Monday the 21st of May. It is a chilly morning in Nairobi. The streets are already bursting with traffic as early as 7.00 a.m. I had been told that Nairobi is a city that’s always on the move. A city of the hustle and the bustle, where every person seems in a hurry to get to someplace. And this morning, I am also in a hurry to get to the place I have been dreaming about all Week-Digital Vision EA offices in Upper hill.
Nairobi is one amazing oxymoron. It’s a city that hosts the affluent citizen and the pauper alike. From the lush estates in Westlands and Runda, boasting of their lucrative bungalows with well-manicured garden patches and electric fences to the lower-end residentials of Eastlands and Mathare where the “have-nots” huddle together and commune in the comfort of common poverty. It is a place where destinies are built and I am here to see what becomes of mine.
I did not lose my way to Elgon Court on this first day, thanks to Google Maps. A uniformed guard mans the large entrance with a large, double gate. After exchanging greetings with him in Swahili I head inside.
The moment I get to the compound I am met by an inviting patch of green grass through which slithers a neatly kept stone-paved path that leads to the main building. It is a classic 1980s double-story with yellow painted stucco walls that stands stoutly as if defying nature itself. The sight of it is humbling as it is mesmerizing. It is amazing to know that it has been domineering over this Upperhill landscape for at least the last two decades.
At the entrance hangs a placard that tells me that I have arrived. I stand frozen for a moment. My eyes transfixed on the writing as the reality hits me properly: I am just about to begin my internship at one of the most formidable tech giants in East Africa! Meghan Merkle was not more glad when Prince Harry proposed to her than I am at this moment.
I am startled from my excitement by the welcome offered to me by the receptionist who I will come to know as Janice. I do not need to introduce myself for we had met earlier in the week at my interview. She offers me a seat with a broad smile and as I sit down, I throw a glance at the software developers seated at the mahogany desks passionately punching the keys and building the next big idea, and I cannot help but swell with admiration. I very eager to join them and learn from them.
One thing that strikes you when you get to Digital Vision is the warmth that exists here. I presume that it is more of a family than a business. The smiles and happy faces all tell you one message-that these are people who are passionate about what they do and they believe in the ideas they are building.
As I sip a cup of sweet coffee, I let my eyes feast on the beautiful office interior. From an Italian-inspired stone wall carving at the front to the bright-red wall on the farthest side, blue silk curtains that hung on the wall on my left, slightly parted so that warm sun rays flood in through the clean glass windows making the atmosphere inside look golden, to the expensive looking furniture and large swivel chairs, the office is the true definition of class and peaceful ambience.
A staff meeting has been scheduled for 9.00 a.m. this Monday morning, and it will be my first major activity here. Inside the company conference room, the staff members sit around a large table each with a laptop and pen and a notebook. I take the first seat that I find nearest to the door, next to Geoffrey. Little do I know that the Director Mr. Martin Njuguna will come and sit right next to me. A slight rush of adrenaline surges in me, but the “hi, Makau” that he says with a broad, genuine smile helps me to relax. “Hi, Martin” I reply. Madam Loise convenes the meeting.
The next 45 minutes are packed with intense discussions. From our in-house chamasoft, to Bitrix and our partnerships with Safaricom, Equity and other large organisations, each project is analyzed and progress is determined. Sam, Geoffrey and Edwin update the rest of the team on specific software challenges experienced so far and the achievements realized. Ideas fly back and forth around the table, leaving me as inspired as I am astounded.
Listening keenly to the discussions, I can only fall more in love with technology and the company. I am convinced that this is the place I always wanted to be, the place anyone would want to be. It is a place where intelligence meets skill, passion and enthusiasm, to produce ideas that are bound to change this country, and Africa at large. That place is Digital Vision EA.