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Interview with Rajeev Kalita - An Indian expat living in Kenya

Updated 24 Aug 2012

Rajeev Kalita is an Indian expat living in Kenya. He moved to the town of Kisumu to pursue a career as a Branch Sales Manager for Crown Paints Kenya Ltd. He enjoys the calm and peaceful nature of Kisumu, which is located on the banks of Lake Victoria, and offers some great advice about weekend breaks from the city.

Read more expat experiences in Kenya

About Rajeev

Rajeev Kalita - An Indian expat in KenyaQ: Where are you originally from? 

A: India

Q: Where are you living now? 

A:  Milimani suburb of Kisumu, Kenya

Q: How long have you lived in Kenya? 

A:  1.5 years

Q: Did you move with a spouse/children? 

A:  No

Q: Why did you move to Kenya; what do you do?

A:  Because of good career opportunities, currently working with Crown Paints Kenya Ltd. as a Branch Sales Manager.

About Kisumu

Q: What do you enjoy most about Kisumu, how’s the quality of life? 

A:  Kisumu as a city is calm, peaceful, located on the banks of Lake Victoria. Compared to the quality of life in India I wouldn’t say it is on par, but at the same time someone coming to work in Africa should also come with a certain amount of flexibility and adaptability to get in tune with the way of life here.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home? 

A:  Nothing as such.

Q: Is Kisumu safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

A: Yes the city is safe; but unlike any city there are some areas like Condele that should be avoided after dark.

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Kenya? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?  

Public transport is not up to the mark. One needs to own a car for convenient travelling.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Kisumu?

A:  Health care is quite up to the mark; institutions like Agha Khan Hospital offer good health care services.

About living in Kenya

Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Kisumu as an expat?

A:  The best suburb in Kisumu is Milimani, located close to Lake Victoria.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Kisumu?

A: The standard of housing is quite good. In cities like Nairobi it is more of clustered expat accommodations, but not the same in Kisumu; here one will find more scattered accommodations where expats and locals live side by side or within the same estate or apartment buildings.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A:  A duplex in Milimani would cost somewhere around 40 k rent per month which is quite low as compared to Nairobi. Compared to India household goods and groceries are a bit expensive.

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

A:  The locals are very friendly and accommodative.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A:  Oh Yes It Was. The best places to meet expats and locals are at community events or clubs and pubs. Especially in the whole of Western Kenya the Indian community has been settled here for so long they have their community centres and clubs which is a good meeting place.

About working in Kenya

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit for Kenya?

A:  No. My company sponsored this.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Kenya, is there plenty of work?

A: Tea plantation and manufacturing, sugar industries, agriculture and fishery are the main economic activities.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A: A bit slow and laid back compared to India.  

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move? 

A:  No. It was arranged by my employer.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?

A:  Kisumu is a nice place for a weekend visit. Places worth visiting are Kiboko Bay, Yatch Club and Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Eldoret which is a two-hour drive from Kisumu has a vibrant nightlife; Spree Club and Mama Mias are some of the best in town. Another one hour drive from Eldoret there is a beautiful resort called Kerio View overlooking the Rift Valley. For avid golfers there are golf courses with accommodation in Kisumu, Kitale, Kericho and Eldoret. For bird lovers there is the Kakamega forest.

~ Interviewed August 2012

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