Kenya, our experience


We have been here for four years, Quiet frankly, Kenya is a great place to visit, just do not stop.

The land, animals, bird life, geology and geography are amazing. Great for holidays!

The down side is that you are treated like a cash-cow, fobbed off with poor services, racially discriminated against, subject to breathtakingly forward attempts at graft and next to nothing works as advertised.

Should you be bold enough to stand your ground the usual result is, to be lied to, (to get rid of you ASAP), to be told that you are no longer a colonial power, or in the case of dealing with the authorities, threatened with holding cells and/or physical violence.

Such a pity and what a wasted opportunity for such an amazing place.

We pray for the future of this vibrant land...

Interesting post!

I am intrigued to know in what way you have been racially discriminated against, as I have never felt this and I have spent substantial periods over the last 12 years here.  I also haven't heard others complain of this.  While its true that many Kenyans assume that westerners are rich, this is different from racism......isnt it?

Unfortunately graft is something that almost everyone in Kenya encounters on an almost daily basis - its not just foreigners.

To be threatened with physical violence/being locked up, by authority is pretty extreme and is not likely to happen unless one is very confrontational with them.  I also have never been in this position, despite years of dealing with the police, immigration and various other officials.

I think that its worth remembering that the culture isn't the same here, as your home country and in certain circumstances its not necessarily appropriate to act as if you are home - it can really rub people here up the wrong way (irritate them).  I feel that the mention of colonialism may well be a clue to this.  Such a comment has never been directed towards me.

I was asked my opinion and have given it. That mine differs from yours indicates that we have had different experiences. I have been travelling since the age of 18, (now 52) and have been in widely differing cultural environments, usually for some period of time.

I have never been confrontational, but have calmly, with normal voice stated my position; only to be threatened as stated above. Granted it has only happened twice in four years, but both occasions have been in front of 200+ people and by people in authority. When I have been confronted by the phrase, "Colonial", it has been used to hide behind as they have run out of excuses, nothing more.

Perhaps you may consider the positive position stated about Kenya that appears to understate the quixotic inference.

"That mine differs from yours indicates that we have had different experiences."  This statement applies for every one of us, I would have thought!    I am sorry that your experience hasn't been overall a positive one.

I really don't think that I have a unrealistically positive (romantic) view of Kenya.  I agree with you that it can be a pretty chaotic place where nothing runs to time, bribery is the norm, prices are high (esp in Nairobi), customer services are patchy and mostly poor.............. and so on. 

I stand by my comments about dealing with those in authority - you cannot stand your ground in the same way as you might in the UK, for example and there is a very fine line regarding when you can push an issue versus when to let it go, no matter whether you think you are in the right.  This particularly applies to dealing with the Kenya Police.  There isn't a complaints procedure as such and officials know that they have the upper hand, whether through being obstructive (until bribed), or having the power of arrest, for example.

My comments come from my own experiences, as well as other expats and Kenyans that I have talked to, over the years.

Its valuable to share your experience and I was most interested in your comment relating to racial discrimination - what form did this take, for example.  I think that its quite valuable to others to have you expand on this and share your knowledge.  I have heard very few comments of this nature, from expats.  I just hope that this is not an emerging issue here.

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