Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kenyan Time

Yesterday we walked around downtown Nairobi with our guide, Keriuki. As we crossed streets we noticed that they have countdown timers for the pedestrians like we have at home. Except that these timers start at 60 seconds.  Time stretches out here.  Pedestrians talk and wander; no one seems to be on a mission.  And many times they meet friends on the street.  Impossible to pass without chatting. Kenyans are friendly, social people and it is delightful to be among them.

Keriuki gave us a brief history lesson.  Kenya is celebrating their independence from Britain this weekend with a three day holiday.  Although official independence happened in December 1963, October was when Kenya began self government.  There have been four presidents in 50 years.  The current president,  Uhuru Kenyatta, is the son of the first president, Jomo Kenyatta.  Uhuru's name means "freedom" in Swahili.  We heard part of his speech on the radio this morning.  And we drove past his official residence where people were arriving in fine clothes to celebrat with him.

We also saw the statue honoring Dedan Kimathi who was a leader of the Mau Mau Uprising, which was a guerrilla movement for independence that attacked the British directly.  It is only recently that this man is honored as a freedom fighter and not a terrorist.  

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