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.