I wish I could continue, but I can’t, because this is where it ends for the Kenyan middle class. Where do they go from here? We are at a point where the government needs to start making some serious decisions about the overall direction of this country. Infrastructure development, decentralization from Nairobi, and expansion of public universities are all topics that need to be further discussed. Until corruption is brought under control and the country is given direction, there lacks the seemingly continuous level of opportunity found in other parts of the world.
I wish people would use their money to help each other out more, but the notion of volunteerism is still too foreign for this noveau riche. Literally, it’s associated only with foreigners. I cannot blame a people who themselves have only recently risen above the average not wanting to immediately part with their funds. The notion of disposable income vs. long-term savings is also alien. Some people are starting to implement mid-term savings for large items like motorbikes and computers but beyond that and I still get laughed at for bringing up the topic.
One topic that does come up is the notion of sending children overseas. Some teachers and others have approached me about that, and there has been enough sponsorship in this country that it’s not a foreign concept, though usually it is for paying for secondary school and not university. Only the very wealthy can afford to send their children overseas on their own dime, and thus many other families must seek sponsorhip.
In the end though, the middle class here is comfortable, having access to sustainable food and shelter and regular disposable income, just like every other middle class in every other country. The focus must now be on creating opportunities that allow the disposable income to be usefully injected back into the overall Kenyan economy so that the whole nation can begin to prosper, and it is this that is not happening effectively enough.