Screaming children, 600 greenbacks and skin tax
for the past week some family of mary’s have come down from northern kenya and have been staying with us in the house. they have been living in probably one of the worst places in kenya – the kakuma refugee camp. So it has been nice to offer them a place to stay for a few days and relax and get away from the craziness of that other place.
the only thing is that those children know how to make lots of noise. the whole day.:)
so two complaints about Nairobi:
1. It seems anyone is happy to rob you blind. We had an electrician in our house the other day to do some work and have the suspicion that either he or the man he was working with walked off with 600 USD in cash. It mysteriously disappeard after they visited our home. That kinda hurt and really really pissed me off. We thought the money was well hidden and not in a very conspicuous (sp?) location. guess we were the stupid ones.
2. It seems anyone is happy to rob you in front of your face. I have to take Mary with me everywhere to negotiate the price of a thing. Two problems here is that when they see me, the want to charge alot. It seems to be a skin tax. I am a westerner, therefore I have lots of money and can afford to pay 5 times the asking price of a thing. At least this is what I imagine runs through their minds when they see me. Yesterday we had a man come and fill up our water tank. It was supposed to cost the equivalent of 15 dollars. Then he saw me come out of the house to watch. At the end his price changed to 20 dollars. This sort of thing happens about 3 or 4 times daily. Anywhere that we have to negotiate the price of a thing before buying it. If Mary asks before they realize I am with her, the price of the thing is reasonable. If they realize I am with Mary, they try to push it up. I know it shouldn’t bother me so much, but sometimes I get really frustrated with the attitude and approach. plus i don’t want to spend the money:)
1/6/2006 @ 02:41 am
Hi Rob, welcome to the real (my) world, your comments and frustration makes me no surprise. People are people everywhere no matter where they live, they act the same way of the human nature with very fine line of deference between the nations. As soon as they find you are a brand new person in the town, the human nature of action will be change and the brain and the body will produce deferent chemicals to able to act other than normal. That is up to each personâ€™s passion of introduction and we may be frazzled a while. Unless and until you find a group of people to hangout or actually live with the comfort. I am very sure you will adapt the way of life and the African humor :). Even if you go to New York as long as you act as New Yorker its fine, the fortune left you alone, once they notice you are from out side, then the attitude will be change and you may have to face the consequences. I have seen many and I met some uncivilized people too, when I was in Cleveland OH, a Taxi driver literally robbed me $30 instead $10. In Baltimore, they sold me $100 camera for $300. In West Indies was looted by the car mechanics of course in my lucky days rescued by the local friends, In Guyana you cant even imagine the circumstances, but in other hand I have met wonderful and most kind and affectionate peoples in the world, some situations nothing to do with money nonetheless the attitude is very arrogant and intolerable. though I donâ€™t blame them because thatâ€™s the way they live, in fact most of them never been out side of the city or state, besides the business men want to make more profit with short time, and some they want to show you the way of life style, So we have to deal with the life style. I am very sure you will do much better, I suggest always go with Mary moreover two minds are better than one and what they say the women is the best shopper in the world than Men. I believe so
1/6/2006 @ 04:05 am
Hey Rob —
I am with you on the children and noise issue…I love kids … but being a bachelor have gotten used to not having them and the attendant noise level around…am always a bit surprised when I get around a few young children just how noisy it can get…
It would be interesting to know if Mary would experience a “skin tax” issue if y’all were here — or would it be more simple communication issues due to vocal accent differences…
If possible down the road you really should bring Mary stateside for at least a visit…