KDPM

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Difference Between Living in Kenya and the USA!

All,
I have been thinking of Kenya with great nostalgia even though I do make frequent trips to that place (Kenya). Previously I was even thinking, seriously, of relocating to Kenya within the next 12 months (for good) as I have investments that would "ordinarily" allow me to live there without ever working for anybody...

Investments aside, I have done some serious thinking and since I live in the United States of America I have concluded that, and in comparison to Kenya:

a) There may be "wealthy" people in Kenya but they still cannot compare to the middle-class in the USA. Being wealthy in Kenya means driving a Range Rover, living in Runda, taking your kids to good (expensive schools), et cetera. It does not mean that you are not a target for carjacking and your kids being targets of kidnapping...

Being middle-class in the United States means that you own your home and you live in a neighborhood with security and peace. It means that your children have a realistic chance at either becoming "middle class" or achieving the "highest level of excellence" they can given equal opportunities (in most cases).

b) Being "upper middle class" in Kenya means that "you can fly from Nairobi to Kisumu regularly" while in the US flying from point A to point B is the cheapest and most convenient way of traveling within the United States.

c) Being wealthy in Kenya means that occasionally, you can go on vacation abroad (mostly Dubai or sometimes Europe) while most of Americans going to Kenya as tourists are not even considered middle-class in the US. The wealthy Americans buy homes in their desired exotic destinations (using legally generated money.. not stolen money).

d) Living in Kenya as an ordinary Kenyan means that you are doomed for life as there is no realistic chance of upward mobility (save for the lucky 0.1% who manage to move upwards due to their professions e.g doctors, lawyers, etc). Living in America, whether you are starting from the ghetto, means that there is still hope for a better life. You just have to dream big, work hard, and "go get yours". MAJORITY of Kenyans doing well in the United States would probably be tarmacking in Kenya even with their university degrees...

e) Living in Kenya means that mediocre but well-connected people e.g sons and daughters of political class will be your "bosses for life" while in the United States most of the time, corporate titans and political bigwigs are ordinary people with ordinary family backgrounds. Also, in the US, your boss (employer) could easily be your college friend who started his/her company e.g google, facebook, twitter, etc. If you get a job in Kenya you will most likely be working for either a dinosaur boss (over 60 yrs of age) who knows nothing about social-networking technologies.. ***They still have secretaries type their emails..*

f) Tribalism vs Racism: Kenya is becoming a MORE tribalist society where your tribe MATTERS in almost all aspects of productive life while the United States is becoming "less and less" racist-- meaning that the trend towards equal opportunity for all is becoming practical in the United States...

g) The Average Life Expectancy in Kenya is about 55-yrs while in the United States is about 79 yrs.

h) The US Passport is the mother of all Passports you can go anywhere without problems. In fact, you can rent and drive a car in most countries in the world with just your US Passport. The Kenyan passport can get you killed in some places e.g Migingo Island.. smile Kidding here.. but you get the point, ama?

i) When Kenyan parents force their kids to study sciences/medicine/engineering because those are the only fields that offer "a promising future", Americans generally have a lot of options in life-- everything pays in the US provided that one is good at what they are doing.... even writing "self-help books" can net you millions of dollars. Art (artists) and athletes are very appreciated in the US so if you have those talents, you will be ok.

j) Entrepreneurship: America is the best place in the entire world to start a business and succeed.. this is because of a combination of large qualified consumer market, business networks & incubators, and fabulous business schools and engineering schools.. Americans CAN DO attitude is also awesome.

In other words my dear friends, in this interconnected world of internet, VoIP phone service, Video-conferencing, etc communications, I do think that America offers the best of both worlds... whenever you miss home/Kenya, you can easily connect via video technology and communicate with the people you miss in real time....airfare to Kenya from the US is also very affordable (compared to back in the day when people had to budget and save for years before they can fly)...

Kind regards,

Respectfully,

Last edited by Doctor Masinde (Yesterday 20:47:00)
Dr. Fred Shamalla Masinde, MB; ChB, DDS
Brooklyn, NY

9 comments:

My First Biz said...

Masinde, I know you have put a lot of thought into this article. It frightens me to see what our country is getting into as we are divided along lines of tribes, haves and have nots, upper and low class. But who is winning; evil, corruption, crime, nepotism, favouritism, name it if it bad it is glorified, pirates money, drug money etc
But all said Home is best, lucky you who has the ability to live in both countries. I would spend my winter in Kenya and my summer in USA.

My First Biz said...

I couldn't have agreed with you more. Our city and country is becoming frightening, as you mentioned with car-jacking, kidnapping for ransom, corruption in job employment etc.
Just look at a small but big issue like Mau and the government cannot sort it out. It is frightening to see what is happening to our rivers, lakes, and eco systems, we are transforming the country into a desert fast.
Lucky you with two homes you can always spend your winter here and your summer there. But what are we leaving to our children?

Felix said...

In America, civil rights legislation and legal safeguards have reduced racism (mostly) to merely a nuisance. For most minorities, race and color play a smaller role in determining their success in life than it did 40 years ago.

In Kenya, there still isn't any law against tribalism despite the widespread tribe-centered corruption we euphemistically refer to as "national government"

It's still a huge problem just trying to enact protections for women in our society.

JAYNE said...

you are right life in kenya is not that easy though there are a few nice things about our country its so tempting to want to get out of this country in search of greener pastures i have considered the option of relocating to the states as a young graduate. career development is not easy here

PHELIX KIMANI said...

These conclusions are not absolute .This is not all it is to be wealthy or poor in Kenya. forondly, its not fair to compare a third world country with a developed one esp USA ;that's classic fallacy .Thirdly, Kenya we own Land and other property with no end year taxes, we are not overwhelmed with bills , our political system may not be cool like American but we get around with life. The 'go getters' get n prosper and insecurity is everywhere on different levels. Therefore, Kenya is as good home for Kenyans as America is to Americans. Felix.

Naisiae Moroyian said...

Firstly like the saying - There is no place like Home.
Education in Kenya is far much better than most American public schools. Respect & Manners are taught from early childhood. See how difficult it is for African parents trying to work 2 jobs and raise their children in the American culture. Yes! You can own your home but you are always a Slave to the System.
An American Passport as good as it is, is not welcome to some countries.
Kenya on the other hand, you own land which you can build & have a garden to plant your food. You have more Quality of Time in Kenya than in the US - where you hardly have time unless it's your day off. You are constantly on the run & worry on rent/mortgage, bills galore as you go to work living check to check - slave to the system.
Meanwhile, most people who visit Kenya, not only fall in love with it, but will go back anytime they have a chance. Tell me otherwise?
While we have tribalism in kenya & Many parts of Africa. There is racism in America if you don't see it, it's right around you at work or play. It can be obvious or silent. You will always be from another country & will still be an immigrant.

Tito said...

Tribalism is perpetuated by politicians and we have even embraced it in our Constitution as regional balance. Until we change our attitude towards tribalism and embrace merit, we shall continue moving in the vicious circle with all its demerits and horrendous evils. People have lost their lives for holding ID cards that "sold" them or for not being able to respond in a given language. Tribalism should be treated as a felony or as a crime against humanity. Hata hivyo najivunia kuwa mkenya.

Masiga Dindi said...

I have read the article and it confirms the annoying reality of what Kenya has become. The point is that Kenya is damaged goods at the moment because we have collectively allowed bandits to reign supreme and they have caused havoc. They are shameless thieves and do not take responsibility for anything. Clean people cannot be allowed to thrive to bridge the gap between the few corrupt rich and the poor. The tragedy is that the majority poor do not get the grip. They cannot see the correlation between poor governance and their situation. Its only in Kenya where bandits rule with impunity and still get elected to high political offices.And yes Dr Masinde is right because you only live once. At the moment its survival for the fittest in the jungle of corruption perpetuated by tribalism/nepotism and so if you bring up a family in Kenya you could as well count it as a lost generation.Some idlers/losers may go on about east west home is best without reflecting on the reality.

Masiga Dindi said...

I have read the article and it confirms the annoying reality of what Kenya has become. The point is that Kenya is damaged goods at the moment because we have collectively allowed bandits to reign supreme and they have caused havoc. They are shameless thieves and do not take responsibility for anything. Clean people cannot be allowed to thrive to bridge the gap between the few corrupt rich and the poor. The tragedy is that the majority poor do not get the grip. They cannot see the correlation between poor governance and their situation. Its only in Kenya where bandits rule with impunity and still get elected to high political offices.And yes Dr Masinde is right because you only live once. At the moment its survival for the fittest in the jungle of corruption perpetuated by tribalism/nepotism and so if you bring up a family in Kenya you could as well count it as a lost generation.Some idlers/losers may go on about east west home is best without reflecting on the reality.