Who would have dreamed that Kenya could spiral into chaos with such brutal speed. British expats here have previously been accused by outsiders of ‘living in a bubble’ and possibly rightly so, but now the bubble has undoubtedly burst with images of youths marauding on city streets, looting and burning anything in their wake, attacking one another over a ‘free and fair’ democratic election that was somehow manipulated by ham-fisted political big guns.
Previously expat housewives like me were concerned mainly with running kids to school, doing a little gentle exercise at the nearby club and cruising around shopping and seeing friends. So confident were we of our comfortable life here, that we sold our London flat just before the Northern Rock crisis and were thrilled to have had the opportunity to pile all that money into buying a four bedroom 1930s grey stone house in Nairobi that sits on five acres of land. We congratulated ourselves on our excellent timing as we watched the UK economy wobble, whilst in Kenya it was booming.
In answer to a latest comment re: are Nairobi businesses operating today? Some offices are open but businesses in town will remain closed because of the rally today.
Our story is not dissimilar to many other expatriates in our neighbourhood who, in 2007, took advantage of new favourable interest rates offered on mortgages in local and foreign currency, and too the plunge by investing in personal property here. We were supposed to be travelling to the coast tomorrow to spend a couple of nights in a hotel. Quite apart from the embassy advice not to travel unless strictly necessary, I don’t think I could lie on a sun lounger at the moment while our future in Kenya hangs by a thread and more pertinently when 70,000 Kenyan people are internally displaced and others flooding over the border to Uganda, fearing for their lives.