LIFE IN KENYA
By Correspondent Patricia Mueni Musyoka in Nairobi, Kenya
–I am twenty one years old a young and proud black woman; born and raised in Kenya. A nation situated, in East Africa. Home to thirty five million Kenyans. To the world we are known as home to the late father of USA president Barack Obama, but to us it is simply the place where we belong.
After every sixty seconds a minute passes in Africa. To some the above statement could be witticism or cliché, but it is asimple way of telling the rest of the world that life in Africa is parallel lived at the exact moment to those across the world. Though our many hardships, struggles, ignorance and backwardness, this is the place we call home.
When one knows no other life but what they got born into, you simply get accustomed to it and to youth becomes the best life there is. Growing up and living in Kenya is a wonderful experience. Most Kenyan families are huge. The numbers of children in one homestead vary from six to fourteen. Therefore childhood is very enjoyable because of the amount of age matesin your neighborhood. Children literally flock everywhere, you can never get bored. As a child we made our own toys, we invented our own games and literally lived a carefree life. Video games, watching television and already made up toys are luxuries that the average Kenyan child does not experience. But never did we see ourselves as unfortunate or less blessed.
The average Kenyan lives on $1 a day. Simplicity is the way of life here. In the city, fifty percent of the population lives in slums. These are made shift houses out of carbon box and iron sheet rooftops.
Majority of the people grow their groceries on the side of their houses to cut on costs of feeding the several mouths in their households.
The second hand clothe industry is the most known way of dressing. Most of our clothes which are second hand are shipped from abroad through massive containers that arrive on our coasts. Which later flood our markets with cheap reasonable prices. A good fashionable dress can go for as low as $2.
Education is freely offered by the government up to elementary and middle school level. Majority of people who live in the villages unfortunately never make it to high school.
Kenya is home to forty two tribes, all of which speak totally different languages, carry out different traditions and each singularly pride in their own culture traits.
The greatest plague destroying us as a nation is tribalism. Life as a Kenyan, is all about pledging an allegiance to your tribe. Each tribe has its geographical living area. Therefore such oneness and unity is naturally created.
Personally I am from the Akamba tribe. One of the largest tribes in the country.My family and I live in Ukambani, Katononili village. Inter-marriage from any other tribe that lies on the west part of Kenya is forbidden by our clan elders.
Five years ago in 2007- 2008 we went through the now termed “Post election violence of 2007”This was a civil war perpetuated by tribal clashes. After a presidential election that saw the two largest tribe Agikuyu and Jaluo tribes fight for the presidential seat. The reality of going through a civil war was unknown to most of us. We have always been a country that has been a place of refuge to most refugees from our neighboring countries that had earlier gone through similar experiences i.e. the Rwandan genocide, Ugandan Ida Amin saga, Congo – Burundi rebels. Seeing our country reduce to ashes, because of such hatred and malice amongst people of one nation was a traumatizing event. Watching my neighbors been slaughtered because they were of a certain tribe are among the horrific events that we travailed through that year.
Kenya lies right at the equator, meaning we have perfect weather all year round. Our lowest climates range from 60F – 64F during our coldest months of June and July. Our highest range from 85F – 88F.It’s literally perfect spring all year round. God has blessed us with such beautiful weather. We don’t know what it means to experience harsh climatic conditions.
Living in Kenya has its ups and downs, but we have learned to thank God for our little and make the best out of it. Though we go through the deep valleys or mountain peaks I love my country and I wouldn’t ask God to live anywhere else.
Patricia Mueni Musyoka
Patricia is from Nairobi, Kenya. She is twenty-one years old and a young and proud black woman.