Life in the Capitol : DC

DC is the state and city of Washington DC, the only place in the country where there are more lawmakers, yet the people who live in the city themselves are not represented, hence the slogan “Taxation Without Representation”. I have seen the ugly side and the beautiful …so let me speak to the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good:

My first ever baseball game. Thanks to DC, I finally, after not just a couple of years, attended a baseball game, complete with overpriced concessions and everything. Well, there I am floored, it is in a very new stadium where I saw a not-so-new Nationals team played the Anaheim Angels. My thanks to the people who invented ticket giveaways, I thank C.C. for the connection to very nice tickets.

Sightseeing. I have seen the Capitol, the White House, and other sites. Also, I have experienced the best of the Festivals, including the Caribbean Fest, which draws many from the area, and environs to celebrate Caribbean culture. Also, the 4th of July was spectacular. (I know, I know, almost a month later) DC also has a vast collection of national galleries and museums. I think the rest of the world can find a piece of themselves in these displays.

DC is undoubtedly a food mecca for me. As the nation’s capital for Ethiopian food, complete with honey wine, always I and my tummy are in heaven. I have never in my young life had such a spread of doro wot, tibs fitfit, and injeera in such close proximity. I love Ethiopian food. Not to mention the food, as well as that of South America, Salvadorean, Peruvian, Brazilian and so many others. Also, the city is superb for the international crowd that you meet. For those who are part of the diaspora in the United States, you may be familiar with cities where people of color are a tiny percentage. I kid you not, there are more people of all colors, African American and African people than I am used to further north of this land.

I started this summer by moving to this area in search of opportunities, and found lots by way of learning opportunities. I did not know, for instance, that the District of Columbia leads the nation in HIV/AIDS transmission, nor that the hardest hit were African Americans, hereafter referred to as black folks (This country needs to lose the hyphen, and get united). Among that group, the most adversely affected are black women 25-44 years old. People in the developing world, does this ring a bell? It did for me. I was floored. And why, in this country, are there children being born testing HIV positive, when the drugs are available for prevention of transmission and the medical vigilance is present. But, hey, even the best trauma surgeons sometimes miss a broken arm. Good, in this case is the amazing learning opportunities, through living and working this season.

The Bad:

Reviews about the only Kenyan restaurant in DC. I was set to promote Kenyan cuisine in DC, by taking some pals there for some Nyama Choma (roast goat) then my companions went to look for some reviews and read comments ranging from “This place sucks” to “Call the Health Department” and they do not have a website so my pan-African dining companions were not going to risk our expectations and gas on going somewhere where the dining reviews said “KEEP AWAY” This is prime example of why we have a poor CV as Kenyans…unless I am to be proven wrong, Safari is losing big business this way. I am still urging my other African friends to try it, and the clock is running, so do not know whether this will happen before the end of summer. The management needs to step up their publicity, and reputation, it is still the only Kenyan restaurant in DC.

The Ugly:

Crime in DC. Why one needs as much burglar proofing as we have in DC is not the stuff of urban legend? I really feel like I am back home, what with the kind of insecurity there is in Nairobi, Kenya that calls for glass on walls, reinforced concrete doorways and so on. We have locks, lights, call back and forth to maintain security and the daily fare of shootings in the city.

What with the security systems, grilles on the windows, and the ubiquitous presence of police patrol cars every day on my street…where am I, the nation’s capital? I could also have picked the wrong neighborhood, but I also live very close to newest shopping area boasting a Target, BestBuy, Marshall’s and other big stores, so maybe the crime has not subsided yet? The irony for me is how some of the the West(development and political experts on Africa, I mean) is always trumpeting about how security is a concern in the developing world, and meanwhile, our diplomats could say the same about parts of the cities here. Not to mention that poverty and crime hold hands and walk into the sunset among the minority black, Hispanic and some immigrant communities.

I shall be sad to leave this city. I shall.

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2 thoughts on “Life in the Capitol : DC

  1. Baseball does jack for me but I would go for the cultural experience. I too need to sample the many restaurants that are out here.
    As for the security and crime, put lots of minorities together and throw in poverty and that is bound to happen. As for the AIDS thing I do feel the gvt can do more but I also wish that black community and church leaders too would do more to shed light on the issue.
    Nice post

  2. Baseball game is a culture.I know a lot of folks who are foreigners who rarely get to see what sports Americans enjoy. Baseball, especially when one gets to see a huge team play, can be so thrilling!
    AIDS in the black community, truly churches have to step in!
    Tnx for visiting.

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