For me, the elliptical doesn't translate to other exercises, i.e. running ^_^. I think it's a good exercise to rotate into your exercise regimen once a week (easy on the joints) but I don't ever really finish it feeling like I've gotten a good workout.
Regarding weight loss, it doesn't matter what exercise you do- it matters how hard you work. If you are eating reduced calories (fewer calories than your body needs every day) that's what will help you lose weight. Exercise is 'icing on the cake' (pardon the poor metaphor
)- it helps you burn a few extra calories on top of the deficit you are creating by eating less.
In other words, weight loss doesn't hinge on exercise- it hinges in diet. Exercise is fabulous but really make sure your diet is in check first and foremost.
I also live in a country with no sidewalks and few streetlights- eek! It's hard staying in shape here. Way to go on your determination. Don't be discouraged if you are a slow loser- there are lots of us here! Good luck