01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: The march of progress.... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The march of progress....

Nairobi is a dry dust bowl these days however it seems that there’s been lots of rain everywhere outside the capital. Naivasha is green, in Western Kenya it's raining non-stop and I heard on the news yesterday that in Nakuru last weekend it was raining fish!!

The ICC are in town. Local newspapers are apparently revelling in the fact that their presence, conducting local investigations into the causes of post election violence, is sending ripples of panic amongst Kenya’s political classes.

We've decided to take the plunge - literally, and have a swimming pool built in our garden. It seems rash, I know. I wondered why the quotations we got for building it were so much less than the cost of having a pool installed in England - that is, until yesterday, when the workmen arrived, their only equipment being shovels, wheelbarrows and a ball of string.

The pool is not going to be big - just family size and we resisted the expensive lap over edges, eternity rims etc etc. It’ll be a 10 x 5 metre rectangle. Anyway, we hope it will be a good investment. One problem is that at the moment our five year old keeps asking to be excused from swimming at school. When I asked why, I got the exasperated response,

'Because it's not HEATED Mum!'

We are now considering the addition of a couple of solar panels.  I also lay awake the other night worrying that the children are all now bound to get skin cancer.

When I describe our pool plans to my friend, she says,
'So it'll just be a little plunge pool then?'
My patience is wearing thin;
'No, it'll be a perfectly serviceable sized swimming pool!’
‘But you won’t be able to do lengths in it?’

The problem is that people's expectations have got so high. The bar has been raised.  Houses in our area have got so much smarter; in fact, it's hard not to buckle under pier pressure. It used to be the case that expats made do with grotty, dark, rented bungalows and that was great. We were all on the same level playing field.  Up until recently only Kenyans and white Kenya cowboys owned their houses - which were also small, dark and grotty, but located very on large patches of land. Now the bits of land are being split up and sold off piecemeal, the tatty bungalows pulled down and every Tom Dick and Harry (like us) can own something, funds permitting.

I love our house but I've lived with my grotty, windowless kitchen for nearly 8 years now and up until now it's been fine ....sort of (I have grown used to whinging about it but at the same time doing nothing). However, now we have complexes of gargantuan town houses packed together with swimming pools and gyms on our doorstep and friends who have bought an acre or two and are busily building fantasy homes, LA style. Guided tours through friends' brand new houses replete with multiple ensuite bathrooms, huge, American style kitchens, dressing rooms, studies, snugs and space, space, space, does eventually wear you down.

Anyway, enough about the green eyed monster. Our ‘plunge’ pool is a very exciting prospect though I do have a feeling that building it may take quite some time.... I imagine this won't be the last you hear about it!

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