Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Nairobi an expensive city to live in?
Yes, Nairobi is quite an expensive city to live in. The elite Nairobians have to adhere to a certain life style where they stay in secured apartments, do their grocery shopping from high end shopping malls, ride in chauffeur driven cars – and all these are expensive. The monthly rent of our 3 bed room unfurnished house in Kileleshwa is 70,000 Ksh (1 Kenyan Shilling is approximately equal to 0.5 Indian Rupees). Our monthly electricity bill for 2 adults and an infant is around 6500 Ksh, non drinking water bill around 800 Ksh, cable TV and internet bill around 4500 Ksh and drinking water bill is 1972 Ksh. As on today, the cost of petrol is 120 Ksh per liter. The down ward trend of the shilling these days implies higher cost for imported products and less worth back home for our salary savings. BTW I paid 2500 Ksh for an anti tetanus injection from a doctor (need less to say the doctor is a Mhindi).

2. What language do you use to communicate with your housekeeper?
English. In Nairobi every body – right from any Fundi (technician) to Mboga (vegetable) seller to house keeper to driver – knows how to speak in English, the level of course will differ from person to person. One can survive well in Nairobi and all tourist places of Kenya without knowing a single word of Kiswahili. Of course knowing Kiswahili is an added advantage - you need not rack your brains to figure out what your driver told your maid.

3. Do you get Indian TV channels?
Yes, significant Wahindi presence in Kenya implies we watch NDTV news every night – followed by Al Jazeera news (in fact we record the nine o clock NDTV news in our set top box to watch later, since watching at 6.30 PM is not feasible. I have a daily alarm to remind me to switch on the TV for the recording!) Radio channels play Hindi songs. Mahalaya recording and Ramadan Azaans are aired as well.

4. Are there Muslims in Kenya?
Per Wikipedia:
Islam is the religion of approximately 10% of the Kenyan population, or approximately 3.9 million people. Though the majority of Kenyan Muslims are Sunni, there is a population of Kenyan Shi'a Muslims. In large part, they are Ismailis descended from or influenced by oceanic traders from the Middle East and India. They include the Dawoodi Bohra, who number some 6,000-8,000 in the country.”
“Pioneer Muslim traders arrived in the East African Coast around the eighth Century.”
“Archaeological evidence attests to a thriving Muslim town on Manda Island by the Tenth Century AD.  The Moroccan Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta, visiting the East African Coast in 1331 AD, reported a strong Muslim presence.”
All beef, chicken, lamb, mutton meat that we have seen in Nairobi are Halal. Eid namaaz at Nairobi saw an assembly in thousands.

5. How do you commute within city?
Expatriates usually either have their personal car and driver or have company contracts with car rental agencies who provide car and driver (in some cases companies provide petrol as well). There are cabs (every body has a collection of the numbers of trusted cab drivers) which charge minimum 500 Ksh for one way trip, 1000 Ksh for longer distances. People who cannot afford the luxury of cabs either walk long distances and/or use matatus (mini buses driven by drivers who feel they always have the right of way). A Mhindi would not dream of riding a matatu, though I have seen westerners seated on them on one or two instances.

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