I’m not homeless anymore. Thanks to the Nairobi Expat Housing Facebook group, I live with a very kind, British housemate, Dave, who posted an ad for our beautifully furnished, decorated home with a large, gorgeous garden within a gated compound in a good neighborhood. Richmond Court is a 10-minute, 20-shilling matatu ride to the office. Rent is only double that of my old place (“shack”), which is affordable considering wifi, electricity, running water and a weekly maid service are included. There’s even a friendly dog that hangs out outside. Many people were interested in living there, so God must’ve answered my prayers to touch Dave’s heart after my interview. I was in a bad place before. But now, I have only one worry, for lack of a better word. I’m adjusting to him asking how my day went. He cares. It feels like I have family. It feels strange, but good.
Although I’m finally living comfortably, I’ve been singing “I’ll be home for Christmas” nearly every day since October. I’m so Dorothy Gale. I feel particularly homesick today. Journalism ethics aside, Obama won and that’s great. God bless the USA. I just wish I were in Minnesota, celebrating with loved ones. But I will be home for Christmas; from 10 December to 2 January to be exact. My salary is still ridiculously low, so my company is loaning me money for the plane ticket. I’m essentially working for free for the next few months in order to be with my family who I haven’t seen in one year, two months and seven days. Worth it?
We’ll see how much longer I’ll last with being broke. When I was in South Africa last week, an agency offered me a job in Nigeria that would triple my current salary. Don’t be surprised that I can’t easily accept. My company paid for my $6,000 work permit, so I feel obligated to stay in Kenya for now. But my eyes are open. It was at least encouraging to know that I’m capable of getting another job. In fact, my boss once said that, if I wanted to, I could get a job in Minnesota tomorrow. He said it’d be easy because I’ve been on international television.
My CV is sparkling. I’ve field produced a lot of stories. Although, South Africa was a rushed, messy experience. Unlike in, say, Uganda, people don’t seem to be as flexible with last-minute interviews. Nobody wanted to talk on the weekend. Every location was far from the next. I wish I’d planned better because more would’ve been accomplished. On a positive note, I bought new clothes and enjoyed South Africa’s beauty. Yet it was difficult to undersand that country. Except for in Rustenburg and Soweto, I didn’t feel like I was in Africa. South Africa was nothing like the other African countries I’ve observed. It felt more like Europe. So, any American who has only ever been to South Africa, and comes home bragging of having deeply experienced Africa, I encourage you to take another trip to, hmm, maybe Kenya? Live our hustle and post a blog about your adventure or something.
I’ve traveled a lot this year. I went to Uganda (twice), Rwanda, Italy and South Africa. I was in Italy on 10th October, when I posted a Facebook status that said, “From office intern to world-travelling journalist. All in one year at A24 Media.” It got more than 100 likes. I’m grateful for the support. I know I look crazy for having moved to Kenya alone on a one-way ticket without a job lined up and around $400 in my account. I often feel crazy. But I’m still on this journalism journey, and it’s proving to be valuable.
Please read this wonderfully written article that shows I’m ambitious rather than a complete nutcase:
Anyway, time is ticking before the holidays and there’s a lot to do at work including planning a trip for Cameroon and Gabon next week. I’m looking forward to working in the western part of the continent. Yet there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…