In the heart of downtown Nairobi, you’ll find a quiet, green oasis in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. It’s not free, but for 20 Ksh (about 25 cents US) you can push through a turnstile and enter the park. People lounge on the grass, sip coffee at the cafe tables, and read the names engraved on the memorial wall.
The park and its accompanying exhibit are a memorial of a terrorist bombing that took place here on August 7, 1998.
Unsurprisingly, the August 7, 1998 and September 11, 2001 attacks had much in common. Both attacks were organized by al-Qaeda and linked to Osama bin Laden. Both targeted Americans. Both involved simultaneous attacks on major outposts (the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania was also bombed on August 7, 1998, just as the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and the Capitol Building were targets on September 11, 2001).
While the August 7th Embassy bombing was directed at Americans, Kenyans suffered the brunt of the pain. Unlike the U.S. Embassy, the Ufundi office building next door was unfortified. Many Kenyans working inside were killed by the blast or crushed under crumbling rubble. Twelve Americans and more than 200 Kenyans died. More than 4,000 people were injured.
The park offers a tribute to their lives, a quiet place to reflect in the chaos of Nairobi, and a small museum to retell the story of that day.