Nairobi, Kenya Report of what it's like to live there - 09/29/15

Personal Experiences from Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya 09/29/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Home is Eastern Europe. Trip takes between 6 and 14 hours depending on airline.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years
Before that Eastern and Western Europe

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Working for the UN

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is OK. All variety of houses and apartments is offered. Very expensive as well and security is an issue.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Everything is expensive, especially compared to Europe.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Many things, especially foods like cheese and wine and some spices we use.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

not much. KFC, Domino's and two to three local brands

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes, malaria, snakes

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

No package mail. It is a pain.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Low.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes. Expensive

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Well - it is a risk using international credit or debit cards.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not much. English is official langugae

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

yes

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No. Local transport not good for expats

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

High 4x4 vehicle.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

yes. expensive. US$50 per month. At home I used to pay US$10.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

No

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Little. In UN and NGOs

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

casual

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. Crime is high. White people are a target and cannot walk freely around the city. You need to live in a well protected home with electric fencing. Terrorism is real threat.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health facilities are OK but expensive and sometimes outdated

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Nairobi is very polluted

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

nothing special

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Climate is the best thing.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Good schools and many of them.
I would recommend Braeburn. Good old British system, discipline and a lot of studying.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Not much

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

yes

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

only at school - private schools of course.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Big. Morale differs

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Visiting each other homes for lunch or dinner

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I would not say so. It depends on the family and the kids. My teenager is grossly unhappy as she has no freedom to go anywhere on her own. No entertainment for kids and families. Limited options for singles as well. If you are used to going to exhibitions and concerts you should forget this completely.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

No.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Nice weather.The seaside.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Not much really. Go swimming that is all

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Nothing much

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Weather is nice, but there is no culture whatsoever. Nothing to do really. Some restaurants and bars in Nairobi and you quickly get bored of them. Going to safari is good but after 3-4 of these and you don want to see any more lines or elephants.
Food is very expensive. Restaurants and taxi services are overpriced. Traffic is horrible.

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10. Can you save money?

No

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Security. Lack of culture and opportunities for entertainment.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No. Not again. Two years is more than enough!

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes

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4. But don't forget your:

Sun lotion

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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