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My Experience

CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE OR SO…

One can never have enough of Nairobi city; I mean, it literally bursts of all that life has to offer. That is why we all run towards the middle and more-so we all happen to converge in this city for “the hustle” as it is popularly known. Nothing political though. Unfortunately for many in it, it’s a cycle of office, home and religious gatherings including the waganga kutoka Kitui. Experiences are often reserved for “the rich’‘ though this myth is slowly losing its grip. Thanks to millennials, life is slowly becoming a rich blend of work hard and play harder; we are truly breaking the cycle. Weird that I regard myself as a millennial. I don’t know about you but I grew up knowing that traveling was reserved for December. You bet we would all look forward to boarding a bus and taking that 10 hour road trip. Did I just say road trip? Haha my bad. It was a freaking journey. The only time the bus would stop was when some kid was sick or men wanted to stand by the roadside. God knows what they do standing. 

Not any more, Nairobi has taught me otherwise, like many I am doing away with dull moments. As if that’s not enough, I can learn about how to peacefully coexist with my brothers and sisters from different tribes through boosting my cultural intelligence.

CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE

The Trek set out on a culture fact and fun finding mission at the Bomas of Kenya. It was a roughly 30 minutes drive from the CBD. Traffic aside, it was a typical town drive experience worth every minute. The conversations around the appreciation of the cultural blend in the group was simply gratifying.

We all appreciated the greenery when we arrived. Yes, some of us see trees when we leave our homes. The air was fresh and I personally could pick the birds chirping. Mind you it was early morning so you can imagine the feeling. Truly the village ambiance had been beautifully created. A few inquiries and our schedule was inverted. Apparently no one had given keen attention to their hours of operation. I am not about to do marketing for them, you can google and get the timings, but we were waaay too early for-the dance. 

With time on our side, we strolled to the zone dedicated to the bomas. By the Kenyan definition, a Boma is a Homestead. I have no idea what the Oxfords say. I’m not sure I care either. But a quick guess, In some English words it’s basically traditional Architectures and design. 

As at the time of our visit, there were 23 bomas for us to appreciate. Some Kenyan tribes had their own unique set-ups but those who shared some cultural values were grouped together. Generally the nature of construction material was similar. And believe me we got to appreciate the fact that our fore-fathers were smart and very creative. They mainly used mud and cow dung for walling and thatched with grass and makuti leaves (in the coastal areas). The doors were made from wood, reeds, ropes or in some instances the gap left open to symbolize fearlessness. Kindly guess this brave tribe? 

The general layouts of each hut was well thought of because the husband had his hut, so did the first, second and even the third wife. Oh My, our grandfathers were just what we defined as MEN. Who do you think had the biggest Casa in the Boma? Well, you guessed it right, the first wife. The co-wives can suck it. Hehe

Another interesting feature was the partitioning and compartments done, skillfully enough to even accommodate a fireplace. I am still in awe! It was also encouraging to learn that all the partners in the marriage set up contributed to the provisions of the household. For instance in most tribes, the wives had their own granaries. How cool is that? Your effort had tangible results. This for once, throughout the entire exploration got me thinking of how we handle the roles in our houses today; still a tussle of you should and I should. Then again it’s the women, in some cultures, who constructed the houses. Ok at-least putting up the walls. You know, you can decide to have that open kitchen hut. I am smiling broadly with lots of respect for our grandmothers. I think modernization has made the girl child lazy. We can have a whole day’s debate on this topic. On the other hand the boy child was also held in high regard and encouraged to be Manly. Most Bomas had boys’ huts strategically placed near the entrance of the homestead, to assure security. How would the girl child survive without the boy-child; me asking you. Finally, we got to pick out a weird positioning of the grandmother’s hut just opposite the boys hut, at the entrance of the homestead. This I have not understood to-date. But at that spot is where we had our dance. Yes, we just consulted youtube and voila the happy spirits were awakened, moves unleashed, so much that hunger pangs were unbearable.

After the sumptuous lunch, we were back for round two of the dance. This time, we sat to get entertained. However, the energies from the performances were overwhelming to an extent that some Trekkers got on stage; to shake a leg and a shoulder depending where you come from. I don’t blame them because imagine sitting down to watch mwomboko or dudu dance without pulling some moves yourself. And after one hour or so, the performances were over and so was the day’s planned activities. Life can be rich, but so can be your experiences. At a price as low as Ksh. 500 bob.

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