Asians feel at home at Eldoret’s West Indies

By Vincent Bartoo

It takes you only five minutes or less to drive to West Indies estate from Eldoret town yet the tranquillity that prevails in this estate is a complete contrast with the hustle and bustle of the busy agricultural town.

West Indies is a suburb inhabited by the town’s upper middle-class, majority of whom are Eldoret’s Asian community.

The estate is unique as it is also home to tenants renting low-cost houses belonging to the Eldoret Municipal Council and Kenya Railways Corporation. Other low cost estates like Kipkarren and Bacon, whose tenants conveniently supply labour, surround the estate.

The well-to-do residents mostly rent flats and live harmoniously with the low-income earners, mixing freely at the few shopping centres. Most residents do their shopping in Eldoret town since it is a walking distance, although most own vehicles.

Security risk

West Indies is not served by public transport vehicles and residents rely on matatus passing through from the neighbouring Kipkarren estate.

Many unemployed residents make it a daily routine to visit individual homes or flats to ask for menial jobs such as laundry services.

Neighbouring estates, however, pose a security risk to West Indies. Criminals living in the sprawling estates have on several occasions struck individual homes and stolen valuables.

This has forced many, especially those living at the edge of the estate, to put up perimeter electric fences, install alarms, hire security guards and keep dogs for protection.

Cleanest estate

In view of its close proximity to town, tarmac roads in the estate are well maintained. The estate also benefits from adequate supply of essential services such as water and electricity, as well as regular garbage collection, making it one of the cleanest in the town, a state that has been emulated by tenants at the Council and Railways houses.

Houses in West Indies mainly comprise flats and owner-occupied maisonettes. Rent for the two-bedroom flats is about Sh15,000 a month while rent for the few maisonettes averages at ksh 20,000. The cost of buying is between sh1.5 to 2 million depending on the location and type