The types of people you meet in Kenya are as varied as the kernels of maize in the hills…uh, songs by Yvonne Chaka Chaka, whatever. Truly, the people of Kakamega, Kenya have been marvelous and disappointing and heart warming and tragic. However, there have been a few certain types of people I have come to know so far that have been replicated more than a few times since I’ve arrived. Just as in America, you can identify your hipsters, Reganite yuppies, and hip-hop wanna -be’s, so in Kenya, there are some types easily identifiable. Each type has its benefits and detriments, but all of them are peculiarly spectacular.
After the break, a look at a few of these prevalent groups of people.
There aren’t a whole lot of ways to get around Kakamega, a town near Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. You can walk, certainly. If you need to get someplace a bit faster than your feet can take you, though, you’re not going to find a subway or trolley or a bus schedule lying conveniently on a rack in the non-existence transit station. Nope. You’re going to take a bit more rustic, less organized transit, and you’re going to need some advice.
Why wouldn’t a person choose to spend nine weeks of their life without electricity, without running water, 7200 miles from home, living with a polygamist family who speak Kiluhya outside in their remote home in the village Shibuli, an hour’s travel from the closest “major” Kenyan city, Kakamega? I will seek to answer these questions as I uproot my life in the coming weeks to move to Shibuli and work at the Uzima Youth Foundation.
Contributing to the foundations already impressive programs, I will start a theater program for children who have been orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS in the community. Do I know what I’m doing? Probably not. But it should be an interesting experience to say the least.
Additionally, I will be learning Swahili as I stay there. Although, when I return to the US, there will be a good chance I will have only mastered two phrases: Hapana (No) and Sielewi (I don’t understand).
I will try to update Where You See Lions (WYSL) as often as I can. However, my internet access will be limited due to the lack of electricity, so I may not be able to post from Kenya with my usual, ahem, clockwork regularity. It happens. Nevertheless, I will update as often as I can find opportunity.
In the meantime, enjoy your running water. Enjoy your lights at night. I will be typing by battery powered lamp.