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Kenya

Embu Shops

There is a wide variety of shops in Embu. Some are small supermarkets, others are shacks made out of discarded lino, tin sheeting and wood, but they all have character.

People enjoy their meat in Embu and there are lots of butcher’s shops. The supermarket tries to butcher the carcass into recognisable cuts, but elsewhere you just buy a hank of meat hacked away by a man with a cutlass. There is a tradition of pairing hotels with butcher’s shops. I’ve no idea why. Better than pairing with a barbershop…

Hair salons can be quite smart, or just tin shacks. I was invited into one of the latter last night by Maggie. The walls were lined with lino and there was a standalone sink in the corner – the “shampooing area”, with an Afro comb with matted hair left over the plug hole. A shelving unit had a few bottles of “hair products” and there was a hairdryer “for special blow-dry”. I resisted the temptation.

There are some small department stores, such as Supa Shop and Miracle Shop, which sell just about anything, most of which is cheap “Made in China” rubbish. Ladies Outfitters and electronic shops are common, too. The mannequins are designed for the fuller figure.

Some shops are basic. Coca-Cola is extremely popular here. Other small shops are rather ambitious, offering outside catering for birthdays, weddings, burials and baby showers. You can get chips, samosas, tea, chapati, chicken, pilau and Kenyan dishes. I like the steel chimney coming through the roof.

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I like this family shop, Mumus, selling scratch cards at wholesale. Dad, daughter and mum with a cup of tea wanted me to take their picture. The sales assistants had Wrigley’s Doublemint gum overalls.

Dubai hires out materials for events, marquees and sound systems. As well as curtains, projectors and generators.

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An interesting choice of items on sale – shoes and cakes – in this pink shop, with the Royal Households just along the street. Certainly not “By Appointment”.

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By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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