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Loans and christmas fairs

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Having one of those days:-

First one of the lady's who work in our house asked for a pay rise, as her rent and bus fare have both gone up. Fair enough. However, I said that I was planning to give everyone a rise at christmas, in the meantime could I just bung her an extra bit of money at the end of this month to tide her over (and everyone else, to be fair I suppose).

Then, at school, one of the teaching assistants drew me to one side and asked for a loan to help pay for a leg operation for her mum - she wanted to borrow the usual amount: Kenya shillings 10,000 (about £75). The rest of her family are chipping in to take the total up to Kshs 60,000 (£500). She said that her employers do not give any loans on principal, and if I mention it to anyone there she will be fired (I heard that one before from our nightwatchman). So here I am indescreetly putting it on my blog. But I ask you, what choice do I have - she looks after my CHILD (and is very sweet and nice to boot)! Will she be like the nightwatchman and never pay us back, just try to avoid eye contact every day for the next couple of years?

I also found myself talking to the ex nightwatchman, asking whether he REALLY needed these expensive annual HIV immunity blood tests? How embarrassing.

I wonder if I've neglected to see 'INTEREST FREE UNSECURED LOANS AVAILABLE HERE' tattooed on my forehead, or maybe it just says: 'MUG'.

In the meantime, It's one of the big christmas fairs in Nairobi this weekend; 'Bizarre Bazaar' (there's another one next weekend - the xmas craft fair). You pay to go in and there are numerous stands with lots of expensive gift ideas - it's soley about shopping and father christmas does not make an appearance at this one. In fact, usually you are expected to inadvertantly part with $2,000 for an original oil painting, $1,000 for a drift wood coffee table; $500 for a dress designed by a trendy KC, (run up by a side of the road tailor); or $700 for a sheepskin throw and matching leather pouffe. That's if you can pluck up the courage to go into a tent, when faced with the prospect of interrupting the 'oh so cool' thirty something stall holder, who is deep in conversation with a group of cool hangers on who are lounging messily around the tent brandishing plastic cups of red wine.

I was also faced with the dilemma today of whether I could justify parting with 950 shillings each (i.e. £7 each) for three chocolate advent calanders for the kids. I put off the decision for now, and will probably find that next time I visit the shop, cash withdrawn from bank and in hand, that they are out of stock (that's what happened to me one Easter). Spending three times the UK price for a chocolate advent calendar seems excessive and definitely one of those 'peel off the price label before you get home' scenarios (i.e. so that the people in your house aren't taunted or sickened by the pure indulgence of it).

For now though, I promise that this is the last time I talk about money in my blog for a while - I know, I know....it's getting boring.

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