If you have thought Chinese are here for their famous “loans –for-resources” business only, maybe you will be interested to know that there is more to it than that. Not that that it is bad for the Chinese to be here. Everyone agrees that they are a hard working lot who are doing much to modernize Kenya’s infrastructure. But there are the aspects that have appalled not just Kenyans but also citizens of other countries as well.
In Kenya, we have three main complaints – poaching our precious elephants, racist inclinations, and over flooding the country with unskilled labor that is taking up jobs that locals can handle.
The good news is that the Chinese themselves are learning fast. In Nairobi, the young generations are picking up Kiswahili and reportedly integrating with Kenyan populations. They indeed see as ridiculous, their parents who have lived for years in the country and do not know Kiswahili.
And they are also taking up the fight against poaching.
These are positive developments, but you may say, they do not answer the question as to why Chinese are flocking into Kenya. To do that, I will quote a young Chinese woman who was interviewed by a Chinese journalist in Nairobi. As she is nameless in the story, she will remain nameless here too, She came to Kenya to join her husband who is working in the country. Let’s pick the story from the Chinese journalist:
“She’s from a small town near Zhengzhou, a smoggy city in the North, ‘not a very good place’ she describes it. Of her life in Kenya, she mainly talks about the benefits of raising her children here
“‘The air and food are much better. I can see my kids are much healthier since living here’. This is a common answer I hear from Chinese living here.
“According to a study by Berkerley Earth, an independent research group, air pollution kills an average of 4,000 people a day in China whilst industrial and soil contamination leads to high food security threats.
“She’s not so interested in cultural exchange, however, whether it’s with Kenyans or Chinese from other cities. Having rarely traveled outside of her small town near Zhengzhou, Kenyan culture is a world away as she even struggles to socialize with Chinese who are not from her same city.”
I may add also that the journalist counted about 10 Chinese languages spoken in Nairobi by Chinese who didn’t Mandarin, the national language of China, and therefore cannot communicate with each other.