Nairobi, Kenya — Kenya’s Tajika tourist guide is a breath of fresh air.
But it is a bit outdated.
As a result, the guidebook has to be updated for a new generation of Tajikans.
The guidebook, produced by Tajik tourism company Umoja Tours, is aimed at Tajik travelers, but it also has a strong presence for visitors to the country’s other three countries — Afghanistan, Tajik-held Central Asia and Tajikstan.
Nairobi’s Tajikan guide has to compete against Tajik travel guides from both Tajik and Tajika-held countries.
There are only three Tajik guides in the book: a native Tajik, a Tajik man who grew up in the region, and a Tajika woman who has lived in Tajik territory for 20 years.
One Tajik in the guide has a special interest in the Tajik culture, so he has to keep his eyes peeled for any Tajik locals.
And the Tajika guide has been in the business of helping travelers find local Tajik restaurants for many years.
“We know a lot of Tajikan people, but we have not had time to talk to them, so we need to ask them,” says the guide, who asked not to be identified.
For the guide to succeed, he needs to be a little more knowledgeable than the locals.
But he is a good listener.
“We should talk about the culture, the history of Tajika,” he says.
“They need to know about Tajik history.
We should also talk about Tajika cuisine.”
Tajik tourists come to Kenya mainly for shopping and sightseeing.
But they also spend a lot on hotels and accommodation.
They spend a bit more than in the United States and France.
Tajikis earn about $8 per day, and the guides earn a bit less.
Some Tajik travellers say the guides’ advice is too old-fashioned.
They believe the guide is too focused on shopping and not enough on the cultural aspects of the country.
It’s a challenge, because the guides have to be very knowledgeable about Tajikan cuisine and history, but they need to be able to communicate with Tajiktourists, too.
“The guide has more knowledge than the people he’s speaking to,” says a woman who goes by the name of Fazul.
“I’m a native of Tajiko, so I understand Tajik cuisine.
But I have no idea about Tajkistan history.”
The guides are also not always able to translate the Tajikan language.
The guide’s English is not perfect, and sometimes he is not able to understand what the Tajinese are saying.
The Tajik language is spoken in a dialect called Turkic.
Another Tajik who went by the title “Rashid” says the guides are not qualified to speak Tajik.
“If I want to go to Tajik to see my grandfather, I need to talk with my uncle, who is also Tajik,” he told CNN.
“We don’t have a common language.”
Tajik guide also says he does not understand Taji-speaking foreigners who come to the Tajas to see his family.
While some Tajik tour operators have recently taken the guide out to the countryside to promote tourism, others are struggling.
Tajika tourism company Tajik Tourism Tours said in a statement that it was reviewing its guidebook and that it would be reviewing other products and services.
It has not responded to questions from CNN about the guide’s credibility.