01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Expat Stereotypes: - 1. the Missionary 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Expat Stereotypes: - 1. the Missionary

Having waxed on endlessly about gardening, I thought it might be time to introduce a new theme and was thinking about describing some; ‘expat stereotypes’ in Kenya (rather than the ‘social stereotypes’ in the Sunday Times supplements (or is that in The Telegraph?).

Here is the first...published at my peril:

‘Judith is a missionary in her late 30s with four boys under four and a husband named John. They are from Texas. When spotted in the Karen supermarket she looks frazzled wearing a gingham loose fitting sundress and round, metal rimmed specs. She has mousey coloured hair and is devoid of makeup. Her fair haired boys are braying for lolly-pops, in fact Isaiah and Jonah seem to be coming to blows around her ankles as the baby then begins to scream. Through it all Judith is showing extreme patience with her brood. Her shopping trolley is groaning full with popcorn, crisps, bread and sausages which she pays for with wads of cash. Cookie and cake mixes, latest plastic toys and games, nappies, chocolate bars and cheese are all flown in by the church all the way from the United States on a monthly basis.

Judith takes time out to go to the most fashionable hairdresser in town, but insists that her rather severe style with ‘bangs’ remains the same each visit and she certainly never lets the stylist persuade her in the direction of ‘colouring’ or highlights. All her church friends go to the same salon but some of the banter and language used by other gossiping expat housewife clients can be deeply shocking.

She drives a white mini van with the words; ‘Kingdom of God - Bible Study’ emblazoned on the side and has lots and lots of like minded friends. She’s been posted to some pretty remote and harrowing African postings with her husband, but the family have remained united and the US food parcels and air drops have never failed them.

They do take regular extended trips back to the US on fund raising missions and last year returned with enough dough from their US compatriots to buy a six seater airplane and three new VX Landcruisers for penetrating the African bush and reaching remote tribal settlements. At home there is a constant stream of visitors, which can be wearing, but the children are happy and they have everything that they could possibly wish for in the way of toys, latest technology and friends.

(Sorry everyone, couldn’t resist! Next instalment: ‘the two year wonder’)

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