More than half a decade ago, my dream as a resident of the great county of Kisumu was to work hard and eventually settle in an apartment somewhere in Lolwe estate. The place was prime, with a potential of being the first gated estate in the outskirts of the Central Business District.
With at least three good performing private schools within the neighborhood as a parent you only had to put more effort in paying school with hopes that a nicely built tarmac road would easen transport within the estate. The gate (where there is a supermarket and shops currently) used to be guarded by maasais and turkanas, it acted as the main entrance. Long term goal was to have a well secured gated community with one entry point but this is far from becoming a reality.
The current status of the hood is as follows :
Due to constant movement of cars and motorbikes within the estate there has been so much erosion on the soil causing dust when it’s sunny and mud making the interior roads impassable during rainy seasons. The case is worse when you live far from the tarmac road or Lolwe gate, it means you have to endure 5 to 15 minutes walking in the dust or pay for kes 50 for a bodaboda to drop you at your gate.
Currently the estate has so many entry and exit points that has made it a challenge to control security in the area. With the congestion of the storey homesteads with, some with as close as 1metre distance between one compound and another, the rent has drastically dropped over the years locking out the clientele that was initially being target. Approximately 7 years ago, 1 bedroom house in Lolwe went for kes 15,000 per month, currently the same price can get you a 3 bedroom apartment. The apartments are so much congested that even getting a “house to let” with a parking space is news in the area, it’s like waiting for the removal of water hyacinth in Lake Victoria.
The big population is majorly made up of students and single ladies and gentlemen. The college going students either settle for bedsitters or take the two or three bedroom apartments and sublet each other. There is a big number of the single group that can hardly afford the rent of these apartments, they have instead resorted to doing high end prostitution. Instead of going to lodges and hotels to transact such business, the clients are invited to their houses and the money that would be used to cater for accommodation is given to the host. The target group are mostly family men from suburb Estates of Kisumu who drive four wheel and above. The prostitution business is booming, even as much as the hosts are giving hotels a run for their money.
With the congestion, shortage of water, and insecurity in Lolwe, one is better off living in Nyalenda slums that is currently undergoing an upgrade and uplift.
If the house agents, landlords and landladies of Lolwe get to have a sit down, the estate can still regain its status back especially with the structural developments that are being set up in its environs like the Lake Basin Mall.
A neighborhood with incredible houses in terms of design exterior and interior design , but access and support amenities are very poor. No play ground, muddy roads and no efficient waste disposal.