Currently Browsing

International Development in Kenya

Studying Abroad as a Black American: Shade #2 Who Speaks for Us…

So, concerning who speaks for black people like I wrote in my last shade, I have learned one interesting answer: white males. I was having a conversation with a member of the church I attend about his perspectives on black Americans: where he gets them from etc. He told me that usually he would hear about them through white missionaries who were visiting Kenya who shared perspectives like: – Black American women are rude and incorrigible. – Black people described as having a hidden anger because of unmet reparation for […]

Read More

Kawangare

I am not a slum tourist and do not endorse the practice but encourage holistic learning and experiences. I traveled with a guide who was familiar in the area. When I walked through the streets and past the alley, into a deeper part of the compound a putrid stench hit me like a wave. To my right was a black stream running parallel to the shacks on my left – they are people’s homes. I couldn’t walk alone this far. Strangers to the community are easily noticed and often robbed […]

Read More

Worship in Lutheran Evangelical Church in Kibera

Praise in Worship at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya took me back home for a minute reminding me of my beloved Pilgrim Baptist Church back in Minnesota. It felt different to be a visitor in church and I was proud to represent Pilgrim all the way in Nairobi. The sermon was in Kiswahili as was the Praise and Worship, but I didn’t need to speak the language to feel the passion and the spirit in that place. Everyone at the church was very welcoming and many thought that I […]

Read More

Contemporary Gems of Kenya- Alliance Francaise

Last Tuesday, some friends and I attended the Contemporary Gems of Kenya Art Exhibit. The part-exhibition part-book launch had a small but nice collection of work from modern Kenyan artists. I particularly enjoyed the large three-dimensional work that was made of non-conventional material. My favorite pieces were Freeing the Butterflies, and this colorful piece whose name I did not capture. I learned about the activity in a community magazine that had a list of exciting artistic and cultural events happening around Nairobi through September. A brief perusal showed me just […]

Read More

Studying Abroad as a Black American: Shade I

I am the first black American that my host family has ever accommodated in the four years they have served as an MSID homestay. It’s a strange brew of emotion to be a black American in Africa. I enjoy the acceptance but also balance the pressure of representing my community on a global scale. My white peers on the other hand are experiencing being an “other” who is quickly noticed as different and treated as such. Those who are less-seasoned travelers tend to see the environment as dangerous and are […]

Read More

Mt. Kenya

The second highest mountain in Africa, after Kilimanjaro, is in my current place of residence, Kenya. Okay, maybe the name of the mountain gives the location away. The naming process was not that creative. But it is not just in my country of residence, it is in my region of residence. It is visible out my window, I can see it on my walk to town, I look at it everyday. I live next to the mountain, and my work deals with the mountain. Well more specifically my work deals […]

Read More

Pesach in Kenya

WHY. The magic questions for the passover. WHY is this night different than all other nights? One answer: there are two mitzvot (good deeds) that one is compelled to complete on passover: eat matzah, and lehagid (to tell) the story of the exodus out of Egypt. And then there are a multitude of other reasons WHY that night is different from all other nights. So the first mitzvah is easy enough to complete. Without being able to eat leavened bread, you have to eat something, so matzah it is. The […]

Read More

My Attachment

My attachment, or internship as many Americans would call it, is in Nanyuki, a four hour ride away from Nairobi, around the Mt. Kenya area. The life is very different than in Nairobi, and even more amazing everyday. I wake up every morning as the sun rises, the doors open and close, the rooster crows, the cows wake up and my two sisters, Abigail (7) and Belinda (2) come knock on my door in their school uniforms to say hi. Immediately, it is busy in the house. I live about […]

Read More

Urbanization: The Changing Life for the Animal Kingdom

As part of the MSID program, we are split up into tracks based on our interests. For the Environmental track, we were given the opportunity to go to Nairobi National Park (I think we made the other groups jealous, to be honest…). Okay, it is REALLY cool. Nairobi National Park is one of two national parks in the middle of a big city, the other one being found in South Africa. It is a huge tourist attraction and economic strength for the city. It is fascinating really, sometimes I feel […]

Read More

Cheza- Play

The whistle blow, “Cheza”, the coach yells. The ball is now in play, the soccer scrimmage has begun. Everyone loves soccer in Kenya, and most people are very good, but this was not a pick up game itw was an organized team practice. We were playing soccer with the Kibera girls, girls that come from the slum area right off on ngong road, the main road toward our houses. And they were AMAZING. Kibera, in Nairobi’s South-Western zone, seven kilometres from City Centre is one of the largest slums in […]

Read More

How I Got Mugged by a Baboon

Frozen in place. Fear pulsing through my veins. We were being stared down. First thought: run. Second though: HELP! Third thought: give them what they want. Everyone says to be careful in Nairobi for fear of getting mugged or cheated on the price of items. Be careful on public transportation because people will try to take your phone. Now, while these things can happen, they do NOT always happen. But, everyone says the coast in Kenya, in Mombasa, on the Indian Ocean, is safer. You can walk around without fear […]

Read More

African Environment Day

I hear, I forget I see, I remember I do, I understand These were 12 of the 15 english words that a 74 year old Kikuyu woman knew how to say in English, the other three were “my name is”. The oldest woman at the United Nations Environmental Protection Conference in Nairobi, spoke about the impact that both the young and older generations can have on making a better environment in Kenya. It is though doing, and learning how to do with the help of the older generation. This years’ […]

Read More

Nats Ingonyana Bagithi Baba Sithi Uhm Ingonyama (Here Comes a Lion, Father, Oh Yes It’s a Lion)

From the day we arrive on the planet And blinking, step into the sun There’s more to see than can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done There’s far too much to take in here More to find than can ever be found But the sun rolling high Through the sapphire sky Keeps great and small on the endless round It’s the Circle of Life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path […]

Read More

Whose Kenya is it Anyway?

As the sun sets over the Rift Valley, I smile at the beauty. Who wouldn’t want to experience this? After a long day of hiking Mt. Longonot, the sunset is fulfilling. But the real question is not: who wouldn’t want to experience this; it is: who does not get the opportunity to experience this? I spend the week days in Nairobi, and the weekends traveling. I get to see the beauty that makes Kenya, Kenya. And I get to experience the crazy, busy, city that makes Nairobi, Nairobi. Lets be […]

Read More

Religion

Kenya is a very religious country. To fully experience Kenya, you must experience religion. The younger population, while less religious, maintain their parents religious views and continue to attend religious services with their family regardless of their beliefs. The breakdown: 35-40% Christian 25-30% Muslim 30% indigenous 1% Indian and a very limited amount of Jews. Christianity came from the missionaries coming to Kenya in the late 1800s. They succeeded in convincing many Kenyans to convert to Christianity and they offered many Kenyans a different lifestyle from the one they were […]

Read More