It’s the festive season, which means everyone is travelling upcountry; recreational spots and amusement parks are in full swing; face-painted children are milling around Uhuru Park in Nairobi, while the cool kids can be seen with selfie sticks and hover boards at movie theatres and shopping malls.
Meanwhile, the masses are converging on beaches at the coast, while others take selfies around the hugely popular elephant tusks by the popular “Wimpy” restaurant in Mombasa.
A hallmark of the festive season in Kenya is holiday parties. From family reunions, to Christmas parties, office end-of-year parties, and New Year’s parties, you can trust us to find a reason to throw a bash! We’re all for the turn-up as well, but before we delve into the delicacies of nyama choma and what not, let’s look at the best ways to stay safe when throwing a house party during the holidays.
Before the Party:
Depending on the number of guests and how “turnt up” you expect the crowd to be (which is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol served during the party), you might have a bit of legal red tape to go through first. Talk to your local county authorities and get the relevant noise permits if necessary. It would also be courteous to let your neighbours know about the party a few days before so they are prepared for any inconvenience caused. The last thing you’d want is an angry neighbour knocking at your door just as your favourite jam comes on or the next platter of nyama choma is leaving the grill!
To avoid gate-crashers, consider making the event invite-only and avoid sending out invites via social media or you’ll end up with thousands of unplanned guests at your party like this teenager whose invite to her 15th birthday party went viral.
You should also be sure to provide clear directions to your house for your guests to find and consider logistics like ample, secure parking space for your guests. If need be, hire temporary guards to secure your premises as well.
During the Party:
Safety on D-Day begins right from your doorstep. You should have one point of entry and exit so that you know who came in and at what time, and of course to ensure that it’s invite-only as intended. Direct your guests to the party area, whether it be the backyard, balcony, or living room. Also, ensure that they know which washrooms to use, then keep the doors to all other private areas of the house, such as your bedrooms, locked. Be sure to keep all your valuables out of sight, especially if it’s not an invite-only event. We’re not suggesting that you can’t trust your guests, but you can never be too sure either!
During parties, the most popular areas are the kitchen, the barbeque grill, and the dancefloor. The kitchen and grill are where a fire would most likely start. Access to these areas should be restricted to the chefs only. You should be careful to point all sufuria and pan handles away from walkways to avoid people toppling the contents over while cooking. It would also be imperative to ensure that any food being prepared isn’t left unattended until its ready. Beyond this, it would be prudent to have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket at the ready just in case, and also consider installing a fire alarm for prompt emergency response should things get “lit” (quite literally).
Lastly, special consideration has to be given to children as well. Consider having a play area for the little ones, where they will be kept occupied at all times rather than letting them run around the kitchen or spill juice on electrical equipment in the house. The children should also be under adult supervision at all times.
After the Party:
Some bashes are all-day affairs, while others might run on late into the night. If this is the case with yours, perhaps consider making arrangements to have your friends sleep over for the night and allow them to make their way home the following day. If this won’t be possible, arrange for your pals to carpool, or have a taxi service get them home safely. With a taxi service, be sure to note down the driver’s and vehicle particulars before your pals leave and follow up with them to be sure that they got home safe.