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Nairobi anyone?

(15 Posts)
mtw Wed 19-Oct-11 02:55:57

Please could you tell me about living here? We have 3 young children. Advice on housing /schools/ stores/ general living / safety? Thank you for any help!

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 19-Oct-11 04:41:49

Hello! I'm here and so is the Master and the Margaritas. It's a great place. I have two young children and the life here is ideal! It's early in the morning here and I am just getting ready for work but will send a full reply later (PM me if there's specifics you want to know). But in brief: Schools are excellent (though can have waiting lists); shops have pretty much everything food wise but it can be expensive (clothes are harder to find); general living - well it is a great outdoors life style; safety - is not great. But we all find work arounds. You live behind bars at night and there is a real risk of car jacking but I am the world's biggest coward and I find it ok.

TMAM is the real expert as she has been here for a long time (I've only been here a year). Would you be relocating with work?

mtw Wed 19-Oct-11 21:22:08

With my husbands job. WHat school do your kids go to? Car jacking - sounds scary. WHat do you mean you live behind bars? You just cant go out at night as it's too dangerous? Thanks!

mtw Wed 19-Oct-11 21:46:35

Do you drive? Are the roads safe? What is the housing available? Are there clubs/ pools? Thanks again for any help!

bananafrosting Wed 19-Oct-11 21:49:27

Not a direct response to your question - but you might like the Reluctant Memsahib blog if you don't know it already

bananafrosting Wed 19-Oct-11 21:50:26

(re Africa generally not Nairobi, sorry should've made that clear)

mtw Wed 19-Oct-11 22:44:44

thanks banana

blackcurrants Thu 20-Oct-11 01:36:39

my big sister lives there with her three dds, all under five, all born there, and they love the life. I don't have much helpful to add, but they are v. happy with schools, food, and do say that getting clothes is a bit more work.

mtw Thu 20-Oct-11 01:47:14

Blackcurrants - thank you - what about the safety issues?

blackcurrants Thu 20-Oct-11 01:55:49

bars on windows, impressive locks and steel doors, watchman/gardener sleeping in a little house in the garden, big dogs. She drives around with her car locked and sometimes doesn stop on red if she feels its dodgy. It is not safe, that said tbey have never been in danger. More of a pain with staff fraud than violent crime I think. (not house staff. people in their business).
They are very careful but dont feel limited by it.

blackcurrants Thu 20-Oct-11 01:58:46

should add, they are not worried during the day - kids play in the garden all day long etc.

mtw Thu 20-Oct-11 02:05:55

wow - must have taken a lot of getting used to? hmm alot to think about. i just don't know if i could live with the worry of being attacked at night!

BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 20-Oct-11 06:41:37

OK I'm back now. Crime is a big issue here. And it can be quite violent. Most expat in employers put serious measures in place to protect their employees. So by way of example, people have safe keep areas with steel doors to lock themselves behind at night. All our windows are barred and we have several guards on the property. YOu can also get panic buttons which connect to an armed response team so that if you were attacked, you would summon help which would be there within minutes. So I'd suggest that if you are thinking about coming here, you look into what level of security your husband's employer would offer.
It does require some changes to your lifestyle but to be honest you adapt quite quickly and the upsides to living here are enormous.

Housing is fabulous: big properties with lots of outdoor space. Lots of clubs to join. opportunities for swimming outdoors. I do drive, roads are bumpy and traffic is terrible and I agree re not stopping at red lights. But I don't find it too bad - and you can always employ a driver if you do.

Noone stops at red lights regardless of whether there is security risk wink grin.

I have been here for a while and am likely to be here for a whole lot longer so may have a slightly different view from Blameit, or a traditional expat, perhaps more akin to that of Blackcurrant's sister.

All in all there are upsides and downsides, just the same as living in any big city. For us, at the moment, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. As blameit says feel free to PM both of us if you need further off board info.

If you do decide to come, I'd suggest you bring marmite and nutella with you. (and can you bring some for us too whilst you are at it wink). See also a friend's blog in MN Blogs 'On the Threshold of Africa', she tells of life in Nairobi from a newcomer's perspective. I'm an old wizened Africa Hand so may be slightly immune to the realities and frustrations of living and working in Africa.

ExpatGossipGirl Tue 25-Oct-11 06:21:06

Great advice here Girls! I am based in Zambia where it is significantly safer - no carjacking here and we simply just need a walled in garden for security and do not need guards either, although some people employ them.
I blog about living here: and also another acquaintance writes a very informative and well researched blog called:
Letters from Lusaka.
Zambia is great and since our fellow Zambians successfully changed Presidents with safe and basically non-violent elections in October we have another 5 years of peace ahead! Its a friendly place to be an expat.

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