Our Big Smiles Define Us, Kenya is a Real Melting Pot.
A country is defined by its people, and the Kenyans are a friendly and proud nation despite the fact that there are a number of different ethnic groups, languages, and religions. Our big smiles, especially on children’s faces, and the friendly jambo and karibu Kenya greeting on ports of entries welcome you around every corner, these goes a long way in making Kenya a welcoming destination. Despite our economic performance, the political tensions and economical problems of the yester years that has plagued us, our hearts are always open to outsiders. “Hakuna Matata.” It means, “No Worries.” It a common phrase uttered to foreigners assuring them no worries. I have personally witness and big help being extended to foreigners by natives at no cost.
Kenya has always been the iconic home of the safari, immortalized by legendary personalities such as Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen. You will experience a surreal moment when you visit places like Crescent island on Lake Naivasha. You are so close to wildlife such that you could almost reach out and touch them- this isn’t Animal Planet; it’s the real thing. Has anyone ever told you how beautiful a monochromatic Zebra’s stripes are? Or how graceful Giraffes are? And rear scene of a leopard on the tree with its kill, at a national park. Surrounded by tourists, and it doesn’t seem to care about your presence. Thousand of wildebeests close the mara river in search of greener pastures and important call of nature to balance the ecosystem of the mara plains, sprightly antelopes, elephants, baboons, velvet monkeys, dik-diks and stocky Cape buffalos are among the grazers in this region.
In the backdrop of all these beautiful Kenya, its diverse wildlife habitats, its great rift valley and lakes, its prolific bird life and rich culture and crafts, is one of Africa’s most successful conservation communities. Paleontologists have found some of the earliest evidence of early man in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. With some of the most exotic birds that I can remember, for sure it’s a country to visit and experience firsthand, from the biggest bird, the ostrich, to secretary birds with quills beneath their ears, the hammer kop that builds gargantuan nests, and pied kingfishers.
Art and crafts has been incorporated in the school curriculum and the results are evident everywhere, a tribute to the creativity of locals. Handmade handbags, jewellery, Kikoys, baskets and bags, Masai shawls, carved and painted gourds, painted plates and cups, tribal masks, belts and beaded footwear, soapstone carvings, musical instruments like drums, hand carved wooden figurines, paintings, toys made out of old flip-flops, malachite figurines, the list is endless… No tourist will ever jet out of the spectacular market without grabbing some gifts for friends and family. It is good not note as well that most of the safari lodges have local African art decorating them. From fireplaces that look like anthills to wooden pillars carved like monkeys to furnishings with zebra stripes, it follows the same theme. What about the craftsmen who transform waste into products ranging from beautiful jewelry to interiors and architectural fixtures, or toys.
Such superb creations will never flourish without a capital, Nairobi is the capital city with skyscrapers, a city under the sun that has managed to refined the African skyline the last decade attracting foreign investments in large scale, Indeed it has one of the most unique places in the world, like the gates to a national park on its fringes, the only one of its kind on the planet! Two giraffes locked in perfect symmetry, looked straight at you as you drive right past them and the plains start to reveal themselves to you, Nairobi National Park open to everyone. Little baby warthogs will crisscross your path and herds of impalas and wildebeests. The mysteries of the park, a stunning sight will greet your eyes with the presence of a herd of zebras, silhouetted against the backdrop of the city.
With more than 70 ethnic groups, differences in terms of traditions, cultures, languages, beliefs, and ways of dressing, music and dance, Kenya is a real melting pot. Many communities have retained their culture in the face of modernity. The Maasai among others still hold on their rich traditional values. Rhythms of the music and dances, with costumes that have feathers and coloured strips to ankle bells and shells. Music for centuries has entertained generations, while tribes throughout the country have used songs, and poems to pass on their beliefs, history, and customs. No technology, just nature to nurture them. No matter what your socio-economic status is, if you have some time you need to visit Kenya to embrace and appreciate the beauty of the land.