01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Social Stereotype:- 4. The Kenya Cowgirl 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Social Stereotype:- 4. The Kenya Cowgirl

It is a leap of faith doing the Kenya Cowgirl – my husband has tried to warn me off writing this one as he fears I may get lynched in the local supermarket, or have someone tip a glass of red wine over me in our local restaurant – but hey, caution to the wind, here goes and please, no one be tempted to take offence!...

‘Karen the Kenya Cowgirl has lived here all her life. Her parents own an extensive ranch upcountry which they have turned over to game conservation and ‘top end’ tourism. Clients who visit the ranch are treated to a truly luxurious and pampered holiday with almost exclusive reign over the ranch/conservation area which almost justifies the $1,000 per head per night rack rate – oh and apparently Prince William has also stayed there.

Karen has had a rather jet set life schooling first in Nairobi (her parents took a house in town for a few years at this point, commuting up to the ranch by private plane during weekends and holidays), then on to a well known girls convent in the UK home counties. All this travelling and an unconventional upbringing have made Karen a very confident and ‘can do’ person. She got married comparatively young to fellow ‘KC’ called ‘Kip’ who is a professional pilot and drives a Harley Davidson. Together they have two young blonde kids; Tarot and Tana, who in their own way are rather a handful (thank goodness for the ayah!).

Money can be slightly tight living on a pilot’s salary, so Karen has diversified into creating very fashionable clothes and accessories out of masai beads, Indian sari fabrics and local leather (though she has had to import better quality suede on occasion). All of these are fabricated by a team of local ‘fundis’ who work from the garden of her house and a few are exported to UK and circulated via her old school chum network. All items are priced in dollars and go down quite well with the tourists who visit Mum and Dad’s ranch.

Karen can often be seen trailing her ayah and barefoot children around the local supermarket with a mobile phone clamped to her ear, buying up camembert cheese, wine and imported goods with astoundingly efficiency. She drives an old, beaten up Range Rover. Don’t be fooled by her slightly unkempt appearance; long un brushed hair, multicoloured full mini skirt, knee high leather boots, spaghetti strapped vest top or kaftan and fur gilet as you’ll find it’s a carefully styled look that’s in keeping with her many and varied young friends who conveniently all live in the same suburb of Nairobi, similarly have young children and are for the most part artists, film makers, journalists and conservationists. She loves entertaining and having friends to stay.

Karen won’t hear a negative word said against living in Kenya and tends to steer clear of whinging expats and two year wonders (unless of course they are buying something in her ‘boutique’ shop). Her dream is to own a ‘pied a terre’ in London one day, when the kids are old enough to be at school in UK, but that all depends rather on cash flow. However, Karen is sure that somehow she and Kip will find a way of achieving their goal and at this moment Karen is thinking of diversifying into fine art or TV presenting, apparently both options are fairly lucrative and she has some good contacts….’

Next Stereotype: Wendy the incessant expat whinger

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