Friday, April 27, 2007
I had my own stab at setting up a business in Tanzania. A friend and I decided to make a few wood and fabric toys for small children and babies, using local craftsmen and tailors (fundis) to do the hard work. We agonised over perfecting our designs but I doubt anything would have passed British Safety Standards. The process of producing these toys involved an awful lot of driving around and ‘chasing’ fundis who had slipped behind with our orders. When finally we had the perfect prototype from a craftsman, we would make a large order and immediately the quality of the work would nose dived. There were clocks whose hands fell off when moved, ‘nail and hammer’ games were the ‘nails’ were actually too fat to fit through the holes, curtain tie backs that went rusty in the sea breeze, mobiles whose wooden cut out animals would often fall down as the short lengths of fishing line were not secured properly. In fact ‘quality control’ was a nightmare.
Getting people to come over for a coffee morning to buy our wares in a private sale was not too difficult. Shopping opportunities are pretty scarce in East Africa, so that an outing, a free coffee and the chance to buy something new is always appealing (whatever is on sale). However for me, standing behind a table and watching people picking up objects and scrutinising them, was agony. It’s amazing how customers will shoot you down in flames by giving a personal opinion in loud tones to their neighbour, within earshot; ‘well, it’s not very well made is it?…you can get much nicer ones in such and such a shop…this doesn’t work!’ etc.
Taking money was embarrassing and accepting returned objects that have broken; mortifying.
The upshot was that after one year we broke even (just about) and I concluded that you need an innate tenacity and a very thick skin to be able to ‘sell’.
I tried again in Kenya, designing leather belts and brass buckles. After multiple trips to the industrial area and the roughest ends of the C.B.D (not for the faint hearted), I stumbled upon the usual quality decline when making large orders and to be honest, I felt a bit of a fraud as I’d basically just copied most of the designs from a fashion magazine in the first place. Ending up with a basket full of impractical wallets and belts that were too thick or had wobbly machine sewing, my family had the dubious pleasure of receiving my ‘original’ leather goods for Christmas one year.
To make it work, you need to employ your own staff and keep an eye on quality at all times, rather than outsource any of the work to local craftsmen. This seems to be the key to success. On a more positive note, my previous business partner in Tanzania now has her own roaringly successful company making recycled dhow wood furniture and she says she thinks fondly on those early tentative years of trading.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
It’s a long story, but writing it five years later is something of cathartic process for me now. The agony and embarrassment I endured at the time, has slowly morphed into simply; ‘blushes in the night’.
When we arrived in Dar we were totally bereft of friends and leafing through the local ‘going out’ guide, we spotted the Hash House Harriers ‘drinking club with a running problem’; a group who met at various people’s houses every Monday night. The ‘HHH’ are a worldwide ‘expat’ phenomenon, but the concept was new to us. Not being remotely fit or interested in fitness, for me the idea of running in 100 percent humidity at the end of the day with a bunch of strangers, followed by ritualistic drinking, was the ultimate in killer nightmares. In fact, my husband shared my feelings to an extent, but after endless evenings of staring at one another, with no tv or other diverting social life, the prospect of 'joining the hash' got more and more tempting.
It was with trepidation that we ‘met the hash’ but everyone was friendly and ages ranged broadly from children to oaps, with Tanzanians and expats whose occupations varied from heads of international businesses to embassy staff. We all mucked in together. The six kilometre run was excruciating as we poured with sweat ‘following the trail’ of shredded paper and shouting ‘on, on!’ along roads, beaches and rough tracks. Grudgingly I will admit, the scenery was stunning at times and weaving through villages and shanty towns with Tanzanian kids running after shouting ‘Mzungu! Mzungu!’ (Swahili for foreigner/white man) was kind of uplifting.
When the sun went down, the mosquitoes came out in force and the drinking began. There were drinking games involving standing (rather humiliated) in the centre of a circle, being awarded ‘hash’ nick names, singing songs and drinking ‘down downs’ (ie. Shot gunning cans of Tusker lager). The ‘down downs’ were meted out as punishment for wearing new trainers, or delaying the run….. or poisoning the hash….
After drinking, supper was traditionally provided by the host. Usually it was a chilli con carne and rice, or a curry, or bangers and mash with anything up to fifty people eating off plastic plates. When we could not avoid hosting the Hash any longer (for we actually became Monday night regulars), I was put in charge of food whilst Mr W planned out the run, laid the trail and organised the printing of 50 t-shirts. ‘Paella!’ I thought… something different, what a brilliant idea! Rice, cooked chicken and prawns mixed up.
Well, to cut a long story short, the run was a roaring success and in fact, so was the dinner and everyone came back for seconds. Until that night, when we were gripped by stabbing stomach pains. After several midnight loo dashes we woke up on Tuesday morning feeling not too clever. ‘I wonder if it was the paella.’ I mused, or just an unfortunate bug. Then the phone calls came in. The British High Commission consular secretary was off work, the managing director of the largest import/export company at the time had called in sick, the head of Tanzania Development Corporation (who must have been in his late 50s) spotted my husband from across the office multi story car park and simulated a ‘doubled over in’ pain stagger.
Living in Dar es Salaam, on the humid African coast line, we were no stranger to the odd stomach upset, but this was one social faux pas that I found difficult to live down. I spent two weeks dashing in and out of shops hoping that I would not see a familiar face. I felt like taking the first plane out of there and never coming back. Instead, we endured the humiliation, further endless ‘down downs’ and the dubious reputation of hosting the most memorable Hash… ever.
The second time was just as bad. Two years after our last attempt at entertaining, we planned a big house warming party in our new ‘sea view’ residence that we were very proud of. I hired a cook to cater for us all and bought kilos of the biggest freshest prawns from the local fisherman (or to be more accurate fish dealer) who regularly came to our house. ‘What are you cooking this time?’ asked my Mum thousands of miles away over a crackly telephone line; ‘prawns again Mum, but it will be fine, we’re hiring a cook!’
I’ve since learned that prawns are bottom feeders and those fished out of the polluted Dar es Salaam natural harbour mouth are pretty toxic as they feed on the capital city’s effluent filled estuary. They can be delicious, but must be thoroughly de-veined and washed before cooking.
To cut a long story short, only non seafood eaters were spared that night. Many were admitted to hospital the following day. Our friendly ex-pat GP who was out racing his catamaran on Sunday, was called into the surgery due to the terrible outbreak of food poisoning. Mr W said he was dying. I said, ‘shut up, you can’t be that bad – just drink some more re-hydration salts’. On Sunday evening our gardener who lived on our plot collapsed at our front door looking near to death. We rushed him to the local hospital bewildered as to what was wrong. It was discovered the following day that he was also suffering from severe food poisoning having eaten some left over prawn kebabs. I don’t think he was the only one put on a drip that night.
The fact that I insisted on hospital for the gardener and would not even call the doctor for my husband, has been a bit of a bone of contention in our marriage and often alluded back to. Also, I now shy away from entertaining and keep a ‘head in the sand’ mentality whereby it’s fun to go to parties, but not at all fun to host them.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I know the feeling. You are in the middle of making lunch or writing an email and you think; ‘I know what he wants’ and there on your doorstep is a tragic story and a problem to solve that can only really be cured by money.
Humphrey was travelling from ‘up country’ on a regular basis doing odd jobs in next door’s garden during the school holidays, to pay for his school fees. He was a relative of a member of ex house staff. The neighbour has had a cash flow crisis and can’t afford to pay the boy any longer; she has her own children’s school fees to worry about. Humphrey has just over a year before his schooling is finished. He needs £100.
My friend said; ‘You see I’m already paying for someone’s medical bills and another to buy a plot of land, I’m not sure I can take on this problem but I can’t ignore it either.’ It might be possible to say; ‘sorry I can’t help you’ but then you won’t be able to sleep at night. She said that he never actually asked her for the money either, he just explained his predicament.
You think; ‘I can’t afford to do that’ but then remember that you just spent £70 on a meal out, or on a new duvet cover.
(However, you don’t want to just throw money at a problem before you really know what your doing either; like the time we spent a fortune on blood tests, paediatricians and MRI scans for our ayah's daughter, who turned out to be suffering only from growing pains.)
My friend had a plan whereby her friends might chip in and get the money together. Her husband thinks she’s mad, you can’t always help everyone. I said I’d give her some cash and suggested she should stand outside the kindergarten gates canvassing her friends, although I’d rather her than me…
Monday, April 23, 2007
Years ago, incredibly, expats brought all their treasures from Europe with them, the silver tea service; the Chippendale dresser; the baccarat glasses. These treasures are normally handed down within the family, but occasionally there is no family to speak of. In some respects growing old in Kenya is perfect. You need never be lonely as it’s affordable to have round the clock house help, drivers and carers and stay in your own house. On the other hand it’s terrifying as you are an easy victim for nasty armed burglaries, in house deception and there’s no money coming in from any social security. There is many an old age pensioner here who is heavily in debt to the local supermarket with disgruntled unpaid staff at home.
Nowadays, most young families do without treasures. Instead we try to create a ‘safari style’ interior with what is available locally, rather than trying to recreate a Belgravia style living room in Karen or Muthaiga.
At the auction, prices fetched for some items are topsy turvey. An ordinary mahogany chest of drawers or silver plated tea set that would cost nothing at a UK auction room can go for hundreds of pounds here. This is because of their rarity value in Africa. To bring furniture in a container from Europe, can cost a fortune because after paying the shipping line, there are huge taxes levied at the ports. In fact importing anything can become a nightmarish minefield of unexpected cost, bribes and taxes. The whole process can take frustrating weeks and months.
My ultimate goal is to find a sleeper and make my fortune. An old master painting perhaps, or a rare piece of European porcelain, or some Irish silver would be nice. It hasn’t happened yet. In my greedy rush to buy a good piece I’ll get carried away with bidding and find that my stylish chair or pretty dish has been broken and cleverly repaired. This time I spent £25 on what I originally thought might be a miniature painted on ivory but is actually a small plastic framed print. I bought a very ordinary 1930s mirror (because I was outbid on the big mahogany framed one that would have looked perfect over the fireplace) and a broken Lalique candle holder. There was a little Lalique leaping fish trinket dish, which I’m pleased about, but it’s post 1945 and probably not worth more than the £20 I paid for it. Hey ho! One day I might get lucky, you have to be in it to win it!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
My little office has been the scene of many a childish show down; ‘I’m bored Mummy!’ ‘Why are you always on your computer Mummy?’ ‘My sister’s being mean to me Mummy’ ‘what can we do now, where can we go?’…. Another appears with a scratched knee or bruise needing cream and a plaster (every time) and the one year old comes in at three minute intervals with a little board book for me to read. When I give in and put her on my knee her tiny fingers stray to the keyboard. Her particular ‘piece de la resistance’ has been to flick off the main power supply at the wall on exiting my cramped room. I type on oblivious whilst the battery struggles on for a few minutes, then the screen blanks out.
I often wonder how ‘wife in the north’ does it with her blogging in UK, with no wonderful ayahs?!
When people entertaining the idea that having children is the way forward to complete your otherwise perfect life, there should be a helpful government health warning leaflet that reads;
· ‘you will never be able to go to the loo on your own again’
· ‘you will never be able to browse at the shops, in fact any shopping trip will be punctuated by an embarrassment inducing tantrum’
· ‘if you embark on doing something crafty or creative with your children, it will always end in tears’
· ‘it will be many years before you can ever go to a restaurant again’
· ‘it will be many years before you can ever have a lie in again’
· ‘your parents won’t always be willing to baby sit as they are loving their own freedom now’
· ‘bringing up small children can be mind numbingly boring’, which is why most mothers opt to go back to work these days (or start writing a blog?).
Forget romantic ideas of becoming a yummy mummy, these high profile ladies are spinning a web of lies because they have legions of staff in the background taking the children off their hands following every photo shoot.
The best advice I have for any potential parent is; move to Africa! With plenty of help around the house, it gives you best chance of maintaining a semblance of life pre children.
p.s. it’s Sunday and I’m feeling virtuous having just done my once a week stint at washing up…
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuna mayo sandwiches, cooked cold chipolata sausages, crisps, apples, cold boiled eggs and biscuits. Oh, and a thermos of coffee or tea. Frying sausages, mixing canned tuna and mayonnaise and remembering to pack the crisps, is always done at the last minute, in fraught circumstances. Either the children (& husband) are already in the car, or causing havoc inside by repacking their suitcases or some such.
On long journeys we usually eat on the go – which fills the car with detritus and the children complain of scratchy crumbs under their bottoms within half an hour. The baby will tip a cup of juice over herself at some stage. The experience could be more pleasurable if we were to stop the car and set up under a thorn tree (usually the only option), but watching a sixteen wheeler truck rumble past, when you have spent the last half an hour trying to overtake the lumbering beast, can be soul destroying.
As soon as we set out, at whatever time of day, there comes a call from behind; ‘can I please have a biscuit?’ Then we all keep up an eating vigil that continues throughout the journey (incl. grownups) and then we arrive at our destination feeling bloated and out of sorts. My legs are always folded in knots as the front foot well is always jam packed with easy to get to; bottles of water, packets of sweets, biscuits, nappies, wipes an emergency change of clothes for the children, sunhats, sun cream a thermos and so the list goes on…
When picnicking with friends, we are sure to be outdone. Over time, I have learned that it’s best to accept a chilled glass of white wine and soda with good grace when proffered by a friend. It’s now a pleasure to accompany those who are beautifully prepared and I’m no longer ashamed of my plastic cups and old bottles of water. If someone pulls out a new looking Weber barbeque, I’ll throw my bacon and eggs in and mix them up with everyone else’s. When a picnic table magically appears complete with jaunty cloth, I happily pile my old ice-cream tubs filled with boring sandwiches alongside the freshly baked quiches, dips, pates and cheeses, and tuck in.
Friday, April 13, 2007
- Indicating whilst driving does not necessarily mean that the driver intends to make a turn. Vehicles will happily speed along with indicator blinking for no apparent reason. When behind a vehicle which is indicating, you may find that the driver is helpfully informing you that it is not safe to overtake. They will stop indicating when the road is clear of oncoming traffic. Conversely, if a vehicle is pulling out of a side road, off a main road or making a turn, it may well not indicate at all. Do not panic if you see a car suddenly apply its’ hazard lights, it may just be signalling that it intends to cross straight over a junction. Join in and feel free to indicate at any time, it need not have any bearing on your direction!
The highway etiquette can also get bewildering when cars stop on busy main roads, in order to inexplicably let you out of side roads, when there is absolutely no traffic behind them. Just pull out, wave and smile. It's not worth arguing. An oncoming vehicle flashing its lights might a) be a bus touting for business or b) a vehicle warning you of a nearby police road block. If the latter is the case, start saying your prayers. (I've been arrested twice).
Be advised that when a vehicle has broken down or been in an accident, it is common practice to cut leafy branches and strew them along the road at various distances leading up to the stricken vehicle. So when you see branches in the road, slow down, it's not just over zealous roadside pruning!The pedestrians have a hard time. Generally there are no allocated pavements at all. As a consequence they are an unpredictable lot. They may be looking the wrong way then stepping out into the road, or perhaps not looking at all. Most pedestrians will walk along the road when rain is falling, to avoid muddy, slippery, puddle filled verges. Be careful not to spray water 50 meters in your flashy 4x4. Watch out for drunken pedestrians on weekends and public holidays. During dry spells, be aware of creating huge red powdery dust clouds whilst speed along dirt roads, it might be airtight and air-conditioned in your car but nobody likes a lungful of dust.
School children are generally walking home at 1pm and 3pm, they are usually unaccompanied and may lurch into the middle of the road at any given time. Go slow – look out for little school uniforms and skittish dashing about.
Night driving holds many hidden dangers. Most roads are not lit. You may well happen upon people walking along the road at night, without seeing them until the last minute. In addition, many vehicles have only one or no operational headlights. What might first appear to be a small motorbike could turn out to be a 16 wheeler truck when bearing down on you. Once, we saw a dead body lying in the verge. Nice!
Beware of cyclists. They are often carrying heavy or wide loads (see photo). These can include crates of distracting live chickens or a couple of waving children. A classic manoeuvre is for a cyclist to hear a vehicle drawing up behind, glance over his shoulder, then swerve into the centre of the road causing a near accident. There are no cycle lanes either. Seasoned Kenya drivers disregard cyclists and feel there is always room to overtake, whatever traffic is in the oncoming lane. Many a poor cyclist is driven off the road.
Buses and mini buses have their own rules. Don’t give in to road rage as so many of us are tempted to. You may wind up facing the wrath of the driver, ticket tout and a load of passengers in a road dispute. Buses will always ease out into traffic, without indicating, no matter how fast you are passing or how heavy a traffic jam seems. They will also drive up the inside verge or outside lane, regardless of oncoming traffic and obstacles. Just turn up your radio and thank God you are not a passenger on that bus. If you are unfortunate enough to get involved in an accident with a matatu, expect lengthy claims and court cases to follow, as all recently injured Nairobi residents from far and wide will say that they were on that particular bus.
Keep alert for animals grazing on verges when driving at speed. Goats, sheep, cows and donkeys are commonplace, often wandering with broken tethering ropes around their necks. Helpfully, Masai herdsmen are usually wearing red robes, so see them as a warning alert as they may be planning to shepherd a large herd to cross a busy city road without a bye-your-leave. Also, keep in mind, that there are always four legged stragglers at the back that could leap out of the bush at any point.
Finally, a hand pulled two wheeled cart (or
We set out on our Easter safari, after many hours of packing for five (in spite of the fact that we were planning to stay in catered lodges, so theoretically it should have been easy). Mr W grudgingly made the packed lunch (a triumph on my part!) as I flew around like a crazy thing remembering first aid kits and swimming nappies. At 9.10am we set off, not bad for a gentle morning start. At 9.20am, with a deafening boom, we dodged a heavily laden cyclist on a particularly narrow stretch of road and clipped the wing mirror of an oncoming matatu shattering our driver’s window and showering us all in shards of glass. My eldest said, indignant; ‘there’s glass in my book now!’ I found glass down the back of my low rise trousers and in my pants. ‘It’s ok! Not too bad!’ exclaimed our driver. We drove on a little, weighing up our options; ‘Easter weekend at home/cancel trip’, ‘spend some fruitless hours looking for someone to mend the window on Good Friday’ or ‘go home, swap cars then continue on our way’. So we decided to do a three point turn, return home and swap cars. Fortunately we now have two 4x4 cars.
The changeover took one hour exactly. We planted the three children in front of Cartoon Network, gave our long suffering gardener a dustpan and brush and shook glass out of our pants, then transferred all of our bags to the other car. We were planning to cross the Kenyan border so had to remember to transfer passports from glove compartment to glove compartment and importantly, to find the correct log book for the relevant car (exporting a car, even for a short trip, is an extremely bureaucratic process. Original log books must be held by border officials whilst you are out of the country). Karen BP petrol pump attendants were bemused to see us return so soon and fill up yet another 4 wheel drive with fuel. Same family, same luggage, different car.
At the Kenyan border, an official was kind enough to point out that no only would it cost $50 per person to enter Tanzania (as each of our family is required to hold their own British passport, rather than have children listed on the passports of their parents), Ker-ching $250! – but the three British passports I had (at great length) recently renewed, had no Kenya residents/dependants passes inside. Silly me. Having jumped through the most profligate hoops to get the passports up to date (through the British High Commission) and ready for our trip (providing certified photos, cash £200, original birth certificates etc.), I had smugly tossed the old ones into a ‘redundant things’ file and left them at home, without considering that there were no permits in the new ones. Ker-ching $150! – that would be another three visas required to re-enter Kenya, as we were now lacking proper documentation to show that all of us were residents. Sigh. This time, we also remembered to buy the obligatory Tanzanian car insurance for the driving to and around Arusha. We’ve been caught out by local police on this one before.
In spite of a shaky start to our safari, we had an excellent Easter weekend. Pooling together chocolate with our friends in Tanzania, we realised we had a completely sickening number of eggs for our six children, so the night before Easter we four parents decided to eat a packet or two and think it over. After the Easter egg hunt the following morning we told the heavily laden children that they must offer each of the hotel staff an egg from their stash, which they grudgingly did. Much to their disappointment, each member of hotel staff gratefully accepted and soon we were no longer in danger of having vomiting kids in the car journey to
On Monday morning, we waved goodbye to our friends who were setting out on the eight hour drive back home to
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Easter eggs in Dar es Salaam were always scarce. Chocolate generally had a white powdery sort of sheen, and tasted ‘grainy’. I think this was due to the heat, humidity and the chocolate melting in containers at the port, then re chilling in shops (power cuts permitting). Overall; disappointing.
The first year of living in Kenya I was thrilled to see a fantastic array of chocolate eggs in the shops, but in my wisdom, I decided to buy mine ‘nearer the time’. Unfortunately, the week before Easter they were all but sold out. We missed out on delights such as cream eggs and ended up with a few lower quality eggs with the familiar grainy taste.
Last year, on a whim, we decided to drive down to the Kenya coast for Easter weekend. First mistake ‘drive’; the nine hour drive each way for a three nights was far too much; second mistake; Eastertime at the coast is the hottest and most humid time of year, which we knew full well but decided to ignore this as the fear of ‘doing nothing’ at home was worse.
I thought that a small tin ‘Winnie the pooh’ bucket with two small choc eggs, some mini marshmallows, colouring pencils and note pad for each child would be sufficient, with a treasure hunt to find them including Easter bunny clues. This, I thought, would neatly sidestep problems transporting too much melty chocolate and of staying in a place with no fridge. As a result, last year Easter was a unmitigated damp squib. The baby was sick. We forgot to write Easter bunny clues until just before the search, so as a result we got comments like; ‘why are these clues written in Daddy’s writing?’ immediately. We were all sweating copiously, hot and irritable. My eldest daughter discovered that the bucket was in fact empty and the sweets were balanced on top of a clear plastic cover. She also commented; ‘Winnie the Pooh is a bit babyish’ and ‘I’ve never had an Easter where I’ve finished all the sweets before lunchtime’. In addition, my husband was cross because he didn’t get any chocolate. When we got home, I envisaged re doing the Easter hunt, saying ‘Oh look, the Easter bunny came here by mistake, he didn’t know we had gone away’ – but could I find a single chocolate egg in the Nairobi shops? Could I hell!
This year I’ve stocked up good and early and we are off on safari to Northern Tanzania, where the clement highlands climate is sympathetic to Easter eggs. My latest stress is what kind of chocolate gifts to give the staff to take home to their kids? Eggs, or will little foil covered bunny faces do? Or should I get more for my money and give double the number of chocolate éclairs instead? I think I’ve settled on bunny faces, but do I have enough to go round?
(p.s. our gardener and nanny who live in the same street were up all last night whilst a gang ran riot and turned over their local shop, probably looking for some Easter money – so you can see that even poorer areas suffer from crime and not just the expats – it’s a universal problem)
Sunday, April 01, 2007
I had some weird verruca thing on my eye that needed removing under local anaesthetic and the doctor convinced me to remove four moles at the same time. It would have been six, but I didn’t fancy my whole face being covered in small white plasters (I’m too vain!).
I know that the government are trying to stamp out medical tourism in England, but seriously, if you can’t get free NHS treatment – to all you medical tourists out there – I recommend Kenya! Nurses are so friendly, doctors and surgeons are top class, hospitals spotless and if you choose the hospital carefully they often have state of the art equipment too! My blood pressure was taken with a clever computer that also measured pulse and ecg, and after watching some television, and thirty minutes on the operating table with a hugely experienced plastic surgeon, I finished up with a lovely cup of tea and a croissant.
In England I’ve been charged £125 for three children’s vaccinations by the NHS when they would only have cost me £50 here. I’ve had NHS tests done where results have been promised after two to three weeks, then when I phoned to enquire after the allocated (very long) time, have been informed that ‘samples’ have been lost and tests never carried out. Here you can find out if you have malaria, dysentery or bilharzia in ten minutes.
This was the third surgery I’ve had in East Africa. The first was in Tanzania shortly after arrival eight years ago and I must confess, it was a bit weird. Dressed in a tunic, sheet wrapped around my waist and shower cap on, I was kicked off the operating theatre table when they discovered I had had a glass of water that morning. (silly me, I was not properly ‘au fait’ with the muslim concept of ‘fasting’). After shuffling back to the ward in shame, having seriously inconvenienced the medical staff, I sat about for further hour and a half waiting for the water to digest. Afterwards, whilst coming around from the general anaesthetic, a nursing sister leant over me and said ‘pole sana’ (very sorry). After I managed a wan smile her face turned a bit fierce ‘you must say asante sana!’ (ie. thank you very much!). Hmm, mental note; must learn Swahili.
The second was an appendectomy in Nairobi. This time, as if to make up for past experiences, a pathetic stream of very poor pigeon Swahili was unstoppably pouring from my mouth as I lost consciousness. I’m sure the anaesthetist was relieved when I finally shut up.
The Nairobi birth of our third baby who decided to emerge backwards at breakneck speed, compared very favourably to that of my sister’s child who had to be born on the ward in her local UK hospital, due to delivery rooms being fully occupied.
Anyway, our local newly built Karen hospital offers boob jobs and tummy tucks for a fraction of the prices charged in the western world. A couple of people have actually undergone these procedures and been very happy with the results! So to those looking for cut price medical treatment, try the developing world! You might be pleasantly surprised.