They told me not to roll down my windows while in a car.
“They will ask for all your money and if you don’t give it to them, they’ll throw poop at you.”
“Human feces or like dog poop?” I asked Archana Dodhia, the Kenyan I had met at the Dubai airport.
Don’t use a cell phone in public.
“At all?” I asked a former Medill graduate who had reported in Kenya at the same station for which I’m currently placed.
“They’ll steal it right out your hand. It’s just like Southside Chicago,” she said.
“Don’t drink the water.”
Sorry mom, I’ve been drinking the tap water, but I make sure to boil it for 3 minutes. Hasn’t given me any problems.
I asked Pastor Frida if she is a Luo. She said she is. I asked if it’s ok to ask Kenyans about their ethnic background. She said it’s a sensitive issue. This surprised me, sort of. In Nigeria, people aren’t sensitive about what ethnic group they belong to. An Igbo will proudly tell you that he/she is Igbo. Yorubas are proud to be Yorubas. They same goes for the Efiks, Esans, Hausas, Kanuris, Fulanis, Ibibios, Ijaws, Urobos, etc. Perhaps that is way Nigeria is not yet a unified nation, but is more of a conglomeration of hundreds of ethnic groups. But that’s another story, rather another blog.
Kenya seems to be much more unified. I admire Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The Mau Mau were mostly Kikuyu, but they fought for others. Yes, ethnic rivalries break out, but I sense some sort of unity among the people and I’ve only been here for a few days. On the television, I don’t see too many references to a particular group. I see references to the people of Kenya.
“Don’t drive in a car without wearing a seat belt. Kenyans drive crazy,” someone told me with an unblinking gaze.
Today, I was in a car driving with a Kenyan colleague. He was driving 150mph. My seat belt remained fastened. Even after we had parked.