Things that bring lower middle class people together in Kenya
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This is Donholm estate in Nairobi Kenya, its almost 11kms from Kenyas capital, Nairobi city. Very near to Jomo Kenyatta international airport to the West and the infamous kayole estate to the North! It is a low middle income estate some people would claim middle class status here but i would like to believe we are all equal here at low middle class no shame in it!
Most of the houses here are what we call multiple dwelling structures, you have multiple small apartment blocks with one and two bedroom houses that we call home. They are mostly well done with okay finishes and the rent is between $200 to $300 dollars per month. The single dwellings (the ones you have a small compound and some parking for two cars) are a bit on the higher side @ $500. This is the class that is in middle class.
The estate roads are in pathetic state.
Photo Samsung J7
This is especially so when it rains, they become impassable and in most cases you have to remove your shoes roll up the trousers and bear to mud. Sometimes you have entrepreneurial young men ferrying you in carts and wheelbarrows for the main road to your house at an extra $1. Water is extremely scarce in these areas, it's a rare and an expensive commodity even when we are receiving 75mm of rain with floodings all over, we buy water in jericans at $.5 for a 20 litre! Google "KENYA" and two things you will not fail to see -
- Most taxed in the world!
There is a phrase thats come up - when you ask someone, "hi, how are you" their response is always, "niko tu, cha muhimu ni uhai" (i am just there, the most important is life)! People here are just glad to be alive!!
With the amounts we bleed in the name of expenditure including taxes! We should be living like kings but alas! We are paupers living by the grace of God!
I have lived here for six years i have not been content and ofcourse i would like to move to a more leafty quiter place once the doors that i have been knocking relentlessly of success start opening up and it is the cycle of life, to be hopeful of a good life for you and your family.
People here would rather mind their own business. I know a few of my neighbours but at times it feels like you are forcing a greeting out of them! They just want to be left alone. Neighbours become strangers! But this is life and you are no island, you loose your key, your items fall on to someones balcony, your small child goes to play with a neighbours child and you have no option but to relate. We are brought together in conversation by things beyond your control and it sucks sometimes because you are like, damn i have to go there and face a neighbour i have not spoken to for over 3 years?!!
And i have noticed that these are the things that forces us to have a communication with a neighbour when we would rather not have one!
One thing with th lower middle class fellows is that they work really hard and i mean really hard! Literally. For this reason they come by some liquid and save it in a bank, the next thing they think of, is a small car to move around on weekends and end of month and so they walk into a bank and acquires a loan! This explains the number of cars that are left on parking during the weekdays and people proceed to the field for the rat race!
Most oftenly this small cars break down, the battery runs low, the tires get deflated by kids playing etc. When this happens you are left with no choice but to go knocking on your neigbours who have cars to help you out!
We call this the tension period in Kenya, this is when you are forced to know all of your neighbours by their sir name. That way you will be able to tell a foe from a friend! Believe me, this is what happens - you see a group of people speaking in hushed tones being all brotherly discussing how they need to stick together etc mind you, these are people you would not normally see together! But in an extreme case like politics neigbours with familiar sir names becomes brother and those with unfamiliar names become foe!
I would say lack of employment but i will go with idleness! The reason im going with idleness is beacuse i believe there is no single time an opportunity fails to present itself! We have all the problems i mentioned above but there is lack of will for people especially the young to provide solutions. The millennial is a generation of people that want to get rich quickly. I call them the scam generation, they are getting scammed from right left and centre by slot machines, betting sites and gambling stations other that that they would rather seek employment in a stress free environment!
While they wait for these opportunities to come by they sit in small groups eating khat and smoking marijuana! Discussing bets!! The young wives sprawl on verandas gossiping the whole day!
I stay indoors on my free days, i write, i go to the gym and occasionally go out to do some shopping but for a melancholic like me it kind of gets in my nerve while walking up and down the streets with so many idle people staring at you! You can't just shake the feeling that they are discussing you!
But what to do? This world is not our home!