a newly rebuilt Toi Market?]

[Most of you can stop here: The rest of this post is related family junk ;-)]

akual-the-cat.jpgChristi continues: I got some baby clothes for the guy who herds the cows on campus (Liam likes to sit with him under the tree and watch the cows together). Spent about $10 for a big basketful of clothes from Baby Gap, Monsoon, Marks and Spenser, Du Pareil au Meme—and didn’t even have to travel to Europe or America. Then I saw a very cute American Girl dress in just Kiara’s size for 50 cents, so I sprung for it. And an enormous cat costume for 10 cents—just the right size for Kiara’s friend Akual. And some cool blocks for Liam’s class at school.

– – –

PS – Last night Leila wore the cat costume (with the legs rolled so it would fit) to show it off to our next-door neighbors and decided to wear it to bed. In all the excitement, she forgot to pee before bed. So at 2:30 am, she wakes up crying because a big crab is pinching her. As I lay next to her in bed to calm her down, she made me repeat after her word-for-word: “God. I wish for nothing bad to happen here. And for no bad dreams. Amen.” (Just to be sure, she made me repeat it 2x)

3 thoughts on “The restoration of Toi Market, cat suits, crabs and midnight prayers

  1. Mary Kay says:

    My daughter is on study abroad in Nairobi, near Toi Market….interested in safety issues. I try not to worry, as she is having the experience of a lifetime!

    • Ben says:

      That area around Adams Arcade is a pretty nice area; my sister has lived there for over a year. Even through the worst of Kenya’s post-election violence, she was quite safe, and that was a rare time of upheaval for all of us. The main problem in the middle of Toi is petty crime – pick pockets (kind of like the Paris metro). My wife is has been there probably over a hundred times by now, and got her phone stolen once. Needless to say, she doesn’t carry her phone in there any more, but she feels pretty comfortable otherwise.

  2. […] of Toi market., which happens to be where we buy many of our clothes. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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