The Entrepreneurial (and Fun!) Ushaverse Family

“How’s your summer going?” I have been asked this question countless times from friends, family, and former colleagues since landing in Nairobi four weeks ago. This open-ended inquiry is usually followed up with, “What’s Ushahidi like and how are the people?” While I cannot claim to be an expert, the last month working in the Ushaverse (the collection of enterprises and initiatives launched by Erik Hersman, Juliana Rotich, David Kobia, and others) has provided me with a healthy taste of life in Kenya’s magnetic entrepreneurial tech scene. And I am happy to report the experience has been incredibly positive.

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¡Hola de Kilimani!

It is hard to imagine that here, in the heart of Kilimani, Señor Pete is pumping out California-quality burritos. But it’s true. The small Mexican café gets started early. As customers line up for their morning chai ya maziwa (the local milk tea), Pete’s staff is busy making tortilla dough and smashing farm fresh avocados into a tangy guacamole. Located on the ground floor of the iHub, Pete’s is just one of many strange juxtapositions I have come to know during my first few days in Kenya. While an authentic Mexican restaurant in Nairobi indeed seems odd, at further examination Pete’s success actually makes sense. The café is truly representative of Kenya’s unique blend of east and west—and underscores the country’s multicultural vibe and grand global ambitions.

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