It’s been 5 years since I traded in my life in the Diaspora for a permanent life here in Kenya. I was scared about leaving behind a life of stability in the States, but ultimately convinced that my heart belonged in Kenya.
It has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life! I absolutely prefer Kenyan living to Diaspora living, and here are my top 5 reasons why:
So long to dish soap-ruined fingernails, my fabulous manicure is here to stay! Farewell to random, expensive babysitters for girls’ night out, my amazing full time nanny has got my back! Sayonara to arguing with a boyfriend/hubby about whose turn it is to clean the bathroom, we’ve handed over our Chores List! The relief and comfort felt when you have a trustworthy, loving and hardworking nanny is unimaginable. And as someone who was a housewife for a full 2 years while in the States, I have to say that the luxury of putting my feet up now is most welcome!
I realized one thing almost immediately I moved back to Kenya: middle class here is not the same as middle class out there. From glitzy product launches to countless trendy dining options, Nairobi is positively awash with an assortment of ways for the middle class to live it up! What’s more? Just about every service costs less here than it does out there: getting your hair braided, having your car washed, and even hiring someone to paint every room in your house bright yellow! It’s all within reach. I regularly get the feeling that I’m living like a Queen here in Kenya. And I love it!
Sunny days and cool nights all year round, random zebra spotting on your way to a family picnic, the ever present song and dance that our Kenyan communities pulsate to – it all makes you want to bop your head and sing, “HAKUNA MATA-“ just kidding. I may not be strolling and singing my way through the jungle with Timone and Pumba, but this definitely feels closer to a permanent vacation than life in the Diaspora ever did!
Life in the West is predictable, bordering on mundane. You know exactly what to expect day in and day out. That’s definitely NOT the case in good old Nairobi! Will tomorrow be declared a public holiday because the Pope is in town? Let’s wait and see! Will a juicy scandal involving a large corporate lead to a complete upset of the economy? Maybe! Will there be a power blackout 3 minutes from now? Who knows?! For better or worse, I feel more ALIVE now than I did in the 10 years I was abroad. This country is electrifying!
Having a large network of family members close by means that there are a good number of people who have your back when you need it. Maybe you just gave birth and need your favorite aunt to make you a pot of her special soup or maybe your daughter forgot her P.E. kit at home and your cousin offers to drop it off at her school on the way to work. Whatever the nature of your emergency, you are never short of support. Siblings, parents, uncles, close family friends; the list goes on and on. When you’re home, the number of people who can catch you when you fall is endless.
Read more on Shiko’s blog