Monthly Archives: October 2016

Interesting observations about Americans

I’ve been in this beautiful country for slightly over 2 years now and I’ve noticed some things that weren’t very common back in Kenya.

The first is how common buying new cars on credit is. I first noticed this trend when I was in technical school in the bunduz of Texas. Young airmen straight out of high school were buying $ 20,000 cars without a care in the world. That surprised me. Most didn’t have a lot of money or very good credit history but that didn’t stop them. They were getting into a life of debt very early in life. They would be offering rides for gas on base after spending their whole paycheck financing those hot 5 liter engine cars.

The number of car dealerships that were willing to sell to these young airmen surprised me. As I’ve moved to my new base I’ve realized it’s not a young airmen thing but a general culture with the populace. 

There are very many affordable used cars that wouldn’t dent one’s finances that much but I guess I think like a Kenyan who wants to save for a rainy day instead of blowing it all on a 2017 Subaru WRX that will set me back $500-600 a month for years inclusive of comprehensive insurance.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to own a brand new car but you can have a nice car for less and have some change without having to dig yourself deeper into debt.

It’s not uncommon to see people change cars in a short period of time. They just refinance their loans and get the next newer, faster rides and with it becoming financial prisoners of the lending institutions.

Most people swipe credit cards wherever they go but a study I read the other day said a very small population of Americans is capable of raising $1,000 if an emergency arose. 

I guess it’s good having come from a different country with a smaller economy and maybe a different way of doing things.

The other observation is eating out all the time or most of the time. The hospitality industry in this country makes a killing. People have fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not all but the queues you see at fast food joints says a lot about those habits. Dining restaurant’s parking lots are typically full during meal times and especially on the weekends.

I try to avoid the temptations that come with peer pressure. Everyone at work going out for lunch and you head home to make a quick meal. It’s not easy sometimes and it does get expensive when you do the maths. In the end is well worth it.

It’s also unhealthy and this is more evident in my fellow airmen who you see struggle with their physical tests. Bulging waist lines and panting on the track like they are about to collapse. If only they would make changes to their burger and fries choices they’d avoid ‘fat camp’. That’s where they send you if you fail your PT test as we call it. 1.5 mile run, less than 35 inch waist line, 60ish pushups and sit ups is the standard test for the Air Force.

You’d think it would be easy but you’ll be surprised at the number of obese service members.

Those two observations have really stood out since I’ve been in this country.

In other news I’m getting my flying time in and it’s so much fun. I fly twice a week and hopefully should be done with the Private license by early next year.

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Hurricane Matthew

We got hit by the hurricane and lived to tell the story. I was without power for 5 days. The city got flooded and some people have lost their homes which are still submerged. Businesses are counting losses. 

I survived on bread, milk and cereals until I got power back. It had been predicted that Florida, Georgia and South Carolina would get hit by the hurricane. Unfortunately North Carolina got the brunt of it all. 60 mph winds took out trees and with it power lines. 

Interstate highways were closed for days, local roads were closed and some are just reopening. It’s going to be a long road to recovery for a lot of people. 

Losing power back in Kenya courtesy of Kenya Power & Lighting Company was a common occurrence whenever it rained. Mostly you’d lose power for a couple of hours but sometimes it’d be for days. Candles, a headlamp and a good attitude did it for me. Luckily the water heater insulation is good enough here and it kept the water hot for a few days before I got power back. 

Hundreds of high water rescues were conducted in the local area and some people unfortunately lost their lives. 

Luckily for the base, most aircraft had been repositioned further inland. Some families on base housing had to be evacuated to the gym for a night. 

A river that runs by the base crested at 29.7 feet, flooding part of the base buildings in that area. Damage to some buildings won’t be known until the water subsides enough for their structural stability to be determined.

It’ll take a while to recover for sure but I’m grateful that I’m safe above everything else. Here are a few pictures of the devastation in the area.

Photos courtesy : sjafb, news Argus cops, Connie Wise Richards