AMA African living in Africa. Ask me anything you need to know about living in the 3rd World. Been here all my life.
This is my very first day on reddit and my very first post, so i'm not very sure about how things work here. I took about 30 minutes just to figure out how to share this.
Part of Africa= Kenya.
hahaha...if you fell for that nonsense, I have bad news for you mate.
Can I pay for you to come to America?
haha, for work, study or tourism? And what would you expect from me?
"Work" Umm, I have some people that owe me money... So, yeah. You don't need a resume, I promise.
Good luck getting me a visa with that reason :)
Oh It's all legit. Trust me. But seriously, would you come to the US to visit?
Yeah I would, I'd love to actually, but my finances conspire against me.
What if someone were to be your mysterious ticket into this country? Totally pay for everything, but you will never know who it is. Would you do it?
Yes I would. BUT, your "UNCLE SAM" would have a lot of questions for me. Are you offering me a ticket to your country?
Do you think that the Catholic church does more good or harm for people?
Thank you for doing this, keep well.
I think the Catholic church has destroyed many people in Africa because they tell us not to use condoms...but people still have to have sex so in the end they get AIDS.
Buut...they have some schools and health centres, but just very few of them. I would prefer if catholics and all religions left Africa in peace.
First Africa, then the World.
How do you get online ? (dsl,cable,wireless..)
by mobile internet...connected to a wireless router.
I am from South Africa, hail fellow African!
Do you find it at least somewhat true that we are bridging the digital divide, i.e. access to computers and the Internet, at least as far as you can tell in Eastern Africa? I imagine that costs are still almost entirely prohibitively expensive though?
Hi fellow friend. We are definitely bridging the digital divide. Kenya has made leaps and bounds in terms of digital media over the past couple of years. We have introduced a monetary system that is solely based on sms services, a first in the world. We are connected by fibre optic cable to all of the world and we have rolled out digital TV broadcasting, also a first in many countries. I think the pace at which we are growing digitally is tremendous..hopefully we can keep at it.
Thank you for the reply, very interesting.
I imagine the SEACOM cable landing in Mombasa is driving prices down and will continue to provide a cost effective interlink with the rest of the world. We are only now in Sandton, Johannesburg, starting to see a truly affordable Internet link to the world.
Again, thanks for the AMA!
Yeah! SEACOM is doing exactly that, but it failed recently when a trawler tore through it. They are planning on a parallel channel to avoid such disconnections again.
Kenya just found oil! How excited is the country?
Most people don't give a crap coz they know that it might either bring chaos, or the politicians might enrich themselves with it. The celebration only lasted 2 weeks tops. I bet most people don't even remember about that anymore. You're very observant though.
What are the general attitudes towards 1st world countries like the U.S? Also, what are some of your favorite artists/types of music?
Most Kenyans like reggae, some like hip hop(the old one though not the new crap) and soul, r&b and classic rock. Some Kenyans have a good attitude towards the USA and would love to live there(coz of the movies). But those with access to the internet think that it's a bully of a country that's high-handed in the way it deals with affairs. Most prefer Northern European countries that are neutral..like Switzerland.
Ive been to switzerland, and my take is that they may not be as 'neutral' as you may like to think when it comes to immigrants.
Oh, I meant in terms of political affairs. Almost no place in this world is hospitable to Africans, not even Africa itself.
That made me very sad.
Unfortunately there's not much we can do about it but try to survive and make the best out of what we have. Treasure the little things you have in life.
I've seen so many slanted documentaries abut how rough the guys are and they just shoot people for fun and then teach it to the male children. Is there any truth to that? Not trying to be offensive, I'm just wondering if the directors are doing it to put a bad spin on parts of that society.
If it happens, maybe to less than 5% of the total of Africa. In my country there is no war, so the only people shooting are either policemen or thugs. Policemen are actually more dangerous at times. The documentaries are very one sided. I have seen quite a number of people getting lynched but this is because they killed, stole or raped...otherwise it's not a warzone, just a bit unsafe.
I want to go to Kenya some day, and will obviously visit Nairobi and Mombasa which will be safe but where would you recommend keeping away from? what's the border with somalia like? also just wondering... why do kenyans always win long distance events?! do you do running at school from a young age or anything?
Try to avoid the border with Somalia(Lamu)...although it's relatively safe now since the army is bursting terrorist skull over there....you should also try to avoid the north of the country...it's bandit territory so they'll give you armed guards if you want to go there...but there's pretty much nothing but desert there anyways.
Running is predorminant in only one of the Kenyan communities that resided in the highlands...two reasons they ran first, the altitude builds there resistance and they ran a lot to school and elsewhere since of the rugged terrain so not much roads there. Many of the best runners ran upto 10kms daily to and from school from age 7
What are you studying at university? Your english seems to be pretty good, have you been studying english all your life?
And as for proof, you could take a photo of your school i.d. card (block out whatever information your don't want us to see) and have a piece of paper next to it saying something like "Hi reddit. May 3rd 2012 iliketothink"
EDIT2: Gramma auto-corrected to Grandma. Leaving it, made me laugh. GRAMMAR
I'm studying media. Yeah, English is the medium of instruction in Kenya since pre-school, so pretty much everyone can speak it,to a certain level at least. I took the pic but have no idea on how to upload it...please walk me through.
A recent book, Dead Aid, recommended that Western countries stop giving money to Africa because it actually stunts development. What do you think of this? Does foreign aid hurt more than help?
Western AId is not a bad thing, it's the way it's managed that's the issue. Most of those in government are corrupt and siphon off the funds or use their private businesses to run the tenders. Take a leaf from China...bring your own personnel to manage the funds down to the grassroots and your money will go a long way...you might end up amassing quite a sizable profit too because the commerce industry is ripe for investment. Investment and NOT AID is what Africa needs.
So you feel investments from China are having a more positive impact than western money and aid agencies? Over here, people are cynical about China's involvement in Africa.
So are some of the Kenyans. However, their development issues are felt on the ground. They do not meddle in politics/human affairs issues and most importantly, their terms and conditions are very clear. For the meantime, it sounds like a better deal than the West, and as Africa, we don't get much of those. So only time will tell.
Where would you like to see Kenya be in 20 years?
Simple..i'd like everyone to have 3 square meals a day, enough security to go out playing even at night, universal and affordable healthcare and quality and affordable education. Not too much to ask for is it?
What are your thoughts on the Invisible Children guys? Kony?
It came in too late. Kony is a bastard that should be hanged by his balls over a crocodile pit. He will be killed one of these days hopefully...but the damage is already done. At least they brought the atrocities to light and some of the affected can get help from around the world.
Is the concept of female sex tourists (http://forums.projectcovo.com/showthread.php?t=940229) anywhere near true (or more to the point, have you ever heard of anything like this)?
It is..especially at the coast...mostly older European women do this..it's not a myth, it;s very prevalent and out there..noone hides it. I even know someone who's in this "trade".
Hi. Fellow African here. I'm actually from the very north of Sudan, but currently live in Canada. I was just wondering what the general opinion of us (northern sudanese) among other Africans? Are we considered racist? evil? or are we relatively unknown?
I know our government did horrible things to the Southern Sudanese people.
Well, before the North South fiasco, Northern Sudanese were relatively unknown and actually i think better respected and accepted. But when Darfur and the split happened, and Heiglig et cetera, many Africans are of the opinion that The North is oppressing the South. These views have only recently appeared since Sudan was in relative peace before. I have many North Sudanese friends and I like them o the bone. I think the government of N. Sudan is evil though.
Sadly, Sudan was never really in relative peace. There were (short) breaks, but that's it. The war between the north and south spanned from independence to now in one form or another. People are right to think that the north is oppressing the south because they are. The government is horrible and is single-handedly destroying the whole country. Thanks for your answers.
You're welcome brother. I hope you and like minded countrymen can help solve this issue. If the resources were shared equitably and the squabbles were non-existent, Sudan would have been a very prosperous country.
I just got back from 2 weeks in Kenya... Mara, Nairobi, Mombasa, Narok, Naivasha, Nakuru. I love Kenya!!, but I do have one question. Everywhere I went, there was garbage strewn all over. An otherwise really nice park by the ferry in Mombasa, for example, or every town between the Mara and Nairobi. Otherwise, Kenya seemed pretty well maintained. WTF?
Our local councils are run by morons. Ideally, they should clear garbage at least every so often...but they don't. They do nothing they're supposed to actually. We don't have a very effective garbage disposal system so most people just dig holes and bury em...hopefully this situation will improve in the future.
AHSANTE and KARIBU KENYA again :)
My friend goes to a international boarding school over there (swedish based). How are those students treated?
Like kings. They are treated like Kings!
My friend is located in Nairobi. She loves it there. thanks for answering!
You should join her too. Are you Swedish?
What part of Africa do you live in?
What are the charity/ Red Cross people like? What experiences have you had with them? Do they make a difference in the places they meet?
What is the health care like?
What conditions were you raised/ currently live in?
I live in East Africa. Kenya to be exact. Charity and Red Cross people on the ground are great and helpful, but some of the top manager people might not be very straight. They make a small difference because there's too much to do, and not too many of them. But they do save lives yes. Health care is terrible, unless you have a lot of money. Public hospitals ahve bad service and almost no equipment and medical workers are underpaid and strike often. On the other hand, private hospitals are top notch but charge way too much for anyone to afford. I was raised in a poor family but i got scholarship to university here, so i stay at campus for the mean time.
Im reading this in those charming African accents of yours. They're awesome.
haha..thank you very much. Where are you from?
Honduras. Third world for the win.
Amazing..como estas? I'd love to visit Central American and Caribbean countries.
Im doing great hbu? You really should visit, Roatan which is an island territory of Honduras is a fantastic tourist site and if you like beaches I think you would enjoy it.
Thanks a lot man..i won't forget to visit Honduras when I can...i'll save the name of Roatan just in case this happens :D
My old school raised money and ended up building a school and a water well for eastern Kenya. Have you seen any of these around? If yes: what are they like? I'm curious what I raised money for lol.
There are some that are around..did they give you the details of the school? If so, i could check how it went and maybe get you pictures too if time and resources permits.
But please, i'd like to beg for you wonderful givers to follow up on how the money is used. A liot of it ends up in the wrong hands(big fat politicians and government officials). It's best to liaise with someone here in Kenya who can provide you with receipts, pics and vids of the developments you have so kindly contributed for.
They sent us a "base photo". It was a picture of what they had in the mind and what most of the schools we built are. Some students from our school went down to help build it. I just didn't know if they were being used and if our money went to do good.
We saw pictures of the well and they said it was working fine. I don't know the exact location of the school, just that it was through Feed the Children
Oh, so in that case it did go well..if you have people here helping out and supervising...these hyenas have no chance of stealing.
Let's hope! I've heard many cases where half the money for these things go to the wrong people :(
Yup...greed is a bitch
And also, just a comment, I was kinda blown away by the high rate of cell phone ownership (even amongst Maasai literally living in mud huts with no plumbing) and mobile money use. I since read about how the latter is higher in Kenya than anywhere. Oh, and I was impressed by all the TV aerials in Kibera!
There are almost 20million cellphone users in Kenya...that's 1 in 2 people...it's pretty impressive what cell phones have done.
Do you have a hard time naming all those little French speaking West African countries too, or is just the rest of us?
Haha..some Kenyans have no idea what Sao Tome and Principe is...or even the Canary Islands and the Gambia, I'm very good at geaography though, so no, it's not a big problem for me.
i studied abroad in zanzibar, tanzania. I like the swahili coast, miss it lots and living there changed my whole world perspective. Just wanted to say that I respect anyone whose grown up in east africa, great culture.
Thanks a lot spongecake. Karibu Africa tena.
Suppose an American young male wanted to backpack solo around Africa. Is it possible?
Solo is NOT advisable. It's doable but not advisable. Travel in pairs or threes. Be very careful in countries like North Sudan. The Islamists should be you biggest hurdle, the rest of Africa is abit ok save for some robbers. If you cooperate with the robbers and corrupt officials you should be fine. https://www.facebook.com/roadtripadventure
These are some Kenyan guys who went on a trip down Africa...read their stories and you'll learn alot. They weren't backpacking though, they were driving.
What's up with the killing of albino's, including children? Why do they do that?
That happened in Tanzania for a while.I don't think it happens anymore.
Hi I'm a student in Penn State's engineering program and earlier this year we did a project based in Kenya/Tanzania. Our job was to make a product that would connect a bike and cart so it would be easier to pull them around. Is this something that you or anyone you know could use?
That's a pretty good idea...but a number of factors come into play.1. The load on the cart is usually heavy, at least 100kgs and above...so balance is an issue. 2. Most roads in Africa are heavily potholed, narrow and have steep gradients, so you might want to incorporate a gear system into your bike. 3. To counter the weight and force issue, consider an extra seat, most of the current carts are pulled by 2 to 3 people anyway. Use lightweight but durable material. Preffered material here is wood, since it's cheaper and steel since it's more durable, if you could find a balance between the two, that would be great. I'd love to give you more input about the various hurdles you could encounter, including marketing and stuff, but this is not the place for it. Drop me a private message.
Is there a presence of drug lords or gangs where you live? If so how do you and your family cope with it?
No drug lords...the only drug here is marijuana..very few hard drug users...gangs we have some cartels that extort money from public buses but they have been dealt with severely(pre-judicial killing) so they no longer operate openly. The biggest threat is from armed criminals who operate solo or in small gangs and from politicians and police.
how's the weed? lol
Potent! You should try it out.
Hell yeah man! Greetings from the US
Haha..World Stoners Unite...and it's very very very cheap here...greetings from AFRICA! :D
You have mentioned a few times that the police are more of a threat than some of the gang entities in your area. Can you go into this further? Is there a lot of corruption?
The police force of Kenya is one of the most corrupt in the world as studies have shown...BUT...they don't take money from thugs that often, mostly from civilians and petty offenders. However, they kill on site anyone that is suspected to be a thug...and sometimes they do it because the judiciary is corrupt and wiill let you free anyways. But as long as you get out of their way, you're ok..
However, they kill on site anyone that is suspected to be a thug...
TIL Don't act like my teenage self if visiting Kenya.
That's a bit far fetched. Not EVERYONE is killed. The incidents are a bit isolated. But this is what happens when the judicial and policing system have failed.
What do you think of Nairobi, I've herd some people describe it as a real nightmare. Crime, Drugs, Insane amounts of traffic. But others have said it's not so bad, just so long as you don't wonder round on your own at night and don't get caught off guard by a scammer :p
Crime is a bit high...drugs NOPE..unless you consider weed, glue and alcohol drugs...traffic is horrible during rush hours. It all depends on the time and where you are...most of the day Nairobi is extremely pleasant...but early in the morning and in the evenings the traffic is bad..crime mostly happens at night so you should be fine if you dont go wandering to dangerous spots at night.
Hujambo! Nilijifunzi Kiswahili cha Chuo Kikuu cha Georgia. Lakini, 20 miyaka iliyopita. Sisema Kiswahili kidogo sasa. Nataka kusafiri kwa siku moja Afrika mashariki.
I'd love to visit Kenya and Tanzania. In particular Zanzibar and Kilwa, but the more of East Africa I can visit, the better. No questions - but thanks for representing your homeland in a positive light. Most of the world has horrible impressions of Africa. This is a crying shame.
Asante sana ndugu. Kiswahili chako ni kizuri sana. Hongera! Karibu Kenya na East Africa.
Welcome to East Africa and feel at home. You will love the place most definitely. If you want to learn pure Swahili, spend more time at the Coast. They Swahili is flawless and they are very sociable. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I have been up the whole night answering questions regarding Kenya and Africa yet I have an important meeting tomorrow. But i'll do the little that I can to change the perception of the world towards Africa.
How dangerous is the situation between African Christians and African Muslims?
In West and North Africa it's explosive...in East Africa it's ok..but it's getting a little bit heated up...but so far no incidents. We have been living in peace and harmony for many years until AL Shabab reared its ugly head.
I am on my way to the Horn of Africa soon for a year..I dont know where specifically. Any advice? How prevalent are english-speakers in kenya? Thanks
AVOID SOMALIA...and i can't stress this enough. No matter how much they pay, that place is hell. English is not a problem in Kenya..almost everyone understands it and is willing to help any foreigner...be wary of con artists and petty thieves though.
Another thing, the best places to get information about anything regarding the streets is the shoe shiners and newspaper vendors. Always listen to advice when they tell you not to go to a certain area oor..take precautions and hire a police officer if it's too unsafe. You'll be fine in Kenya though..but avoid the far north of Kenya near Ethiopia and Somalia...it's very dry and has occasional bandits.
Thanks for the response. I am going because of military so we have already been told alot about Somalia. How do Kenyans view the US having a presence in the Horn? I have heard the US is accepted in most of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, but not so much in Ethiopia and obviously Somalia
Yeah, the US is very largely accepted in Kenya and the rest of East Africa...Ethiopia and Somalia have a problem with any kind of foreign intervention, even Kenya's. Many Kenyans want Somalia to regain some sanity and since we don't have the might or money to do that, the US is the next best bet.
poa..vipi? wewe ni mkenya?
Have you ever been to Somalia yourself, or have you had friends who have gone there or anything?
You talk about lynching like it's a normal thing, is it really not that extreme over there?
You say you've lever been to a first world country, would you like to go? And how would your expectations be?
Cool AMA btw, I really appreciate it!
- I went to Somalia when I was younger, well not technically into the country but to the border point. It was a bit more peaceful back then and less of a humanitarian crisis. Now it's a hell hole by any standard(even Africa's). I have friends serving in the Kenyan army who are in Somalia now. 2.Here, lynching is not a big deal..people barely talk about it for more than a few days. I guess our ideals are different from the West's. Also, the failures of our judicial and police force have contributed massively to this. 3.I'd like to go, given the chance. Honestly, i expect people there to be cold and slightly prejudiced. A bit ignorant too i suppose. But there's now way to really know until i go. (no offense)
Of course you will run into people who are cold, prejudice, and ignorant, but I don't think there is a place on this planet where you wouldn't find people like this. Except maybe Antarctica and even then I bet the penguins would stand around smugly judging you for not wearing a tuxedo. I know if you came here most people would react with "Oh you are from Kenya? Let me buy you a drink while you tell me your life's tale!" And by talking to people you would help to rid them of their own ignorance, much like you are doing right now. Thanks for the AMA.
You're welcome, and I must just take you up on that. Have a good day/night mate :)
- What part of Africa do you live in?
- What are some common misconceptions about living in a 3rd world country?
Some misconceptions is that it's fucked up everywhere...it's not. Some places are as decent as "1st world" Another misconception is that everybody is miserable. Most Africans, even those in extreme poverty are happy go lucky and take life a day at a time. Very social especially with visitors and welcoming. We dont go killing each other too often, but when we do,...u read all about it in CNN
What are your plans after you graduate University? Any idea if you'll be sticking around Kenya or are you looking to branch out and see more of the world?
I'll try to branch out to gain much needed experience and expertise. But if all else fails, i'll stick here and try to improve our living conditions.
I read a lot. I also write. I play rugby, drink on the weekends, and just try to find out more about the world and humanity. You?
Yup, that there is hope.
Thank you for this response, this made me smile. And thanks for doing this AMA, it is fantastic! Best wishes to you!
You're very welcome, friend.
Why do you think countries like yours are left in such conditions while countries like the US and England are so advanced?
Bad leadership mostly. And we've been independent for a very short time. We've been a country for less than 50 years...before this we lived as different tribes, each with their own socio-economical structure that is very different from the west. Unfortunately,colonization broke this apart.
Do the indigenous populations have contact with those in the cities?
Yeah. They travel to the cities to see their loved ones or to the government offices. Not very often but they do have contact. Mostly it's the other way round..city folk going to the country during holidays and such.
I am not sure how old you are, so you may not be able to answer this one, but what was the reaction in Kenya over the whole Rwanda genocide thing in 1994?
Specifically what were the views on who assassinated the two presidents and the involvement of Uganda?
I'm sorry i might not give you a conclusive answer on that. I was way too young. But whatever the reaction was from Kenya, it was way too little and too useless. The massacres should have been stopped by East Africa cumulatively.
What have been your experiences with Peace Corps volunteers if you've encountered any?
I'm sorry but i haven't. I have encountered British and American troops here though, but I doubt they're peace keepers.
What third world country stereotypes that you have heard are true/untrue?
That everybody is violent..FALSE. That everybody is pissed off and maniac..FALSE.
Is the number one ladies detective agency a true story?
I think that's from Botswana
What can someone across the world do to help people in Kenya? I fund loans on Kiva from time to time, but is there something more effective and direct someone can do to help put food or clothes into the hands of someone who may be living in poverty?
Well, i think the most effective initiative would be connecting the donor with the recipient, by mail or electronically, which is very possible nowadays. In the future, given the resources, I'd like to work on a programme/website/project where the recipients are not just faceless people from nowhere. A system where you can interact with them on a weekly/monthly basis and see how they're faring on. Unfortunately, i know not of any such system in place so right now you can only give blind. I bet it would be amazing for you to see the smile on a young malnourished child when he/she receives bread and milk from a stranger. Hang with me and I might just make that happen.
Where abouts in kenya? What tribe are you from? What do you honestly think of white Kenyan residents/citizens? On my fathers side my entire family live there and have done for a few generations. I visited recently around stayed in Malindi, Lamu and on Kiwayu island where my family live. Going back in July, and want to see more! Absolutely beautiful country and everyone is so kind and friendly!
I live in Nairobi but i'm from Central Province. Kikuyu tribe. I think white Kenyans should mingle more.They seem to be afraid of black kenyans, and I also think that they should sell the MASSIVE tracts of land they own to other Kenyans, since very many Kenyans are landless and desolate. HOWEVER, not all of them are like this, of course some are very friendly and welcoming. The Coast is one of the best places to stay in Kenya. Very peaceful and beautiful Enjoy your stay when you come back and Karibu! :)
What language do you speak in Kenya? Swahili?
Yup...Swahili and about 41 more languages. But Swahili is the lingua franca..everyone speaks it.
The stereotype Americans have of 3rd world africa is just shanties covering desert and just huge crapholes. to what extent is my extremely stereotypical question true?
I've typed too much tonight so i'll give you a link of the city i live in http://www.nairaland.com/51356/nairobi-photos-kenya-beautiful-east
But not all of it is like this ofcourse...there are some fucked up places too....just as there are some fucked up places in AMERICA, i believe.
holy shit, beautiful
Unexpected of Africa, right? Shows you how wrong your media really is.
When will your Prince transfer me that $100m he promised?!
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