Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Things You Didn't Know about Kenya

1. There is a high demand for winter coats. To us munzungus, the weather here is hot with pleasantly cool mornings. Well, to Kenyans, this season is freezing in the morning. You will frequently see them wearing large coats when it is 80 outside. It's pretty much hilarious.

2. Africans don't all live in huts. In fact, Eldoret is a pretty "rich" town. Very dirty, dusty, but for Africa rich meaning lots of stores, people, restaurants, etc. You would have to be here a while to appreciate it. There are rich Kenyans. They drive benz's and wear fancy clothing. The Masai people do live in huts made of cow dung. The women  make the huts!

3. Goats and Cows are everywhere!

4. Most people speak English. They learn it in school.

5. Kenyans are very friendly. Everyone shakes hands. Almost everyone smiles or greats you when you are walking on the street, and not just people trying to sell something. They are a very warm people.

6. Ugali is there favorite food. Ugali basically cornmeal with milk and water turned into a kind of play-dough. The Kenyans love this! They would choose it over french fries.  At best, it taste very very bland. It's not bad if you mix it with something else.

7. No tigers. I felt really really dumb when I realized this, but when reading a children's book at Sally Test I learned there are actually no tigers in all of Africa! So the song, lions and tigers and bears, is completely inaccurate, because I doubt there are even bears in Africa.

8. There is a actually a large Indian population in Eldoret. This really confuses the Kenyans, as when we say Indiana, they often say, India? They are the wealthy business owners. This is also why we eat a lot of Indian food, which we have grown to love. I love paneer!

9. The Masai Mara, where we went last weekend, is actually connected to the Serengeti. I didn't know that. The famous wildebeest migration is actually from the masai mara to the serengeti. The serengeti is much larger. Someday I want to come back to see the migration. I have heard it is awe-inspiring.

10. They have "walmarts". Ok, not really walmarts, but same concept. In fact, Nolan and I just went to the biggest one on Sunday. There supermarkets are actually pretty large. Naukumatt, Tusky's and Naivas are the three big stores. You can tell only the rich buy much, while the poor only by bread and rice, the stables. The poorest don't buy anything at all. Only muzungus and foreigners probably buy lots of things like hand sanitizer ( which is expensive here) or chocolate bars (sniff sniff snickers)


  1. That creek bed looks amazingly like Turkey Run!
    Thanks for the Kenyan education:) I didn't know any of those things. I don't even know where the Serengeti it--I need to get a map out. A Toto song from the 80's mentioned the Serengeti and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
    Love you (and your blog:)

  2. Reading this as a Kenyan, I find it somewhat surprising that you found the above facts surprising, especially #2, #4, #7,and #10. But then again I understand. I know I too have several misconceptions/ignorance about other countries that I have never visited, and would be shocked to learn some truths when I get there.

    You are right about #7. Tigers are not indigenous to Africa. But there are places in South Africa where they were introduced as a conservation means. See for example.