Rachel “Wambui” Fox

The first time a few other members of the Kenya team and I ventured down the road from the Daraja House, we were followed by a giggling group of young children. They trailed a ways behind us for a short while before they built up the courage to come closer. Soon they left all hesitation behind and ran on ahead of us. They bounded quickly over rough spots in the road while we wazungu (white people) continued slowly and carefully. Several questions ran through my mind as we continued along the path. This was definitely not the first instance where random children accompanied us on our journeys, so I began to wonder why so many parents allowed their children to run wild with people they did not even know. Were the parents of these children too busy to watch their kids? Were they unaware of what their children were doing? Or were they just super-trusting of white people?

When we came upon a waterfall, we stopped to admire it for a bit and take pictures. Dr. Dixon marveled at how much the recent mudslide had washed out around the waterfall while the rest of us were unsure what to make of it since we had no idea what it usually looked like. While we all stood in some state of wonder, whether over the waterfall or the erosion, the children ran around like monkeys climbing up banks and sliding back down them. They moved around the jagged landscape with such ease. I was slightly jealous of their maneuverability skills.

Suddenly Janelle’s voice broke through the playful noise of the children, “Baboon!” she shouted as she pointed towards the top of the waterfall. This was the first time we had seen baboons since we arrived, so we excitedly lifted our cameras as a couple more baboons came out from the foliage. The children, however, were not so pleased. They ran past us and started climbing up the cliff that surrounded the waterfall towards the baboons. How they did this with such ease and skill I am still not sure. When they reached a flat spot they picked up surrounding rocks and started throwing them towards the baboons.

No one seemed to know what to do for a minute, but Dr. Dixon pulled the situation together and instructed us to start heading back. He called out to the kids, “Come on, kids—it’s time to go home.” As soon as he said these words the kids turned around and hurried down the bank. I let them dart past me, afraid I would fall if I traveled alongside their fast-moving bodies.

As we continued down the road back to the Daraja House, none of the kids made any attempt to go back and mess with the baboons. They did as they were told and followed us home. As we walked it occurred to me that many parts of this situation would not happen in America. One, there would not be baboons. Okay, that was an obvious one. Second, Dr. Dixon, or anyone for that matter, would not have tried to correct the behavior of children who are not their own. Third, had Dr. Dixon still given instruction to an American child, they may not have obeyed. Thinking about these last two statements helped me to understand the community element of Kenyan culture.

Before leaving on the trip, the Kenya team read a portion of Jomo Kenyatta’s book Facing Mt. Kenya. The first section we read went into detail about the kinship system among the Kikuyu people. In the early days of the Kikuyu tribe, they lived together by family in large complexes under a specific pattern of authority. By design the people lived very community-oriented lives in which everyone looked out for one another. One example is that children looked upon their aunts with just as much endearment as they did their own mother, and cousins acted just like brothers and sisters.

Though today’s Kikuyu do not operate just as they did in the early days described by Kenyatta, they remain very community-oriented. Understanding this founding principle of Kikuyu culture sheds some light on our encounter with the children at the waterfall.

For one thing parents are not afraid to let their children wander about because it is expected that other adults surrounding them will look after them. It is not that they were unconcerned about their children’s whereabouts, they simply trusted in other adult members of their tribe. While we were with the children, their parents trusted us to watch over them. This also explains the children’s easy obedience with Dr. Dixon. These children are used to taking orders from adults other than their parents and do it without hesitation.

Things are so different in America where this community parenting does not exist. The whole incident brings the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” into a whole new light because in Kenya it really rings true.

Comments

  1. Hello dude,i like this Ones blog very much. do u have suggestion for my homepage? thanks as teacup pomeranian

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is something I actually have to try and do a lot of analysis into, thanks for the post Grizzlybeatz.com 

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you really realize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my web site =). We could have a link alternate arrangement between us! Taruhan Bola

    ReplyDelete
  4. Preferably, when you gain knowledge, are you able to mind updating your website with an increase of information? It is very ideal for me. men's haircut Salt Lake City

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. Game Android Terbaik

    ReplyDelete
  6. I’m new to your blog and i really appreciate the nice posts and great layout. penn station nutrition

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Many thanks Buy Instrumentals

    ReplyDelete
  8. my English teacher hate me cause i keep writing about somebody from The WANTED called Jay, she gives me evils and low Royalty Free Beats

    ReplyDelete
  9. window treatment materials these days have increased in price, i wish they have a price drop next year~ Bus Simulator Indonesia

    ReplyDelete
  10. Most certainly, i have to point out that a crafting skills not necessarily which will undesirable, then again i am able to you may enhance any publishing ability. Working with reduced written text to imply the actual. You could attempt yahoo for creating knowledge guidance website or services. free powerpoint template

    ReplyDelete
  11. I must thank you for your efforts you have made in publishing this web site post. I hope the identical best article by you later on also. Actually your creative writing expertise has encouraged me to start out my very own website now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is really a fine model of it. mobile medical cart

    ReplyDelete
  12. This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! Laptop Overheat

    ReplyDelete
  13. After city whatever of your blogposts I staleness say i constitute this fact one to mostly be top snick. I hump a weblog also and want to repost a few shear of your articles on my own journal tract. Should it be alright if I use this as longish I own write your web journal or make a inward unite to your article I procured the snippet from? If not I see and could not do it without having your acceptance . I hit assemblage marked this article to sound and zynga chronicle willful for testimonial. Anyway appreciate it either way! apartemen jakarta selatan

    ReplyDelete
  14. First off I want to state great weblog! I needed a quick issue in which I want to inquire if you don’t brain. I had been curious to discover how you center your self as well as clear your mind just before creating. I’ve were built with a difficult time cleaning my personal ideas to get my personal ideas on the market. I really do want to write nonetheless it simply appears like the initial Ten to fifteen mins tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Virtually any recommendations or even tips? Thanks! travel photography

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don’t normally comment on blogs.. But nice post! I just bookmarked your site insurance health

    ReplyDelete
  16. Awesome! I appreciate your input to this matter. It has been insightful. my blog: how to eat a girl out average cost car insurance

    ReplyDelete
  17. I recently came across your blog and have been scaning along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed scaning what you all have to say grizzlybeatz.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Author has many informative facts, I’ve learned a lot. I’m confused as to why I didn’t add it as a bookmark before because it’s surely a site I want in my daily visit list. Thanks again, keep up the unique work best website design company in accra

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own web site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a great example of it. BandarQQ

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What’s up baboons and baboonettes?