Raising kids in Kenya
No, this isn’t a mommy blog, but I do get asked from time to time what it’s like raising kids in Kenya. So here goes… For the most part, it’s pretty similar to anywhere else.
You feed them healthy-ish food (sausage and popcorn count, right?); clothe them (shoes are overrated); provide them stimulating activities (re-runs of The Lion King movie until my head explodes); expose them to nature (tell the dogs to chase them around the house); and give them kid-appropriate tasks (like climbing on the roof to clean out the gutters).
But there are a few differences.
We have the benefit of house help, which means there’s one more adult the kids can run to. The kids have to compete with the monkeys for the ripe fruit on our trees. Lions and zebras don’t excite them, but sighting raccoons in Vancouver sent them into spasms of joy as did the large gray squirrels. Those furry critters are WAY more interesting than what we have at home.
They’ve visited rural villages and urban slums, and know that wealth comes in many forms. One of the best forms? One time, we were staying with a family in a village in Western Kenya, and my kids were super impressed the family owned a goat. The lack of electricity and indoor plumbing only added to the wow factor because kerosene lamps and pit latrines are part of the adventure.
Speaking of electricity or lack thereof – the kids learned pretty young how to light a candle and to not open the fridge door when the electricity was off. Bugs and bats don’t bother them, which is a good thing considering we don’t have netting over our windows.
But really, it’s not much different from anywhere else in the world!