Malindi: Meet the locals

Read about how the financial crisis has affected residents of Kenya's little Italy.

    Competition for clients among Malindi's tourist guides or 'beach boys' is fierce [Mohammed Adow]

    Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on five towns across the globe - find out more about how residents are coping.

    Mapenzi Kayi, 20-year-old beach trader

    Mapenzi has to provide for her mother and two younger brothers [Mohammed Adow]
    Mapenzi sells clothes to tourists on the beach. Every morning she goes to the market, which also stocks curios, and tries to sell her garments to tourists.

    She says business has not been good of late. A sharp decrease in the number of tourists coming to Malindi has created a decline in business for most people in Malindi.

    Mapenzi, whose name means love in Kiswahili, begun working at the age of 16 after her father died and her mother developed a mental illness.

    Besides her ailing mother, Mapenzi also fends for her two younger brothers who are in school.

    Mapenzi is worried for her future and that of her family if the slump in tourism in Malindi continues.

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    "I haven't sold anything for a week now. We open every morning and leave with nothing... we don't even have lunch. In the evening, when I reach home, my brothers want me to bring food but I can't.

    "I would have looked for another job but I am not educated," she says.

    Mapenzi however feels is however hopeful that things will get better for the people of Malindi.

    Gianfranco Freguscia, 48-year-old estate agent

    Gianfranco (right) says Europeans are snapping up bargain price properties [Mohammed Adow]

    Gianfranco has lived in Malindi for more than a decade.

    He specialises in selling holiday villas and apartments in Malindi to European investors.

    Of late, business has been brisk for him as hundreds of investors rush to buy property at low but stable prices in this coastal resort.

    His customers are mostly people running away from the poor investment climate in Europe, and those who withdrew their money from stock markets in Europe.

    When we visited his Karibu Holiday Resort he was showing one of his villas to a group of investors from Italy.

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    "Europe's markets are not any good at the moment. My clients are looking for stability and viable business for their money," he says.

    Gianfranco believes that with Malindi investors can never go wrong as the property market is stable.

    He also rents the properties on behalf of investors. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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