If I had a shilling for every time I heard “Madame, how do you find Kenya?”… Ok, I wouldn’t be rich, but I could’ve at least bought a cold drink and a plate of chips! If I had wanted to be mischievous I could have said, “I went to Europe and took a right turn!”
Some Europeans took what was my right turn and landed in Kenya. The British claimed Kenya as one of their colonies in the mid 1880’s. Kenya began to fight for it’s freedom in 1922 with various uprisings. In 1951, the Mau Mau uprising began and in 1952 England declared war on the Mau Mau. The British managed to recruit the Kikuyu, one of Kenya’s larger tribes, along with the Christians’ opposition to the Mau Mau and turned the war for freedom into a civil war. Kenya remained a colony until December 1963. Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president and remained president until his death in 1978. Kenyatta’s vice-president, Daniel arap Moi became president. Moi is currently still Kenya’s president.
The Kenya of today is a very peaceful and beautiful country in comparison to most African nations. Tourists are made more than welcome. If you get lost in Kenya there is always a family ready to take you in for the night. Generally, tourists are safe in Kenya. In fact, it is quite safe to hitchhike in Kenya during the day – not so in the night (especially if you are female). The weather is wonderful all year round with an average temperature around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The climate is humid on the coast and dry inland. The wildlife is absolutely spectacular. Giraffe, zebra, impala, elephants, lions, cheetahs, hippos, and rhinos are just a few of what can be observed on a safari in Kenya.
Kenya is also known as the ‘Cradle of Humanity’ and is well known for its archeological finds. Many fossils, including skulls, have been found of early man. An interesting note, while I was in Kenya as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, I recall being told that apples did not grow in Kenya. Now in the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible, Eve was tricked by the serpent and ate of the tree of knowledge. Rumor has it that that tree was an apple tree. This all led to speculation among us volunteers as to whether or not Kenya could have been Eden. I never did see an apple tree in Kenya nor did I see apples being sold in the marketplace.
So, how do I find Kenya? Well, this is a Kenyan’s way of asking “How do you like Kenya?”. I find Kenya just fine.