There’s going to be a lot of buzz and hoopla about Kenya with President Obama’s impending trip. I grew up in Kenya. It’s my home. My family has lived here for more than 100 years.
Growing up in Nairobi is such a multi cultural environment. We celebrated all cultures, holidays and foods. Our family business was meat and fish and we had a shop in Westlands. We would pick the school bus up at Sarit Center every day to Langata, where the traffic was nowhere near as bad as it is today. Ugali and chicken curry was (and is) my favorite dish. I also still love a samosa in a mandazi (a donut like hollow sweet snack) and tea. Mombasa to dip in the beautiful, warm Indian Ocean over Christmas, Naivasha and the Rift valley on weekends and picnics in Nairobi National Park.
It’s the first time I am not covering a major Kenya related event for CNN. The beauty for me, this time around, is really about doing stories that I have a personal interest in, and that I think demonstrates diverse Kenyan voices. In case you’re only going to start reading and watching news on Kenya, because of the news hook (Obama) this week, here are five things to know.
-We are not all about security problems, sunrises and sunsets, wild animals, poaching or beaches. Yes that’s all there, but there’s so much more going on.
-As the US does summer cookouts in gardens and rooftops, Kenya has nyama choma, all year round. This is our national BBQ and goes well with a Tusker Beer.
-Speaking of which, if you’re in Kenya drink the famous Tusker beer with a glass filled half way, then add a drink called Stoney Tangawizi to it. Delicious sundowner.
-Learn Sheng. It’s a mix of Swahili and English and is the street talk that call the cool kids know.
-China really has helped us commute in the country with our new superhighways, but traffic in some spots is still a nightmare. Eg. JKIA Airport to my house.
Drop the stereotypes and be open about a country that, at the heart of it, is filled with diverse, talented, passionate and creative people that are taking Kenya to new and inspiring heights.
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