Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interesting tidbits about Kenya!

Kenya is named after Mount Kenya - which means "Mountain of Whiteness". Mount Kenya is 17,000 ft high and is the second largest mountain in Africa.

Kenya is known as the "Cradle of Mankind" - the original garden of Eden! Kenya is the ethnic homeland of us all. Lake Turkana is where the first Home erectus took his first steps upright, discovered in the form of fossils dating back to 6,500,000-50,000 BCE.

There are 56 national parks and reserves in Kenya, offering sanctuary to some of the world's most ancient and threatened creatures. This country is home to some of the last primordial rain forest and more species of birds than anywhere else on the earth!

Kenya is the adopted home of more than 70 different groups of migrant Africans - where the national attitude is summarized by "Hakuna matata". Meaning "no problem" - remember Lion King?

"Karibu" means "welcome" in Swahili, and is the common answer to "Hodi?" which translates as "May I draw near?" Swahili (Kiswahili) is the national language and English is the official language. (This mean no documents have to be translated in the adoption process!) There are also many different ethnic languages including Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic. There is estimated to be around 80 different dialects! Most Kenyans speak 3 languages, their mother tongue, Swahili and English.

Kenya's tribal mix is approximately: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 12%, Kisii 11%, Meru 6% and other nationalities 10%.

The Maasai is one of Kenya's best known tribes.
"The Maasai have long remained the ideal mental conceptualization of the Western European idea of an African "noble savage." Tall, elegant, handsome; walking with a gentle spring of the heel, seemingly proud and indifferent to all but the most necessary external influences." S.S. Sankan
The Maasai are known for their constant quest for water and grazing for their cattle. The have a "mystical love of their cattle." The milk and blood of their cattle are their preferred diet. Clad in the red shuka (blanket), intricate beadings, dagger and plaited hair - the Maasai are visually stunning.

The life expectancy is Kenya is 48.93 and 50% of the estimated 35 million residence live below the poverty line. 85% of the population over the age of 15 are literate.

Nairobi is the capital of this country. Nairobi is from the Maasai word "Nyrobi" meaning "Place of Cool Waters," also known as the "Green City in the Sun" and "Safari Capital of the World!"

The flag bears green, black and red. Green for the land, black for the people and red for the blood spilled in the struggle for freedom.

For years Kenya had the distinction of registering the highest population growth in the world. Until recently, a man's social and economic status was largely determined by the number of children he sired. It was not uncommon to hear a man boast of fathering a hundred children, since polygamy was widely accepted. Kenya tradition also says that once married, the couple must name a child after each grandparent. This means that they would have to keep producing children until they had 2 of each sex. Kenya has recently experienced a decline in the population growth due to the impact of AIDS, and also from the growing realization that today's families cannot support so many children.

The source of all this information can be found in Kenya - Culture Smart! by Jane Barsby. I highly recommend it!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Awesome information Jolene. I am so excited to read about your adoption process!