Report on Kenyan Culture
1. It is through a poster pasted on the international student dorm that I was able to meet a Kenyan partner who was not hesitant at all in exchanging information about their culture. Having spent barely a year in the US, my partner was excited about participating in this project, making it such an interesting thing to do.
2. A photo sharing session clearly shows me how different the Kenyan culture is. The dressing could be generally described as conservative even though some dressing codes reveal a significant influence from the Western culture. Wedding photos however bring out the cultural differences. The bride and groom together with the guests don attire that is made from traditional prints of material and the head gear and head scarves is also a feature that stands out as most women seemed to be dressed in it.
3. Further still, it appears that most of the photos indicate that Kenyans are sub-divided into various ethnic groups and each group has its own cultural values. This therefore shows that the Kenyan population is not characterized by a general culture that is valued by the entire population as a whole. However, people in the urban areas have taken up Western cultures and their dressing is more or less similar to the dress code in the US.
4. A large percentage of Kenyans are Christians thus Christmas is one of the holidays celebrated by most people in Kenya. During this time, quite a number of people travel to the villages and to the coastal region of the country. It is common for parents to buy new clothes and gifts for their children during Christmas. Just like turkey is made during thanksgiving in US, delicacies of Christmas in Kenya are considered incomplete if chicken, goat meat or chapatti misses in the menu. People go to church in the morning and after sampling the day's meals, traditional dances are also performed to entertain guests and the dress code of the day is basically traditional attire.
5. I would rather discuss the wedding in my culture. Normally, this defers from one tribe to another. In my country Kenya, there are 42 tribes and all have their own cultures. In my tribe, Luo, a man has to pay dowry to the bride’s parents after which they may get married in church or traditionally. Traditional marriage is all about meeting the in-laws and coming to an agreement that the two can be married. The Kenyan law does acknowledge traditional marriages as legal. I would not say there is a specific dress that is worn by any parties during engagements or weddings. It all depends with how that particular family wants it.
6. The current education system in Kenya is 8-4-4 where one spends 8 years in primary school,4 at secondary level and another 4 at the university level. The Kenyan government funds the primary education where all children get to go to school for free unless it’s a private institution. I began school, nursery school, when I was 4 years old. There is no specific age where most people stopped going to school This depends with an individual and their family’s ability to keep them in school in terms of their school funding. Others drop out due to lack of fees at different ages hence, there is no specific age where most people stop going to school in my country. The teachers in Kenya are expected to be like parents to the students by guiding and teaching them to be better people in the society. As well, there are different colleges and universities in my country and all are very competitive whether commercial or not.
7. The adornment that was practiced by men in my tribe was the removal of the upper six teeth as a symbol of beauty. It’s not practiced anymore. The social classes, occupations or being single or married don’t matter much these days.
8. I am not sure I have any culture I prefer since many of the traditional cultures that were practiced by my people were meaningless or misleading. However, that is not to say that all our cultures were misleading. I have nothing against your cultures but I think it’s too fast and almost everything is allowed.
Note: The added question for number 8 is; do you prefer the US or Western Culture or you would rather stick with the cultures practiced by the Kenyan people?