15 Things Kenyans Miss Most When We Go Abroad

It is so exciting to go abroad but sometimes you get homesick because things are not quite the same as they are at home.

There is nothing as exciting as taking that plane out of Kenya for the first time. But when you have to stay in another country for a long time especially in Europe or the US you get to realize that you miss the little things you used to take for granted. The little things we might perceive as non-important or ordinary resemble gold to when one is outside the country.

As much as we all sometimes dream of living in the posh cities of other countries, there’s always a yearning to come back home and enjoy the things that are familiar & safe to you.

Here are some of the things that Kenyans miss dearly about home

1.Family and friends

The unending love of our mothers, the fact that our siblings are able to get on our every last nerve, the way our dads read the paper at arm’s length and our grandmothers who over stuff us with a traditional meal over 3 stones that taste so good even with the smoky flavour.  These are some of the things we might take for granted but dearly miss when we’re away from them. The fact that you can drop into your mother’s house without an appointment and she will feed you until you drop can make you miss home terribly.


2. The Sunny weather

Compared to weather in other countries where they have seasons of cold and heat, we have beautiful weather that doesn’t change much over the year! Let us not even mention the way the sun comes out in the west but it is freezing cold outside. So next time the sun comes up, gloriously soak it in.


3. The vibrant party scene and party food

Kenyans love partying (not as much as Ugandans lol) but we have a very vibrant nightlife with the added advantage of those sausages, boiled eggs, fried chicken gizzards and mshikakis being sold outside clubs which one must take as part of a roll call before or after entering the club.


4. Our beautiful natural scenery

Driving down the coast or up the Rift Valley gives us a sense of pride and the magical scenery always blows away our minds. Kenya is beautiful and sometimes we take it for granted.

Image: F Hiebig

5. Speaking Kiswahili, sheng and mother tongue.

Nothing makes Kenya feel like home like the freedom of speaking Sheng and Kiswahili, no matter how broken it may be. Or hearing your parents or relatives talking to you in your mother tongue.

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6. The availability of fruits and vegetables everywhere

The presence of tropical fresh fruits all year round, especially now that mango season is upon us is a blessing in disguise that most Kenyans don’t know of. The fact that we can buy fruits and vegetables at the back of pickup trucks at ridiculously cheap prices is but one of Kenya’s unique blessings.


7. Ugali and Sukuma wiki

The simplest of meals, ugali and Sukuma, which we might take for granted is a meal that most Kenyans abroad can take over a bag of McDonalds. Almost everyone I know who visits the country from abroad wants to carry over 20 kilos of Unga to take back.


8. Homemade products

Kenyan brewed tea, Chapatis, Royco, Kuku Kienyeji, mutura, Farmers Choice Sausages, Smokie Pasua, Unga… need I say more? By the way the meat doesn’t taste the same like the way it does back home. Our meat is full of flavor and one can get bored of the tasteless meat found in the west.


9. Bargaining

Haggling is in our blood, we can’t deny it, and moving to a country where you can’t bargain is a big financial adjustment for most. Kenyans abroad miss how they would talk their way out of paying a substantial amount for a  certain item due to the fixed price.


10 The extremely cheap cost of getting your hair done

Compared to hair salons in other countries, it can cost you up to 200 dollars just to cut your hair while it can take you just about Kshs 700 to get your braids done in a record on 2 hours at Kenyatta Market! And a shave is only like Ksh. 200 at your local barber.


11. Weekends full of rugby, beer and choma

Imagine biting into that succulent piece of nyama choma paired with ugali and some nicely done kachumbari after a game of rugby with your friends, now imagine not eating that for months or even years. Sucks, right?

12. The coastal beaches

Attractions like the white sandy beaches in Mombasa, blue waters as far as the eyes can see in Kilifi, the array of Swahili dishes and donkey rides in Lamu and the beautiful warm weather that tourists all over the world come to enjoy and we have them in our back yard, pretty cool right?


13. River Road and its endless possibilities

You can find anything on River Road and I mean anything! From clothes to spare parts to mobile phones to corrupted papers, it’s like a mini shopper’s paradise where anything and everything can be found there.

14. The kiosk and mama mboga around the corner

We also love the fact that we can buy milk or matchboxes at a shop three minutes away from our homes unlike in other countries where you have to go to a supermarket for such. And that mama mboga who will also sell you vegetables just outside your estate. And the fact that she will cut them up for you is just awesome.

15. Having a helper/nanny

When you are in the west you have to do everything yourself unless you have electric gadgets to do the job. It can be very expensive taking care of kids as having a nanny is very expensive and so is daycare. One parent may have to stay home to watch the kids. You also have to come home and cook …and clean … Basically, we have it good here. Even other things that you take for granted like having a tailor, cobbler, a painter around is not something you take for granted abroad. Labour is expensive and most things are yourself (DIY) which works if you are good at doing that stuff but if you are not …


Have you lived abroad? What did you miss about Kenya?