Help with Africa homesick blues

Dec 7th, 2007, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 771
Nyamera, how did I get a job like that? Persistence is all I can say, and maybe badgering every acquaintance I ever made in Africa who might be able to help ..... and a Dream to make it happen, it took over two years of sending emails every month asking for a 'foot in the door' as we had no relevant experience. Eventually we were in the right place at the right time and they needed someone very quickly, my husband jumped on a plane from Australia with only 3 days notice and no definite job offer. I stayed behind and gave a months notice on my job and finalised things at home. We took a chance to live our dream and it worked - well mostly - and that's what I want to write a book about, throwing in the corporate life and living in a tent in Africa.
Bwino is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Very cool, Bwino!
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Bwino, I’m so jealous I’m speechless. I must have the wrong African acquaintances. Everybody is badgering me about helping him or her (mostly him) to come to my boring country. And, in Kenya, everybody is badgering everybody else about jobs, so it doesn’t feel right to ask people if they can help me, but I do it anyway. Maybe it would be easier if I had a corporate life to throw in. How did you get a work permit??? I’ll definitely buy your book.
Nyamera is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 33

Since there are millions like me in Africa, should I get a ghost writer? Just curious, but where in Africa did they design the Internet?(; My 2c:
I think Bwino is right. When we took a balloon ride in the Mara, the pilot was a single guy from England. With the motivation and persistence, it can be done. The question is: do you really want to? Furthermore, if you don't really need the money, it's quite simple. What stops you from buying a property and going into the wildlife business? Personally, I love Africa but for visiting, not for calling home. Fodors is fantasy so I indulged in mine for a moment. After all, vacations are just that, a brief escape from reality and daily life.
Finally,life is a buddy buddy system, is it not?
bearable is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 05:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi Hari

No I leave a week today, and will gameviewing a week tomorrow! It was so late I was getting myself confused!

See you in January!

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Hi Kaye,

Will be travelling next week, so here's wishing you happy gameviewing in advance ....

Yes, see you in january.

HariS is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 11:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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'Bearable' is right about throwing it all in and going to live in Africa - "Do you really want to". For us YES! but it is not for everyone who thinks they want to to do it. We traded our own home for no mortgage payments, electricity bills or phone bills, we took a 95% drop in salary in return for living in a game park and all that came with it. We do not have much money at all, we certainly could not buy a lodge or a property of our own as suggested. We sacrificed a lot but we did it willingly and do not regret it. Nyamera - our employer helped us with our work permit, some countries are easier than others. Once we got there we helped the local villagers and our staff in every way we could - it was very rewarding. As I said we don't have money we were just willing to live our dream and hope to keep doing it; it just requires sacrifices to be made. Have a look at a website called
Bwino is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 03:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Bearable, I didn’t know that you designed the Internet. In your post I just read that you’d do almost any job for almost nothing. I suspected you were joking about working for food, but thought you were serious about wanting to live in Africa. I am. I ‘m not 100% sure what the “buddy buddy system” means. Do you mean I’d have to pair up with an African helping him to live in my country before expecting someone to help me find a way to live in Kenya? It looks difficult as I don’t have the connections to be able to find anyone a job and I’m not rich enough to support a husband – and definitely not to “buy property and go into the wildlife business”.

Bwino, thanks for the website. I’ve seen it before and there aren’t any jobs for people without relevant experience. It actually looks like some are looking for “expats”. In countries with no labour shortage it certainly has an un-pleasant neo-colonial stench, but I’m prepared to hold a leleshwa leaf to my nose. In Kenya it’s forbidden to give a work permit for a job that a Kenyan could do to a foreigner, but I think it happens anyway. There’s a possibility to work as a seasonal guide for tour operators from countries where people speak languages that not that many Kenyans know – not what I’d want to do, but it would be “getting a foot in the door”- but they actually prefer to employ people that are even less qualified than I am. I’ll continue emailing them though. I agree with Bearable that “with the motivation and persistence, it can be done”, but not that the question is “do you really want to?”
Nyamera is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 33

To begin with, I tip my proverbial hat to Bwino. The only thing that holds us back from following our dreams is insecurity and the fear of the unknown. That said, these things are easier to do when young and with fewer responsibilities. (If you do not fall into the mortgage and kids trap)
I flew into Nairobi and spent a day with a buddy from school days. I am no stranger to poverty (the slums along Nairobi river and the young prostitutes in downtown Nairobi) and understand the realities of making a living in Africa. In Kenya, everything has a price just as the lawyers here.
To clarify what I said earlier, Africa should be easy if you do not need the income. What holds me back is that during my safari, I never really felt secure. (Tanzania was better than Kenya). There is the language barrier too.
But if I really wanted to live there, I would start with some of the private lodges and take it from there. The Ngorongoro Sopa recruits folks from India for some positions. What is important is the skill set needed for a job rather than the number of unqualified candidates to fill it.
Last but not the least, I did not design the Net. I merely contributed to it's ultimate demise (;
bearable is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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The only thing that holds me back is the lack of money and opportunities. I’ve been prepared to stay every time I’ve been to Kenya. I’m not young, but I’m actively avoiding “responsibilities” to be able to leave at a short notice. If I’d just rent a flat and stay on, I’d soon run out of money having to return home without a shilling. Though I would have a fear even if I found a job, and that would be to lose it and not be able to return home because of the fear of the known and that way ending up living in the slums. I spent almost 14 years of my youth holding on to a rotten life on sunny shores, so I know what I’m capable of. The Kenyan equivalent of the lifestyle I had in that country would be life threatening. Poverty is the only thing worth fearing in Africa and without it life is very sweet (I think). I actually think I’ll find a way to live a life of privilege in Kenya.

Now I want to read Bwino’s book.
Nyamera is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Just to finish off on this thread for me, we are not young, I am early 40's and my husband late 30's, as I said we ditched the mortgage; we don't have children so that certainly gives us a lot of freedom. We worked for US$1000 per month for the two of us; our accommodation and food was supplied. We do not have a house to go home to nor a nest egg for the future but we do have each other. I really do plan to try an put a book together about the expereince; I think a lot of people would be interested in the story. I had a lot of notes on my laptop which was stolen and I am having trouble with Symantec in retrieving my backup so I basically had to start again from memory. Once I have finished a good draft I will try to find a publisher - that will be the difficult part. Follow your dreams and try not to be frightened about what might happen, just be excited about the unknown. Life is a game and none of us are getting out of it alive, play well.
Bwino is offline  
Dec 9th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Bwino, what are you doing now? If you’ve bought a new laptop you must have a better salary now, or not? Still in Africa? Your story sounds so much more interesting than the “we sold our business and big house and bought an olive grove in Greece”-style. It irritates me when people who can afford to buy their dream and do it are treated as heroes. People who find opportunities that they couldn’t afford to buy are so much more interesting.
I’d definitely work for $500 a month plus food and accommodation in a national park – I think it would be enough to buy sun screen, clothes and cosmetics - but in Nairobi it would be like being buried alive, not being able to afford visiting parks and not even being “allowed” to complain as the majority of Kenyans live on less. I’d probably do it anyway if I had a chance. I used to live on that kind of money after paying the rent (less really, but it was some years ago) and in a not very stimulating environment. I’m late 30’s and have never had a house, but if money set aside for a trip to Kenya is a nest egg, I’m incubating one at the moment. I hope it’s an investment.

Nyamera is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Nyamera, do you want to talk on private email?
Bwino is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Oh yes, definitely! My address is sannasusathotmaildotcom. I’ll be extremely busy until 21 December, but I’ll have to write to you anyway.
Nyamera is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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bwino~were you and your husband managing a camp in South Luangwa? Your story sounds familiar and if you are who I think you are...hope all is well. This is Dennis from Hawaii. If it's not you, well hello anyway!
matnikstym is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 04:23 PM
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bwino-it is you! went back and read some of your posts. ALOHA and Happy Holidays! Hope everything is going well in Mauritius...write me!
matnikstym is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 09:41 PM
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Hey Dennis, great to hear from you, will send an email soon. Yes we are in Mauritius and I am trying to work on the book.

Nyamera, will send you a private email soon.
Bwino is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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Shellcat, have you posted photos or any details of your trip anywhere? I would love to hear/see more about your trip. <)
CarlaM is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Posts: 195

I have not as there is always so much to read on here to start with. Thank you for your interest, it was a fabulous trip that I am still not over. One of our Rotary exchange students is from South Africa, and after hearing him speak at dinner Friday night, it was almost like being there. But not quite.

Good news, if you happened to see my comment about raising funds to bring a girl from Zimbabwe here on a Rotary youth exchange-we raised $5000 at our Christmas party toward that goal. A portion of these funds will help her come to America in 2008-09. She still needs $2000 if anyone wants to help.

My trip started with one of the infamous Zulu Nyala trips. Then, I was fortunate to hook up with Paul Swart of Natural Migrations who planned the rest of the trip.

We started at Rattray's/Mala Mala and then went to Ballito on a condo/house exchange. This town on the Indian Ocean just north of Durban is a great place to visit for a small scale break in between safaris. I then spent one day at Zula Nyala and went back to Cape Town for three. Lucked out on the weather and did the rock climbing (down) adventure off the top of Table Mountain. Worth the wait and the hike back up. Africa Cafe was really good, the bar at the Cape Grace for excellent Kinglip fish and chips and all the tours outstanding.

From there we went to Botswana for six days, three at King's Pool and three at Mombo Camp. Paul used to work at Mombo Camp, so was able to get us in there. Incredible animal viewing, especially the two month old lion cubs, and elephants. Worth every extra cent. Great guide in Alex, and Lizzie is a super camp host.

Finally, the trip ended up at Vic Falls. I am glad we went, but for a next trip, I would stay in the bush longer. However, had I missed the elephant outreach program-the Zimbabwe girl may not have gotten closer to reaching her dream. It was there I met her uncle, a fellow Rotarian in Zambia who asked us how to he could raise money in his club to help her. I challenged a fellow Rotarian to my left-and between us, the money will happen.

What a great last morning that elephant back safari turned out to be. For more than just the girl. It has been a nice way to keep a connection to Africa in the process.

I am looking forward to Kaye's animal report from Mala Mala. I am sure it will be terrific based on last week's sightings diary. Right from the start, our trip was just like most other peoples, life-changing and a constant need to go back.
ShellCat is offline  
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