1. It’s Hot
Sure, there are some places that are pretty warm, but overall, Australia is hotter. For the 6 months we’ve been living here there was probably only one week of really hot. Today I am wearing jeans, jumper and ugg boots. Why the boots I hear you ask – floors are tiled here and they get pretty cold on an overcast day.
Living on the Equator is handy, the length of days doesn’t change. You know it will be light by about 6.30am and dark by 7pm. While my arms are tanned, the legs have a lot to be desired.
2. It’s Cheap
You must be kidding me. Sure, fruit is cheaper than in the West but everything else is equal to or more expensive than back home. I think it makes a difference for us because we aren’t allowed to earn money so we’re super careful with what we get in. Import tax is anywhere in between 75% and 110%. A couple of weeks ago we were in Uganda and things were half the price of here, to the point that I bought an iron.
3. We Live In A Mud Hut
While we work with the poor, we don’t have to live like that. Sure there are hundreds of thousands of people who do live in mud huts but not us. Right now we’re on the search for a 3 bedroom apartment, which we can get for 90,000Kshs (about $1,050 dollars). That’s great compared to what were paying in Australia but it’s a challenge for us. At least when we have friends and family come to stay there’s somewhere nice. We also plan to get some leadership training sessions going with the young people and hiring buildings is pretty expensive so we can host them at our place.
4. There Are Only Black People Here
You’re either a Kenyan or Mzungu. Anyone white is a Mzungu, it doesn’t matter if you’re from New Zealand, the US, Europe or Australia. Sure, the whites are in a minority but you’re never sure where they are from and why they are hear. There are even white Kenyans, these are children of people who came in the colonial days. They don’t belong here but England is not their home either. They’re in between 2 worlds. I’ve bumped into so many Dutch people I never need to go to Holland. You can pick out the Aussie and Kiwi accents from a long distance. Last month we went to the ANZAC dawn service and there would’ve been around 200 people there. So, there’s a few from the Pacific over this way.
5. It’s All About War, Poverty & Famine
Yep, there’s lots of poverty around here, but there’s also some serious money to be made. If you can go through all the legal loops and corruption, Kenya is a good place for investing in. Especially so if it’s roads, IT or building.
There’s also lots of money to be made in war and famine. While people in the West get shocked about the crisis up north, they don’t realise that the refugee camps have been there for 20 years. In our travels around East Africa, there are some very nice vehicles, and hotels kept busy because of civil unrest and disasters. Unfortunately, as soon as it’s all peaceful these NGO’s pull out and the businesses close up because of a lack of customers.
You only have to spend 10 minutes at one of the local malls to see that the middle class here is getting bigger.
6. It’s A Really Hard Place To Live In
Depends what you mean by hard. Sure, only knowing a small amount of Swahili is a pain, so you’ll get charged more outside of the malls, but it’s not tragic here. You have to be willing to adapt. You make sure you lock your care, when you’re in it. You put your mobile phone in your front pocket. The food isn’t great but you won’t starve. The traffic sucks and you get over paying bribes to the police every time you get pulled up – otherwise you go to jail.
It’s not so much hard as complicated.
7. People Only Come Here For Safaris
True, most people come here for a safari. They come for a look at an allusive lion, zebra, elephant or giraffe. No, we don’t have tigers, they are in India. It’s surprising though how many people come for other things though. I ran into a lady from Sydney who came over just to catch up with friends. Some people come to build classrooms, visit their sponsored child or volunteer. Sometimes students who are at university need to intern somewhere and that’s one of the areas we work with. We give them opportunity to teach, see the different projects and assist the staff. Right now we need lots of volunteers as the work continues to grow.
Don’t think that what is on the 6pm news is all there is about Kenya or Africa itself. There’s a whole world of amazing things happening here. Sure it’s not Hawaii, but it’s not hell either.
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