Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Images of Kenya: The Culture

The best way to explain Kenyan culture is through snapshots.  There was much we had to learn about living in this culture, and much we loved about it.

church services in the village are long, 
usually several hours, and singing is a 
jubilant experience and is usually 
combined with dancing

singing and dancing at church

offerings include money as well as other items
like produce from the shambas (farms),
or even livestock like this chicken

the Bible and this hymnbook are some 
of the few texts written in the 
local Kipsigis language around Tenwek

an outhouse - this is a very nice one

an inside view of the "squatty potty"

rice at a celebration

rice can be cooked in huge quantities
so it's perfect for large gatherings

beans and rice (and pototoes) at a funeral

this funeral was a joyous event, 
evidenced by this dancing trio,
celebrating a long life well lived

there's always room for everyone on the road 
(or so it's thought)

motorcycles are called piki pikis or boda bodas
and they are everywhere - the cheapest and 
most dangerous mode of transportation

no load is too big for any vehicle...

...even for piki pikis

I cannot tell you how common 
it is to see things like this.

handwashing before a meal at someone's home

Kenyan fast food - roasted corn 
on the side of the road

in the rainy season it's important to put your 
laundry on the line before the rain clouds roll in

children gathered after a church service - 
a great time for fellowship

Chai is an extremely important aspect of Kenyan culture.
Many Kenyans drink chai in the morning, mid-morning, 
lunch, mid-afternoon, and again in the evening.  
The hospital nearly comes to a halt when it's chai time 
in the morning.  It's a chance to take a break and visit 
with each other.  We always had a chai break 
at home with our househelpers too.

Kenyan children typically begin drinking chai 
when they're two years old.  Asa reached that 
milestone while we were there and enjoyed 
his first cup of chai with our househelper.

Visiting friends in their homes is a huge honor, 
and they typically prepare a wonderful meal 
(including chai, of course) for your visit.  It usually 
takes hours to visit someone in their home because 
when you're visiting with friends there is 
nowhere else you need to be!

children are responsible for chores at a young age - 
these boys are in charge of watching the family's cattle

many people have big rain barrels (the black tank 
to the left) for acquiring drinking water 
as well as avoiding hauling water from the river

honoring people with gifts is a common part of 
saying goodbye - this Maasai blanket, the apron 
and the bag were gifts given to us by the Family 
Medicine residents as we prepared to leave Tenwek

"football" is the most popular 
sport in Kenya (of course!)