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Jack is a "Kenya cowboy"; his family has been in Kenya for three
generations and he holds a local passport (making him therefore a "Kenya
citizen", or "KC"). He's a single chap, having previously been out with all the
eligible girls in his local peer group at some time or another. He's currently
living in a guest cottage in his parent's garden, though he will assure anyone
that the arrangement is only temporary.
Now that he is approaching his mid-thirties, the need to meet the right girl (ideally an "outsider") who is game enough to commit herself to Kenya "ad infinitum" is becoming more pressing. With any luck he'll eventually find a visiting prep school teacher or an air hostess to marry, but until then he's happy regularly to prop up his local bar in Karen with the tight-knit circle of friends to whom he is loyal until death and has known since childhood.
Jack enjoys a hearty Sunday lunch with his parents every weekend, and often joins them for midweek sundowners as well. He sees no reason to get to know or talk to any of the transient expat couples that pepper the neighbourhood. If he's introduced to somebody who has been in the area for more than 10 years, he'll consider entering into conversation, but overall, he's happy with his social life, thank you very much. Time has proved that his friends are friends you can rely on. "Two-year wonders" are so tiresome…
Jack is a practical man who is also highly knowledgeable about his surroundings, from birds to flora to fauna. Self-reliant, he even holds a pilot's licence that he got in Florida some years back, but drop him into central London, and he is a fish out of water.
He helps out in his cousin's "top-end" safari business when they're busy, and has diversified into rustic furniture-making and has a hand in project-managing the construction of a friend's wattle-and-daub lodge upcountry. He is assured that each guest will be charged $500 per night and believes that this rate will be cheap at the price, given the staggering views over the bush.
His father dearly wanted him to farm, but the prospect meant an isolated existence that didn't appeal. Game conservation was another option, but sadly his parents sold their ranch years ago to help fund his schooling overseas. Anyway, he's happier to dabble in this and that and remain a "free" self-employed man. Working in an office, he thinks, would literally kill him.
You'll easily spot Jack around town driving a dark- green Land Cruiser with game-viewing roof hatches, roof rack, two spare tyres and a high-lift jack. Without fail, he will be wearing a short-sleeved shirt, leather Aussie hat or baseball cap, a battered pair of short shorts (or "stubbies"), a beaded belt with mobile phone and Leatherman pocket knife attached, brass bracelets, short socks and safari boots by Bata, whose ad runs: "the boots that say you know Africa".
In the evening, he dons his faded-blue jeans bought circa 1987 and a fleece. He has fashioned a box for his iPhone from an container lined with foam, to protect it when driving in the bush. The sight of him descending from his Land Cruiser used to make pretty girls and American tourists swoon, but these days he notices, with some regret, that he is drawing less attention.
Jack's KC skills include; making a very loud cattle whistle without even having to put his fingers in his mouth; removing a beer- bottle top without an opener; and making a clicking noise with his fingers by rapidly shaking his loose hand up and down while sucking air through his teeth to emphasise a point.
Many of his sentences are preceded by the word, "Man", or, "I'm telling you", and the lilt in his voice makes for an accent that's a cross between South African and Kenyan that he shares with his friends – it's typical of the KC.
His Swahili is excellent, a vast improvement on the "kitchen" Swahili still spoken by his parents, and he knows Kikuyu and some Maa. In Kenya, he is in his element, though he has no idea what the long-term future holds. But he will be ready to lie low and ride any storm the local government throws at him because, after all, he's not going anywhere.
This, for him, is home.