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Jan 16

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Inspirational Blogger Interviews: Africa Expat Wives Club 

For the last few months, regular readers of Alaivani may have taken note of several posts on the topic of Kenya. In learning more about Kenya, I have been following the blog of a U.K. family in Nairobi, called Africa Expat Wives Club, the focus of this month’s Website Wednesdays. 

Currently Kenya is experiencing turmoil. Thank you Africa Expat Wives Club for keeping us informed from someone on the ground in Kenya. What is your overall impression of bloggers based in Kenya and how do you think their news and reflections compare to the mainstream media?

Africa Expat Wives Club says:

It has been fascinating to follow blogs such as; ‘Kenyanpundit.com’ and ‘afuturemindedkenyan.blogspot.com’ because they represent the views of young, well educated professional Kenyans and their posts illustrate the general anger and disbelief at the way things have gone since the 27th December 2007 election and the behaviour of Kenya’s political leaders.  Their main concern seems to be that Kenya will finally reach the status of being a proper and fair democracy. 

What inspired you to start blogging and what encourages you to continue even during the more tense periods?

Africa Expat Wives Club says: I was inspired to write a blog about daily expat life in East Africa, by the apparent ‘gap in the market’ relating to this topic.  There have been many books written about rather fantastical experiences of outsiders building a life in Kenya, which generally involve wildlife, war zones and tragedy.  (i.e. I dreamed of Africa – Kuki Gallmann; Call of the Wild – Francesca Marciano).  My plan was to write about today’s experiences of living as an expat, without the romantic connotations.  This way anyone thinking about or planning to move abroad can get more of a realistic and rounded picture of what it is really like to be an expat.  

I have read some of your posts on cross cultural experiences, such as Cultural Differences and Kissing on the Lips.., Preparing for a Kenyan Christmas and Bringing up Babies in East Africa. What are some benefits and/or drawbacks of being an expat in Kenya?

Africa Expat Wives Club says: The major drawback of being an expat in any country is that you are living apart from family and old friends and must do without the support network that those people at home represent.  However, the exposure to another culture and a wealth of unusual/varied experiences can compensate for this and broaden your horizons.  In addition, you tend to make very strong, long lasting friendships with fellow expats living around you.  In Kenya, the disparity of wealth is difficult to come to terms with but I think it is fair to say that we all are aware of it and try our best to help those people immediately around us when possible.

In your post, Going home - Culture shock, you share some perceptions on how living abroad affects your perception of your home country. Do you have any predictions of how your perceptions may change again in your next visit?

Africa Expat Wives Club says: I think that having lived in Kenya for five years, I’ve so far taken the stable political situation in Kenya for granted (as one also does living in the UK).  In view of recent events here, I’ll probably appreciate the stability of home and the freedom that gives the people who live there.  Every year there seems to be new buzz words back home – this year I will probably read a lot about eco fuels, food miles, recycling, carbon emissions etc.  I think that the Western world has a lot to learn from Africa on these subjects, where absolutely everything is recycled and very little is allowed to go to waste. 
 

I really like your posts on the Expat Stereotypes (links below). What inspired you to start that series?

Africa Expat Wives Club says: When I started writing the expat stereotypes I did stress that there’s a little bit of me in each one!  They were inspired by the UK Telegraph weekend magazine’s ‘social stereotypes’ written by Victoria Mather – which poke fun at UK stereotypes and make very amusing reading.  I think that as expats, we hold a rather uneasy position where we live and it’s always important to be able to laugh at ourselves.  There are also some very ‘juicy’ characters who I’ve come across and make excellent blog fodder! 

Thanks so much Jennifer, for making mine blog of the month – and thanks for your interesting questions that have made me stop and think a bit! x 

Posts on Expat’s blog I really enjoy:

Africa -'Recycling Kings!'  |  10 Worst Wildlife Related Incidents  |  Crazy Kenyan Names  |  East Africa Driving Tips - additions

Expat Stereotypes Series: Missionary, The Two Year Wonder, The Kenya Cowboy, The Kenya Cowgirl, Indecisive Izzy, Irritable Angela

 

This post is a one in the series of Inspirational Blogger Interviews

 

Related Posts/Links:

Do you want to be a part of this interview series? Join my Authentic Journeys Facebook Fan Page and be featured! :)

--or--

Would you like to participate in the cross-cultural interviews here on Alaivani!? We'd be honored to showcase your life story here!
More information on this post, "Teach Us About Your Culture".

See an archived list of cross-cultural interviews here.

 

Kenyan Pundit  |  Future Minded Kenyan  |  Website Wednesdays Archives  |  Want to Safari? | Kenya Culture Smart

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to complementary Alaivani RSS feed or Yahoo group (files, photos, newsletters and more not on the site).

 

Thank you for reading and spending your time on Alaivani.com.

 

 

 

Copyright ©2008 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar

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