I came to Kenya first time in the year 2009 for a short meeting. After that, I came again here in 2010 for an official work and then in 2011 several times. Finally 2011 September I have shifted to Kenya on a deputation.
Though I stayed in Africa earlier in Egypt, it was more like middle eastern culture. I could find lots of similarities between India and Egypt and Arabic spoken in Egypt is very simple and many words of Hindi are mixed. So, I could not find much discomfort during my stay there. Moreover, the night life was active and the food is rather inexpensive. There were very little security issues and I never felt I was in a foreign country.
2011 was the first instance I shifted to Sub Saharan Africa and started living there. It was actually rather unusual experience for me. Most of the shops are closed by 7.00 pm and very little night life. Security issues and instability were part of the life.
I find two kinds of people in Kenya. First category of people are very friendly. You will listen a friendly “Habari” (How are you) almost instantaneously from these people. They don’t care who are you and where are you coming from. They do it with a very warm smile and you can almost see their sincerity. The second category of people are rather dishonest. They always try to find an opportunity to trick you and put you in their basket. Phone Snatchings are very common here in downtown and some busy areas of the town.
There are another set of people who are very committed and focused. They know what they want and what they are doing. They are self motivated and highly intellectuals. Most of these intellectuals are rather supported by scholarships and they have seen life in a very hard way. They know the value of the life and they appreciate and cherish every single moment of their life and they extend a helping hand always to the people who need it.
The second category of people are rather closed. You could almost sense their greed for money and lust to earn in easier ways. This category rather believes in shortcuts. Yes, I agree that the personality of an individual depends a lot on how their upbringing is.
As contrary to the belief, Rural areas of Kenya are very safe places to navigate. The people are very friendly and they love you with their heart and soul. Very welcoming and such a lovable people they are.
One advantage here is that, you can so easily communicate with any one and every one in English. Almost every one speaks very good English and the quality of English is amazing. You will not imagine sitting somewhere that, this place would be such a nice place to communicate.
The weather is awesome. Normally African countries are known for their hot climate and shooting temperatures. But atleast the whether in Nairobi is very pleasant. Kenya is just a mini world. You will find almost every country’s citizens here. Asian contingent is large. People from China, India, Pakisthan, Srilanka, Japan are mostly found here. USA and European representation is also very huge. There are several Hindu Temples as well !!!
Nairobi can be called as city of traffic jams. You can almost struck for 2-3 hours in road traffic. People are generally crazy about big sized cars largely because most of them travel to upcountry. Public transport system is majorly dependent on “Matatus” a tiny passenger transportation vehicle. The road infrastructure is improving at a rapid pace and along with that security.
One more amazing quality in the people is their love for their trees and nature. For every good occasion, people plant tree as a remembrance and celebrate. consumerism is high and the size of the super markets here is jaw dropping. They are as large as one could imagine. At the same time second hand market is also very big. People largely depended on China products.
Savings culture is rather non – existent. People use their phones and money rather carefully. There are no unnecessary phone calls between the people. Somehow, the savings are eluding here. Surprisingly people would not even pickup phones if there is no need.
Safaricom, Airtel and Yu mobiles are the popular mobile operators. Almost every one owns Safaricom as an automatic choice and its Safaricom’s MPESA which has revolutionized the mobile money concept and Kenya is the world leader in this area. Airtel is the second nearest competitor and picking up.
Young people are normally hardworking. They appreciate the opportunity given to them and they try to live up to it. Kenyans are natural athletes and are renowned marathon runners.
Life is normally expensive in Kenya. There are several hotels and restaurants including Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, Indian, Continental etc but the food is unbelievably expensive. Carnivore is the restaurant which serves several varieties of meet. Coke is almost used as an alternative to water. French fries are very popular. Traditional Kikuyu food is served in traditional hotels.
Intercity buses are very fast and rather safe. I have seen the bus hostess almost first time in my life here. The train network is also improving though people don’t prefer much.
Every city or town has its own speciality. Naivasha is known for flowers, Mwea is known for rice, Mombasa is known for sea food and Kisumu is for world famous Lake Victoria and Tilapia fish.
All in all, it is such a beautiful country to live in and I very much enjoyed my stay here. This country has given me so many memories and nice experiences. Thanks a lot Kenya for taking good care of me. I love you and your people. I wish a prosperous and great future for you. Thanks for every thing.