25 Cents or Less, in Kenya

Some things here in Africa are about the same price USD as KSH (Kenya Shilling), and occasionally more expensive–mzungu-style or specialty items in particular. A dozen eggs is about the same price US as Kenya, and we had a homemade lasagna the other night to celebrate Rebekah’s 10th birthday–the cottage cheese and lasagna noodles (both a rarity here) made it about a $40 meal. Not something we would usually do, but lasagna was a special request of the birthday girl.

For the most part, however, things are markedly cheaper here than in America. For example, I remember getting name-brand Front Line in America for over $50 from the vet; here, Marc *finally* found some available in town and I think it cost about $13.  It still amazes me how much cheaper most things are here than in the US. For sure, you often get what you pay for (as our friend Silas has said, “Africans no care about quality, they care about price!”); however, in many cases the quality issues don’t have much overall impact.

The boys do much of our shopping and they had just returned from town today as I was preparing lunch. While we ate, they had fun listing all the things you can buy in Africa for 20 shillings (about 25 cents USD):

4 avocados, in-season

1 orange

2 pens

a 60-page notebook

5-1/2 minutes of air time on a cell phone

16 MB of data on Internet

2 chapati (kind of like small, non-sweet donuts)

a small flashlight (disposable)

a small loaf of bread (1/2 a conventional loaf)

4 packages of biscuits (cookies–a package is four or five)

4 packets of laundry detergent (each packet is for one washtub of laundry and contains 25 grams–almost an ounce)

2 cell phone charges (most here don’t have electricity, so paying to charge a cell phone is normal)

about 6 photocopies

4 lollipops

20 pieces of gum or 20 hard candies


Which made me think…what can you *really* buy in America for 25 cents? I think gumballs are still 25 cents. What else?

1 thought on “25 Cents or Less, in Kenya

  1. Hi Cindy,
    Well, the gumball that Gabriel gets from the “machine” at the barber is still $.25, as is a sampling of loose candy at the grocery store (three pieces). 🙂
    So glad to hear you got to “get away.” I love hearing about how things are going. Also, your dog looks a bit like our dog, who happens to be a Basenji, which is an African breed. Perhaps yours has a bit of that in him. ??
    Love you guys.
    Grace & family

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