Kenya the Frustrating

Like any place in the world, Kenya has its pros and cons. Unfortunately the cons seem to be outweighing the pros of late and I’ve been a little frustrated with this place.

My frustration comes from the fact that nothing works. The long rains have arrived in Kenya and everything shuts down. They come every year and everyone knows they’re coming, yet no does the work necessary to prepare for them. Last week my apartment went 48 hours without any electricity. That means no hot showers, no internet, and going to sleep at 9:00 out of sheer boredom. Even after the 48 hour stint, electricity has been intermittent at best and I’ve come to see it as a privilege, not a right. It’s hard to plan or be productive when you have no idea if you’ll be able to turn on your computer. Even worse than the electricity is the problem of traffic. Nairobi’s roads are not capable of handling the traffic as it is but when you add torrential rain, poor drainage, bad drivers and more pot holes, getting around town becomes a nightmare. On Tuesday I spent 4 hours in traffic to go less than 20 miles. It might have been okay except for the fact that selfish drivers pass you on the other side and cut in when they see another car coming. Selfish people make things worse for everyone around them.

Anyway, I don’t want to be such a downer but it’s difficult knowing Kenya’s potential and comparing that to where the country is today. If people would work together instead of cheating and stealing to get just a little ahead, if corrupt politicians would be replaced with true leaders, this country would be truly great. It has the intellectual capital, land, resources and location to become wealthy, yet poverty persists because individuals think more of themselves than the people around them. No, I’m not advocating the demise of capitalism (I think capitalism, not aid is the solution) but that people obey the rule of law, stop stealing and diligently perform the jobs that they are given. Then the unbelievable inefficiencies of this country would be reduced and Kenyans would have the ability to pull themselves out of poverty rather than having to rely on aid. I would also like a million dollars but alas, the world is far from perfect.

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8 thoughts on “Kenya the Frustrating

  1. You can give me a million dollars! Life out there can definitely be frustrating, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger 🙂 Stay put, do what you can to be the change you want to see, and see God in the little things- like the RAIN!!!! 🙂 I would kill for some good old African rain… 🙂 ~Beth 🙂

  2. Daniel- good to read another blog from you. Please keep them coming. It’s actually encouraging to hear you describe the potential in Kenya as I think most Americans see very little “first world” potential from almost any African nation. Thanks for making my Monday morning richer by knowing that you are out there working to make a difference!

    Tim L.

  3. I like your thoughts Dan Lets keep on Rollin’ My be our country vision 2030 will yield some change. Its really fantastic working upcountry i mean; Kisumu,Kakamega,Nakuru… Attitude is different here! No selfish drivers, friendly people, good working Environment…

  4. DAN,
    NICE TO MEET YOU, I’M JAMES ELGIN AND I TOO LIVE IN KENYA, NAIROBI ACTUALLY.
    I DON’T WANT TO SEEM HARSH AND I EVEN AGREE WITH A LOT OF WHAT YOU SAY BUT IT’S BEEN SAID ABOUT KENYA A MILLION TIMES AND ALL THE “IF ONLY”‘S IN THE WORLD WILL NOT CHANGE THE SITUATION HERE.
    I FEEL THAT CHANGE MAY COME BUT I FEAR THAT IT MIGHT NOT BE A POSITIVE ONE.
    PEOPLE SEEM TO RESPECT YOUR OPINION ON MATTERS SO ALLOW ME TO ASK YOUR OPINION ON WHAT I SEE AS A POSSIBLE FUTURE FOR KENYA.
    MANY PEOPLE AT THE GRASS-ROOTS LEVEL IN KENYA ARE QUITE CERTAIN THAT POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE 2013 WILL BE CONSIDERABLY WORSE THAN ’07-’08 AND I’M AFRAID THAT I AGREE WITH THEM. THIS FACT IS THE FIRST INGREDIENT FOR MY KENYACAKE.
    THE SECOND IS THAT WE (KENYA) NOW HAVE A MILITARY THAT ARE NO LONGER UNPROVEN AND RIDICULED FOR LACK OF EXPERIENCE. THEY WENT TO SOMALIA AND KICKED AL SHAB-BABY’S ASS AND ARE NOW RESPECTED AND, OF COURSE, FEARED.
    ADD TO THIS MIX THE FACT THAT IT APPEARS THAT OIL REVENUE FROM KENYA WILL LIKELY BE GREATER THAN FROM ANY OF OUR NEIGHBORS AND I THINK WE ARE ALMOST READY TO MAKE OUR CAKE.
    PICTURE, IF YOU WILL, A SCENE OF CHAOTIC VIOLENCE AND LAWLESSNESS; LOOTING AND LYNCHINGS; MURDER, MAYHEM AND MISERY (MUCH LIKE ’07-’08 ONLY WORSE BECAUSE NOW THERE IS MUCH MORE AT STAKE !) WHERE CIVIL AUTHORITY COUNTS FOR LESS THAN NOTHING (LITERALLY BECAUSE THE GUARDIANS OF THE PEACE ARE SOME OF THE WORST PERPETRATORS). A GROUP OF AMBITIOUS GENERALS WHO FEEL UNREWARDED FOR THEIR EFFORTS IN SOMALIA DECIDE THAT FOR THE GOOD OF MWANAINCHI THEY WILL SUSPEND ALL CIVIL RULE UNTIL STABILITY RETURNS. THE WORLD WILL AGREE AND EVEN THE UN MAY SANCTION SUCH A MOVE………………
    ………………….NOW CONSIDER HOW DIFFICULT IT WILL BE TO REMOVE THESE “PEACE-KEEPERS” (THE KENYAN GENERALS) ONCE THEY START TO LINE THEIR OWN POCKETS WITH THE FILTHY LUCRE FROM TURKANA OIL-FIELDS.
    OF COURSE THIS IS ALL PURELY HYPOTHETICAL BUT KENYA AS A MILITARY-RUN STATE WOULD BE AN INCUBATOR OF HUMAN-RIGHTS ABUSE SO AS A FAMILY MAN, I FOR ONE WILL NOT BE PRESENT FOR THE ELECTION BUT WILL SPECTATE FROM AFAR AND HOPEFULLY RETURN WHEN KENYA ONCE AGAIN BECOMES THE BLISSFUL PLACE THAT IT CAN BE AT NON-ELECTION TIMES.
    DAN, I PRAY THAT MY SCENARIO OF KENYA’S ALMOST IMMEDIATE FUTURE IS ERRONEOUS, THAT INSTEAD WE MAY HAVE TRUE PATRIOTS IN PARLIAMENT AND NOT HATE-RIOTS ON THE STREETS BUT I FEAR, I FEAR………………..
    THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION BUDDY,
    JAMES ELGIN.

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