Lessons from Kenyans in Sweden

Women whispering — Image by © Image Source/Corbis

I recently clocked four months here in Gothenburg, Sweden.

How is it so far? Have I made new friends?

Yes, I have. But, making new friends is not a walk in the park and especially if you are looking for your fellow countrymen.

Here are the do’s and don’ts when you if you are planning to move to the Vikings land mingle with the Kenyan community.

Sorry Canaan, I’m moving to Estonia

Don’t be desperate

Kenyans in Gothenburg are very careful with whom they let into their circles.

So careful that if they hear that you are looking for them they might camouflage until they have studied you and know that you mean no harm. If you are desperate to make new friends then try elsewhere. Everyone is watching their back so it might take a while before they let you in.

Don’t ask questions

Some people may have cycled, swam or even taken a flight to Sweden. You will never know! That’s because they don’t talk about it. And asking too many questions might cost you a potential bestfriend. Don’t ask how many cats they have, if their boss is married or if they have spoken to their Kenyan pastor lately. Stop. That’s not your business. Just introduce yourself if necessary and if they like you, they will tell you their name. Ukome na ukome kabisa!

Don’t gossip!

Just because you think it does not mean you should speak it. People are understandably paranoid about gossips and if a gossipper is spotted, an emergency alert is sent out immediately. Personally, I like talking about my embarrassing moments to break the ice and keep conversations going.

So what if you are rich?

No one wants to hear about your achievements. Whether you live in a castle or drive a Ferrari. Don’t tell not unless they ask you. If it really itches and you can’t keep it to yourself then post it on social media. You will have a better audience there.

Stop talking to people’s spouses

I have always been paranoid about this even when I was in Kenya. Talking to someone’s spouse may creat unnecesary tension. I have also heard stories about husband snatching and sincerly my greatest fear is to ever get caught up in such a situation. Sasa mtu huanzia wapi?

Solitude helps

Being alone doesn’t always mean that you are unhappy. It’s also a good opportunity to find yourself. Take time to meet people from other countries too. Balance!

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