Claire and Heidi -22

I was born and raised in the U.S., but I became fascinated by travel and culture at a young age. I started living abroad in 2000, when I moved to Paris, France. After that, I never looked back! I started out my career in the private sector, working for a U.S. financial institution. After five years I wanted a change, and I went to graduate school to study international relations. I launched my life change when I applied for a job with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). I met Jesse, my future husband, during my first posting with MSF in Uzbekistan, and we spent the next 5 years working together in Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, and Haiti.

In 2010, Jesse and I got married, and decided we were ready to lay down some roots. We didn’t manage. But about a year-and-a-half and one baby later, we finally did! I’m now a full-time mom, and happily raising two beautiful daughters, Claire and Heidi.

I started blogging a couple of years after we moved to Nairobi. As I settled in to my adopted home, I realized that I had cultivated a lot of insider information about raising a family in Nairobi. A good friend often told me, “You should start a blog!”  I finally listened to her, and Mama Mgeni was born. “Mgeni” is a word in Kiswahili meaning foreigner, guest, visitor or stranger. I might still be mgeni, but Kenya has very much become my home!

Please feel free to contact me, and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Karibu!

(Photo courtesy of Natasha Sweeney. Thanks, Natasha, for the lovely family photo!)

16 Responses to About

  1. Sema says:

    Dear Tara,

    I saw your web page in the net, it is beautiful, thank you for all the information that you put in.

    I would like to ask for some reccomandations as I am going to travel to Nairobi at the end of June if you have timer

    Sema Arslan, Istanbul


  2. Hello, Tara! I just ran across your blog and enjoyed reading about your experiences. We share a common interest in parenting abroad and focusing on our family. You can check out a bit about me and my world abroad here: http://globalwiseparenting.com/2014/05/the-road-trip-that-led-to-a-global-lifestyle/

  3. Jenn W says:


    Hello! I’m so excited! Someone in Nairobi who doesn’t focus on how to bring Britain, or the States to their life overseas (and blogs about it)!

    We’re currently in the states, but there’s a 95+% chance we’ll be in Nairobi next year for my husband’s work. We’ve lived overseas before (had a kid in Korea), but never Africa. I have a good friend who is from Nairobi area and she’s been very helpful but I’m very much looking forward to reading your blog! We’ve got 5 kids (the 5th one will be born any day now) so I found your blog looking for information about car seats!

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      I am so glad you like the blog and find it useful! And if you wind up moving to Nairobi next year, let me be the first to say Karibu!

  4. Joyce says:

    Dear Tara,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Kenya, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  5. Carolyn Njau-Githiomi says:

    Hi Tara,

    My name is Carolyn, I am originally from the US and have lived in Nakuru for 4 years this month. I am married to a wonderful man, David Githiomi (he is originally from Kenya, but we met about 10 years ago and married in the US). We moved to Kenya to take care of his mother, she passed about 1 1/2 years ago. We recently had our first child, Ahadi. I am surprised at how homesick I have become since giving birth…. Thank you for your blog, helps me feel like I am not alone. I am also a stay at home mom and not bringing in any money day to day, it can be a bit frustrating at times not have a social base to connect to. Do you have any information for activities or ways to connect in Nakuru? I would really appreciate and advise or help you can offer me.
    Mama Ahadi

  6. Modern Mom says:

    Hi Tara.

    Hope you are still loving your stay in Nairobi.

    I have linked to your blog in a post about the Kenyan Mom bloggers. You can see it here… http://www.modernmomhq.com/2015/07/kenyan-mom-bloggers.html

  7. Catherine says:

    Dear Tara,

    I have just discovered your blog trough Cup of Jo and I love it!

    Your daughters are adorable.

    All the best


    • Mama Mgeni says:

      That’s wonderful, thanks for coming over to check out Mama Mgeni! Cup of Jo is my absolute fave blog, and I am completely amazed by the warm reception I’ve gotten from all of Cup of Jo’s amazing readers! 🙂

  8. Nikole Opiyo says:

    Hi Tara,

    Goodness your blog is so fun! I am also married to a Kenyan. We lived in Mombasa a while and are now back in Canada expecting our second child. We hope to move back to Kenya in the next year or so. I am giggling through some of your posts of learning swahili (yes, I am trying…my husband speaks only swahili to our daughter) and navigating cultural norms. I do think a lot about how we will raise our kids in Kenya but am excited to have them learn their dad’s culture. Anyways, looking forward to reading more!


    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Thanks Nicole! I have connected with so many amazing women through this blog, especially from Kenyan – North American (or Kenyan – European) families! 🙂

  9. Sarah Wamaitha Rei says:


    i love your blog and your daughters are adorable.

    i love cooking and search for new ideas was looking for SCOBY and i finally landed here. i thought i would get it or you sell them but have ended up reading your blog . Nairobi is a great city and am glad you love it here and doing a lot helping others settle well.

  10. Linda guarino says:

    Hi Tara,
    I follow your blog and I don’t know how you do it. I have two children, 13 years and 2.5years. You keep me going because you make motherhood seem so easy. I look forward to your weekends, trips and discoveries. I look forward to the day I will sit and write about my day just like you.

    On another note, I will be leaving Kenya at the end of the summer ( or rather winter). If you know of someone who needs an excellent nanny please send them my way. I travel a great deal and she has been completely adorable with my 2.5year old. Unfortunately, I cannot take her with me

    Linda Guarino

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Hi Linda, thanks so much for your lovely comments! I am so happy that you’re inspired by the blog – that means so much to me. I hope you have also read how NOT together I am (if not, you can read about it here!). Motherhood is anything but easy, and we all have our ups and downs! Writing is a great way for me to unwind and destress, so the blog helps me keep my chin above water as well. Good luck with your big move! Have you thought about advertising your nanny in one of the Nairobi FB groups? I know there are some that are devoted just to nannies and household staff. All the best!

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