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