terrorism
Silhouette of soldier with rifle

Resilience, resilience and resilience. That is all one sees from small business people as they walk in downtown and the backstreets of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

The streets that are one of the busiest parts of the city have been the latest target of terrorists, where two incidents have been reported in the last few days.

In the first incident on Saturday night, a suspected terrorist detonated an improvised explosive device concealed in a luggage injuring two people, including a trolley pusher.

The incident came nearly two weeks after al-Shabab terrorists attacked an upmarket hotel in Nairobi, killing 21 people and injuring others.

However, despite the terror-related incidents, which have resurfaced after about four years of tranquility, traders running businesses in downtown Nairobi remain unbowed.

On Latema Road, where the minor attack happened on Saturday, dozens of people went on with their businesses unperturbed on Thursday.

Hawkers selling clothes, shoes and other items shouted prices of their wares on one part of the street, with the undying spirit of the traders informing Kenya government’s decision to work on plan to have car-free days in the city so that the businesspeople can sell their merchandise on selected roads.

On another part, touts called out at the top of their voices to various routes in a bid to attract passengers.

The street, as the adjacent one named River Road and Tom Mboya, was crammed with humanity as usual, making the area one of the heartbeats of the city.

It was evident on Wednesday that business once again is thriving despite the terror threats, with both consumers and traders remaining resilient.

“We cannot close our shops and stay at home because terrorists may attack us. That is what they want but we will remain here and earn a living. We don’t owe our lives to them,” James Mumia, a waiter at an eatery on Latema Road, said on Wednesday.

Nairobi downtown and its backstreets are popular with city residents because of fair prices of various items.

From mobile phones to food, books, clothes and shoes, one is assured of getting any product or service affordably.

For instance, while a packet of French fries would go for 200 Kenyan shillings (about 2 U.S. dollars) in other parts of the central business district, in downtown Nairobi, the same pack goes for 1.2 dollars.

Office workers flock the streets every lunch hour in search of good bargains on meals, fruits and drinks.

And so are buyers of electronic items, materials and clothes who visit the streets in droves in search of imported items, a majority of which were shipped in from China.

On River Road, one gets quality clothes and materials that are made in China. One can also get music systems, TV sets and mobile phones imported from China and Japan and other parts of Asia at a good price.

“Despite the threats, I will not stop coming to have my lunch on Latema. This is where I find pocket-friendly food,” said journalist Nahashon Mutua. Enditem

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