This is Nairobi.
Where Kenyans of all shades, colour, race, tribe and economic means converge to oil the wheel of economic development.
You can see what you imagined as absent in Africa.
In our lives, each day, we ought to learn and embrace something new.
There are things said about African people yet not true. A lot is left out of conversations about Africa.
But let’s educate the ignorant.
African people, born bred educated and working in Kenya ride to work. They work in offices. They read newspapers. Attend school and college even have world-class universities.
I know you’re mouthing, “your sh..matatus!”
Hey those touts cheer the gloom out of bad days, seducing you to enter their pimped up blaring clubs on wheels. They’re sweating for a decent coin, hammering hours away, working, earning and running multi-million enterprises!
I intend to share to a much ignorant western world and the myopic American world, pictures from the insides of Kenya.
That Africa is not a shithole.
The word sounds terrible when translated into our mother tongues or Kiswahili.
There is only one genius. God. He made sure every living creation benefits a shithole to cleanse their system or die eating.
Could you survive without yours?
My Africa is “All Things” and I’ll stick to Kenya my country, the one you do not know nor see, or even want to find out about. If you stay in the dark we’ll drag you out into our 24/7 sunlit world.
We’re excellent, but like all other human beings, we suffer inadequacies too.
While the West knows how to hide it’s poverty well, through it’s welfare system, provision of shelters for the homeless and food stamps for the starving masses, I guess we don’t know how to pretend, it is well, until further notice. The west does well to cushion and hide the poor’ s indignity. That doesn’t mean its minus a poor population.
As for us, we’re yet to figure out how best not to cut off the communal lifeline.We totter on this one, I agree.
But a whole lot are doing well.
Let’s look at progress made. It’s a side less heard off
Africans are wealthy! A man owns a 1000 beef cattle. Each worth $500. Is he poor or wealthy? By the west standards, he is poor because he’s ‘homeless,’ roams and sleeps under trees, looking for pasture clad in a red shuka and milers. Brace yourself, the nomad owns wealth worth $500000!
It’s his way of life. Open spaces. You cant confine him.
But if we seek for the West parameters of wealth, then the above picture suffices.
You can with ease find the scene above in the backyard of an African home.Yes we know how to swim. Practice starts young inside our rivers, dams and famous Lake Sango. We have fixed this ‘home ponds’ to dip in during the hot tropical heat. So yes we swim and own swimming pools behind our fences.
It’s a firm belief in the west, we live on trees and in the jungle. Or tin shacks or mud houses. Yes we do have those for economic and cultural reasons. But such as the above pictured house are provided to million residents by government and owned from the earnings of hardworking Kenyans.
Indeed African families live in stone houses, whether in cities, villages or towns.We scatter the below themed buildings in our rural ancestral places. That way, we enjoy both worlds.
Some compounds even have driveways and double garage parks!
Awesome homely places are built by African hands. Plenty of hideaways deep in the village, far from the buzz of the fast city.
3. Beds and Bedding
It’s said poverty is measured by how many people in a household sleep on a bed. Africans in Kenya own and sleep in resplendent bedrooms.
How many own such? you ask?
Majority do. Talk to a sample house helps and make your own conclusion on the mind boggling statistics.
If you didn’t know, Kenyan women have a knack for ‘merry-go-rounds’ where they deliver to each member, bedroom sets, gleaned from glossy magazine like “Drum” and “True Love.”
Join a ‘chama’ and wait your turn.
By the way my grandmother before passing on, insisted on stretching her body down on the flat floor next to her bed.
“It straightens the back and ends back pain.” So her being on the floor is for the good of keeping an ageless back.
Mmh. Something new I learn.
Here comes the shithole!
Our houses have real shitholes. I have a brother who really hates them.
He doesn’t find pleasure in sharing his naked privacy. He can’t understand how he can sh… inside the house he lives in!
Or sit on the one in his office, or worse still he can’t sit where women have sat.
He regards adult potties as shallow ceramic basins, too delicate a seat to be shared with women.
So he built his pee-hole outside. I think many are of his opinion.
Walk into Kenyan homes and you’ll fund the living rooms suffer a heavy heap of all pictured amenities in weights, lengths and sizes.
It’s a silent compulsion to own the best visitors’ chairs or sofas, even if you have to fundraise from family of join a SACCO or hire purchase.
Even university students these days own them.
I hear they do work study these days. In our days work study was a sign of manhandling rare degree holders. But then I think they should have. It’d have saved me thousands.
Besides dirt road and highways, where our runners like to jog, we have lovely places to walk and jump and kick and roll.
Sucking in serenity and meet a seductive sunset we all want to disappear into.
And then we have these visitors. They’re so welcome and live like this in parts of our so called jungle. We call such places Nature Trails or natural forests. Places adept at fighting climate change. Don’t you tell me you don’t believe the crap that is climate change.
Well, God doesn’t lie. He said all these things will pass away. Hmm.
To ensure our visitors are safe, we venture into these “left alone places.”
And the whole village shakes heads, and feels guilty when they encounter visiting campers.
“Why don’t they want to come inside?”
The old grey haired men try hard to understand how it feels to live in a jungle and in trees.
The rest of the village nods furiously. They have failed to wrap wisdom around this strange behaviour.
“Get them inside a house ” barks the village elders whistling and glaring.
Africans don’t use curse words they let out a long whistle of inquiry to show displeasure or pull back lips, bare teeth for ages, waiting for an answer. If none is forthcoming they close mouth, whistle and strut away.
They’ll keep repeating this, when they don’t understand how one sane father can do the above act to their own flesh and blood.
Reptiles are associated with reptilian people. Those night witches and wizards.
Why on earth would a father introduce his own son to such a hazardous occupation?
With no answers, the African just walks away or clubs the spaghetti thing to death and buries it below the earth.
He asks for help to roll a huge boulder onto the fresh mound. No escape for reptilians to cause havoc in the village.
End of story.
Grub is our life. Plenty is found within the borders of our African homes. The healthy type of food you know. Food that carries half a dozen types of vitamins and omega, proteins and carbohydrates.
The food serves for breakfast or lunch or supper. Just get them bellies full. The sun and days’s toils will suck out all the energy by evening.
These food types won’t cause obesity or diabetes or bring on heart issues. It’s a qualified healthy and complete meal in one.
“Food shouldn’t be measured to children, let them eat” Grandma would often say.
Sweet potatoes and groundnut soup; always my favorite, a bowlful laden with bean soup. On good days, it’d be accompanied with dry fish or chicken.
After a food binge, it weighed heavily in the belly until you ran to the nearest relief joint and come back to continue.
But that’s not where we stop. I told you my Kenya in Africa is ‘All things.’
This dish is a compulsory appearance in our Kenyan homes.
But heck forget the knife and fork and spoon. It’s done very well, like Zuckerberg did with just one hand.
Three cheers for Zuckerberg!
None of this fried stuff came by plane. A walk around the family yard and a home fridge yields meals of this brand every morning. Sundays thrive on this type of fatteners. Not my cup of tea or not with a cup of tea for me.
Other servings like the fingerlicking display above are found deep in rural Kenya, not Nairobi’s JAVA or Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The flavour improves when served on our traditional plates. You like it?
We are known for winning world-class marathons and elite running on the world stages but hey
We play polo too!
Life is not all poverty, struggling slum dwellers and death diseases. We do go on tours and hiking excursions. All creation needs a little time away to connect to nature. Though nature is plentiful around us, we don’t take it for granted. We appreciate it. Wangari Maathai hugged trees. We talk to plants and animals and give thanks to God for rain and pay keen attention to our land and the weather.
We are purposeful to visit and appreciate nature for playing its role in the ecology chain.
We do it in style not swinging up trees houses or running in the wild nude like others imagine.
I was here. I conquered all my fears.
Singing, dancing ululating is part of our evening entertainment after a hard day’s toil. We hum, young men compete on strength display. Some are courtship dances, Some are birth or harvest celebrations songs. Some intended to lift the mood or warrior songs to to appeal to the spirit of bravery. It’s even done for folk song vocal practice and cultural festival performances. Its not all we do, daily.
And God has remained faithful.
How deep else can He express it, than this double arched rainbows over Nanyuki town.
That He is watching over his people in Kenya.
Sorry I didn’t leave you with pics of the famous Big Five.
I know you have plenty of that. Every time I google ‘African pics’ pages and pages fill up with animals in the wild or parks or zoos. Boy! (Eye roll!)
Well it’s a long journey away in the parks. Looking for them takes time. So I’ll leave you with a rare bird that cries like a miserable baby.
The Peacock! It’s the male that carries that beauty umbrella.
Enjoy Kenya. My All Things.