Monday, October 21, 2013

A holiday in Nairobi

Today was a holiday in Nairobi.  Everyone was out on the streets. The stores were closed, except the shoe stores for some unaccountable reason.  The National Archives were free, and as I walked I noticed families and children with balloon headpieces and tribal face paint.  Where were they coming from?  I should have known.  As I walked toward the family groups I realized that they were coming from Uhuru Park.  The festivities were winding down, but the cute kids were everywhere 
 The Kenyan flag was everywhere too. The colors are:  black for the people; red for the blood shed to gain independence; green for the beautiful land; white for peace. The tribal shield and crossed lances stand for the courage and determination of the people.
 On top of one of the buildings was an enormous cell phone tower. 75% of Kenayns carry a cell phone. They skipped the era of land lines and went straight to the cell. 
  I spent a couple hours inside the National Archives.  There was wide variety in the collection. The tribal shields and weapons were surprisingly beautiful and graceful.  The jewelry was impressive. Many different materials were put to use to create stunning pieces.  The beads were sometimes made from malachite and amber but also from stringing together finely sliced reeds or porcupine quills.  There was an amazing stamp collection which I was too ignorant to fully appreciate. And some contemporary paintings and sculpture. Finally there were displays of photos of Kenyan political heros.  My education is deepening as I understand better the role of British colonialism and the work to create the independent nation I see today on its 50th anniversary.
  I was impressed by how stylish and well dressed the Kenyans on the streets seemed to be.  It made me rethink my wardrobe choices. Tomorrow I visit the Kwa Watoto School.

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