My buddy was walking around downtown Nairobi and snapped this picture of some political graffiti.

"Child of a snake is a snake"
“Child of a snake is a snake”

I think this pretty accurately represents the feeling of young Kenyans towards the old fogeys who run their country.

Kenya, Rants

Walking home from work the other day I passed very close to the road construction on Wayaki Way. The old, worn road had been grazed and the workers were shoveling hot, new tarmac onto the road from the back of a truck. I had to squint and hold my breath as I passed for those few seconds, yet the two guys shoveling had zero special equipment (other than shovels)—no eye gear, work boots, gloves or masks! All this got me thinking about the common mwananchi (roughly “citizen” in Swahili), and how stuff like this is probably typical.

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“I was counted,” because Kenya is in the middle of counting Kenyans. The census, which apparently happens every decade, is a very manual process: from August 24th to 31st people are walking from house to house all over Kenya inquiring about certain welfare indicators. I’ve heard the list of questions includes things like how many kids in each home, how many toilets and which kind (flush or pit latrine?), diet, occupation, salary, etc. I wasn’t in the house when the counters came, so I’ll never be quite sure what questions they asked.

All I have to go on is the story I heard from my roommate’s girlfriend Tasleem. My Swahili isn’t so good, and neither is her English, and that makes it all the more hilarious. When I got home from work the security guard told me the census people had come, so I asked Tasleem, “Walikuuliza maswali gani?” (which questions did they ask you?). According to her, the representatives came in to see the living conditions, asking who lives in this room, and that one, etc. She told them, “Watu wawili wanaishi huko juu, mtu moja anaishi hapa chini” (two people live up there, one person lives down here). When I asked her if she told them Steve and I were foreigners she said no. Hah!

Mimi ni Mkenya (I’m a Kenyan). Also, she told me she informed them that I was a teacher, which is a close enough guess. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure she knows my name, because whenever I come home she just says, “Sema, bro?!” (like “say something, bro”). Karibu Kenya!