Kenya: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Culture Smart!)

October 31, 2020
Kenya: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Culture Smart!)

Known as the “Cradle of Mankind,” the original Garden of Eden,and the place where, six million years ago, Millennium Man walkedthe Tugen Hills, Kenya is the ethnic homeland of us all. It wasfrom Kenya’s nurturing embrace that the earliest humans wanderedforth to colonize the world.Kenya later became the adopted home of more than seventydifferent groups of ethnic African migrants, each with its owndistinctive cultural identy. It is a land of miraculouslyharmonious contrasts: tropical ice, teeming wilderness, vibrantculture, and gentle tolerance. A place where, despite the burdensof poverty, drought, and famine, the phrase Hakuna matata (“noproblem”) embodies the national attitude, and a smile is the mostvaluable currency.Culture Smart! Kenya is not intended as a travel guide. It won’ttell you how to climb Mount Kenya or where to spot lions; but itwill tell you how to make the most of your visit by interactingfully with the people. It describes many different aspects ofKenyan life, both private and public, from traditional Africancustoms to modern business practices. By offering insights intopeople’s behaviour, values, and attitudes, it will prepare you forcultural differences and help you to respond with respect andunderstanding.Karibu means “welcome” in Swahili, and is the usual answer tothe question Hodi? which means “May I draw near?” Traditionally avisitor to an encampment would call this question from the darknessbeyond the fire, and the answer would be returned: “Welcome, stepinto the light.”