Food in Kenya
The most popular food is beans and maize.
They usually boil it together in a mashed meal of beans, maize, kales and potatoes.
It comes out something sweet.
For the Massai …oh yes, here the most popular is their milk mixed with blood and honey. If you go to visit them you will surely be brought a bowl.
It happened to us, but we politely tried to avoid it. They kept insisting but it was no way that we could drink it with all those mosquitoes around.
The food here is mostly sweet, and they love the sweet potato and beans.
Vegies like broccoli, cauliflower courgettes are very popular.
In Kenya I have tasted the best pineapples ever!
Try them as they are really very cheap.
Kenyans are generally very friendly. They greet you with the word ‘jumbo’ and you reply with the same word back.
If you are in a group the greeting changes to ‘hamjambo’ and here the reply is ‘hatujambo’.
Because here in Kenya they have the Muslim influence women cover up bare arms and legs.
Light clothes are fine for the smartest social occasions.
Alcohol can be found and is available in the tourist areas near the coast.
Although widely speaking and second official language besides kiswahili, not all Kenyans are able to communicate in english, especially those who are illetrate. Knowing some phrases in swahili, which is in Kenya coloquially called kiswahili, might help you alot.
jambo = hello
karibu = welcome
kesho = tommorrow
asante sana = thank you
sawa = ok
pesa ngapi=How much
Gigiri, for rich (and white) people only
There is a part of the town where only white people live, actually, it is residential area and all houses are hidden behind high and wired walls. My taxi driver took me there in order to show me this completely different face of Nairobi. Never before in no place I saw so many secutity cars and armed guys around. This part of the town is in a huge contrast with the rest of Nairobi and I didn't like it at all.
Jane is my interner friend, we exchnaged a few e-mails and calls before my departing to Kenya. Once I called her, she cooked the dinner and it was traditional local dish called ugali. She promiced to make it for me if I ever came to the town of Nairobi. I've meet her only tha last day of my staying in Nairobi because she was out of the town. Jane is by origin Maasai and she is very proud to be it. She shawn me around and we spend whole day together visiting parts of the town I couldn't see if on my own. I bought her a lunch and she invited me at her home making ugali and sukuma as she promiced. There at her home I've meet some of her friends and we spent very pleasant evening, right before my flight back to Mombasa.
Global Museum is situated in a walking distance to Holiday Inn hotel where I stayed during my three days visit to Nairobi. It happened that I passed there only by chance and was attracted by its look, which is in a shape of bursting flower. It was about 8:00 AM and the musuem was still closed. My intention was to come back and visit it later in a day but honestly I forgot it.
Mausoleum to Jomo Kenyatta
It was one of the rare unpleasant experiences I had in Nairobi. The Mausoloem to Jomo Kenyatta was closed and there wasn't any indication regarding openning hours. When I approached to the iron gate there were two guards who aworned me not to take the pictures because it is not allowed. I asked them for the reason but they became rude telling me to put my camera away and leave the place.
Since I never quit, I went across the avenue took out my strong lens and made this pictures hidden by the hedge.
What to do if, all the sudden, such a scary head appeares out of the bush right in front of you? What if two of a kind? I guess the best is what I did, remain cold-blooded and taking the pics. What they did? They ignored me completely and just passed on the other side of the road. It was so unexpected and funny.
Later on I met this lovely couple lying on the grass and still ignoring my presence.
Keep Nairobi clean - it works
I don't know weather this campaign started only this year but fact is, Nairobi looks to me much cleaner than I remembered it during my last year visit. Such a litter bins are disposed all over the city centre and the locals really care to keep Nairobi clean. In fact, it is much cleaner than some European cities I visited in last couple of years. Fact is, Nairobians love their town and are proud to be the part of it.
Most of the Kenyans, those who have job in a big companies or government institutions, work six days in a week. Sunday is day off, time for the chuch in the mornings and family walkings in the parks after lunch time. Uhuru Park is the place where most of the locals like to spend their free time, either in walkings, attending mass in open or listening gospel songs performed by numerous groups around.
Local working class cannot afford high flat-rents in the city area of Nairobi, just a simple room with bathroom costs around 6.000 ksh, which is more than most of them earn per month. Therefore, they live or in the outskirts of Nairobi or, if very poor, in Kibera. My friend Francis, who work as the security guy, pays one thousand shillings per month for two small rooms in Kibera. I visited his "apartment" which has no power, no running water and no bathroom inside the flat. Such a rent is almost one third of his wages.
Francis spend small money for the food, eating twice a day only and equaly small money for the second hands cloths, which is the only cloths he can afford. He never attended theatre in his life and never goes to the bars or clubs which are inside the city area of Nairobi. On the other hand, Francis is very polite with good manners and really nice guy. When I asked him is he happy with his life, Francis confirmed telling me this, many people cannot afford what I have and not in Kenya only. Francis never visited coastal part of Kenya, never saw the ocean and it is one of his dreams. I gave him money to makes that dream come true and he was extremely happy and gratefull.
Kenyans don't make big difference if monday or sunday, to most of them all days in a week look alike, except for friday. Friday or "furahi day" (in kswahili) is special day, it's time for total relax and blust. It doesn't matter if one is working class or jobless, rich or poor, CEO or assistant, furahi is a day when everybody must go out and get drunk.
Many locals call it Tusker day, after the most polupar drink, Kenyan beer which have very good quality......
Rooting for Manchester United
For reasons best known to themselves, the people who live in Nairobi have a huge interest in Manchester United. Manchester United doesn't generally shop for players in Africa, though in 2008 they did pick up one from Angola.
Yet, it seems that anywhere you go, there are people wearing Manchester United t-shirts (including at a wedding!) and in some of the grocery stores you can find birthday, anniversary and wedding cakes decorated for Manchester United.
This first photo shows the cake rack in the Uchumi supermarket on Ngong Road, and indeed about half of the cakes here celebrate Manchester United in some fashion or other. Some other football teams are popular (Arsenal cakes are also on this cake rack, as you can see, and a few others are available as well). However, no team seems to have penetrated the Kenyan market quite as well as the Manchester United.
Naturally, you can see footballers in most any open flat (and sometimes not so flat!) field all over Kenya, including Nairobi! (see the rest of the photos!).
- Arts and Culture
Thomas is my favourite sculpture in Nairobi, it is work of South African artist Claudette Schreuders, and representating Thomas a Maasai guy who used to be Claudette's guard during her two months stay at Nairobi. "He lives in the city but his heart is at home", that's the way Claudette saw Thomas. Those who know Maasais cannot agree more then that. Claudette creates carved and painted wooden figures of Africans. The sculpture stands at busy Aga Khan Walk.
War Memorial Statues could be seen at the Kenyatta Avenue, it is statue of three African soldiers standing next to each other. The monumennt is memorial to the Africans who fought and died in both WWI and WWII. The British colonial government did recruit Africans to partecipate in that wars, in particularly to Asian front.
The Peace Pole stands right at the entrance to the big open space where the gigantic statue of Jomo kenyatta could be seen. It is memory of the bomb blast victims, in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, 7th August 1998. The message on the pole says: "May peace prevail on earth".
Virtually all cultures have fairly elaborate ceremonies established for marriage. Nairobi is no exception, though there are certainly elements of adjustments here that are not necessarily in keeping with what could be found in the rest of Kenya, or even the surrounding countryside around Nairobi.
People and vehicles arrive very decorated - just as they do in most cultures.
Generally, weddling last a long time, and there is a lot of waiting involved because usually people arrive quite a bit later than the scheduled start time.
Music? You bet there is music of all sorts. Sometimes traditional chanting with no instruments, and sometiems with modern accompanyment, but there is always music of some sort.
Visitor participation is definitely a part of the wedding ceremony, and you will certainly hear loud shoults of celebration from the people gathered to celebrate the union.
Photographers are drawn to weddlings like flies. In many cases these are not official photographers, but are there to sell their photos after the celebration is over. This is definitely a development of modern times and certainly has its origins in the arrival of Polariod cameras in the area. Sometimes it may seem that these people are annoying, as it seems a bit disruptive to have 10 or so photographers battling for position around a couple celebrating their wedding vows. However, this is Africa and not Europe or America. People view such things differently here.
I have been told that weddings must occur during daylight to be legal, which means that ceremonies may be cut short or altered if there are several weddings in the day in a church, and the first several run late.
- Arts and Culture
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