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Tribes, The Kenyan Way

In Kenya there are around 40 tribes which value and cherish their cultures everyday. What is disturbing is that when you go to a travel agent office or website the only pictures displayed are for the Masai tribe. Where are the other 39 tribes? This is sending the wrong message to the whole world that it is the way we all dress up or present ourselves. Where are the pictures of the luos, Samburu, Taita, Kambas, Mijikenda, kikuyu, swahili etc. Even on a website which was narrating the history of Mombasa had a picture of a Masai woman and I was wondering what that Masai woman had to do with Mombasa.

These cultures are so diversified and I think it is amazing that despite the differences, we have all been living together peaceful. I also believe that it would be very interesting and a marketing tool for tourist attraction if
we have more cultures displayed on our tourism billboards and offices. Just imagine entering a Kenya safari organizing company and you see at least ten of the 40 tribes dressed in their traditional attires, promoting what their culture values most, that would be interesting.

We have more tourists these days who would like to have the real experience of being in a foreign country rather than being caged in hotel walls and when they go back to their countries they think they know Kenya when actually they don’t know anything. They are protected so much by the hotels at the expense of the real experience of a country and its culture.

People have different tastes and I think if a tourist is given the opportunity to see how many different cultures we have, one could select to spend maybe a day with a local family to get the real feeling and experience of how people live in Kenya. Even the hotels or the travel agents can organize for a safe, secure one day living experience as a local Kenyan. I am sure there are many families willing to do that.

When you are abroad and you tell someone you are from Africa, immediately the first image in their mind is the women shown in CNN. The malnourished mother trying to breastfeed her malnourished child, malnourished women carrying their babies on the back and a load of their rags on their heads, the war torn countries, others will even dare asking you if you had ever slept on a bed in Africa.

They really don’t know how normal people live in Africa or Kenya to be specific. With all the resources available on the internet you would think that people are reading and researching, but you need to have interest in something or some place for you to research otherwise you only know what is being aired on the television. Some of them are surprised when they come to Kenya and see things are different.

At least if we have more cultures displayed on our Safaris and hotels websites, people will be curious and would be interested to know more.


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