Throughout my flight from New York to Dubai, and as I waited for my connecting flight to Nairobi, the excitement and the expectations of the unknown rushed through my mind. I arrived in Nairobi at around 4:30pm the adventure quickly began. As I reached the visa section in the immigration hall, the lady at the counter looked at my face and my application and asked me to go to a separate office. Not knowing what the issue was, I was asked a few basic questions until the immigration officer began sharing his experiences, good and bad, while visiting the United States. A process that should have taken no more than 30 minutes quickly turned into 1 hour and a half.
I had no idea how bad the traffic from the airport would be but thanks to the instruction given to me by the program, I had a bottle of cold water with me. The drive from the airport to the apartment took about 1 hour 45 minutes; it was hot and long. I finally arrived at my apartment with the hope of continuing the sleep I had started in the car. Unfortunately, once I got settled in, sleep eluded me. After a few hours of tossing and turning, I decided to confirm the stories I had heard of Nairobi nightlife. I Googled a few hangout spots to visit on a Thursday, ordered an Uber and was off to explore the city. The Nairobi nightlife on a Thursday was quite impressive and I ended up staying out until around 2 am that Friday morning.
Getting to the office without any directions from my host company led to my first experience riding on a boda boda (motorcycle taxi). It is effectively the E-ZPass line that gets you to your destination when there is heavy traffic. I arrived in Nairobi with the expectation of a mini vacation in Kenya but the opposite turned out to be the case. The professional work level in Nairobi exceeded my expectations. Work has been quite busy, consisting of many late nights working in the office, leaving me little or no time to explore the rest of the country.
Thinking back on my first day at the New York office of Kuramo Capital, I did not know what to expect. However, the warm reception I got from the entire team was amazing. Working on my first deal, reviewing my model assumptions with one of the partners, putting together a budget proposal for Kuramo Capital’s educational nonprofit and doing a late night with the fund controller before heading to Nairobi were all good experiences and gave me a level of expectation as to what I should expect from the team in Nairobi.
There is no better word to use to describe my experience at the Kuramo Nairobi office other than “fantastic.” The early mornings, Capital Club lunches almost every week, networking events around the city, all of this combined with an amazing team made my placement a great experience. I particularly enjoyed working in a small team with an open-minded attitude, sharing ideas and learning together compared to a large cooperation with different structural layouts.
I am totally satisfied with my Africa Business Fellowship experience.