01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Expat Stereotypes: - 3. The Kenya Cowboy 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Expat Stereotypes: - 3. The Kenya Cowboy


Jack is a ‘Kenya Cowboy’; his family have been in Kenya for three generations and he holds a Kenya passport (making him therefore a ‘Kenya citizen’, or ‘KC’). He’s a single chap, having previously been out with all the eligible girls in his social set at some time or another and he’s currently living in a guest cottage in his parent’s garden, though that arrangement is only temporary.

Now that he is approaching his late thirties the need to meet the right girl (ideally an ‘outsider’) who is game enough to commit herself to Kenya ‘ad infinitum’ is getting more pressing. With any luck he’ll eventually find a visiting prep school teacher or an air hostess to marry, but until then he’s happy to regularly prop up his local bar in Karen with the tight knit circle of friends whom he has known since childhood. He enjoys Sunday lunch with his parents every week and often joins them for sundowners mid week. He is extremely fond of his old school friends and sees no reason to get to know or talk to any of these transient ‘expat’ couples that pepper the neighbourhood. If he’s introduced to somebody who has been in the area for more than ten years then he’ll consider entering into conversation but overall, he’s happy with his existing social life thank you very much as they are friends you can rely on. ‘Two year wonders’ are so tiresome.

Jack is a handy man, knowledgeable of his surroundings (birds, flora, fauna) and self reliant, he even holds a pilots licence that he got in Florida some years back. He helps out in his cousin’s ‘top end’ mobile safari business when they are busy, but has more recently diversified into rustic furniture making and has a hand in project managing the construction of a new ‘exclusive’ lodge that is currently being built upcountry. His father wanted him to farm, but the prospect meant an isolated existence that didn’t appeal. Game conservation was another option but sadly his parents sold their ranch years ago to help fund his schooling overseas. Anyway, he’s happier to dabble in this and that and remain a ‘free’ self employed man.

You’ll easily spot Jack around town driving a long wheel base dark green 4x4 landcruiser with multiple game viewing roof hatches, a roof rack, two spare tyres and a high lift jack. Without fail, he will be wearing a short sleeved shirt, leather hat or baseball cap, rather battered short shorts (or ‘stubbies’) a beaded belt with mobile phone and ‘leatherman’ attached, short socks and ‘Bata’ safari boots (whose strap line is; ‘the boots that say you know Africa’). In the evening he dons his faded blue jeans that were bought circa 1987 and a fleece jumper. He has cleverly fashioned a box for his ipod from an ice cream container lined with foam, which prevents the device being damaged when driving in the bush.

He can make a very loud cattle whistle without even having to put his fingers in his mouth, can remove a beer bottle top without an opener and can make a clicking noise with his fingers by rapidly shaking his loose hand up and down whilst sucking air through his teeth to emphasize a point. Many sentences are preceded by the word; ‘Man’ or; ‘I tell you’ and there is a lilt in his voice that he and his friends cannot detect but which is typical of the ‘KC’. His Swahili is excellent, a vast improvement on the ‘kitchen’ Swahili still spoken by his parents, he also knows Kikuyu and some Maa. In Kenya he is in his element though he has no idea what the long term future holds, however, he will be ready to ride any storm that the local government throws at him because this for him is home.

Next stereotype: The Kenya cowgirl

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