Kenya, or officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in the East Africa. Being a developing economy, about half of its population lives in poverty. Africa’s popular destination, safari, is Kenya and the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is its economic hub. Much of the electricity produced in Kenya is through the hydroelectricity. The indigenous people referred Kenya as ‘Mt. Kirinyaga’ which means ‘mountain of whiteness’. However, the British could not pronounce the name of the country easily and so it was called Kenya. It was the struggle of the liberation icon Jomo Kenyatta that led Kenya achieve its independence in the year 1963. It was a de facto one-party state until 1982, after which the Kenya African National Union (KANU) made a sole legal party in Kenya.

Where is Kenya located?

Kenya is situated in Eastern Africa, on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, Somalia to the north-east and Tanzania to the south. Covering a total area of 580,367 sq. km, it lies between 01° 00’N latitude and 38° 00’E longitude. Also, it is located in a direction with Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west and Ethiopia to the north. Kenya stretches a coastline of 536 km and is slightly larger than twice the size of Nevada. The natural resources of the land include limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, gypsum and hydropower.

How is the land and weather condition in Kenya?

The climate in Kenya is diverse. There are variations from the coasts to the interior. The climate is tropical along the coasts and is arid and semi-arid in the interior. It is generally warm along the coastline in the Indian Ocean and has savannah grasslands. The capital, Nairobi, is cool as it approaches Mount Kenya, the snow-capped peaks. Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake and the weather around it is warm and humid. The terrain is forested in the western region with a combination of the temperate climate. The land has low plains that rise to the central highlands and is fertile in the west.

How is the flora and fauna in Kenya?

Strategically located, the physiography has contributed to the variety in the flora and fauna of Kenya. One can see the influence of the altitudes and variations in the climatic conditions on the vegetation and wildlife in Kenya. The leaves of Acacias are eaten by a variety of animals. An expensive tree of the grasslands is the baobab, which is found in the low-lying areas of Kenya. There are dense groves of bamboo, cedar and junipers on the mountains. Also, there is abundant animal life in Kenya. The major species of the wildlife include the elephants and tiny antelopes. The other animals are rhinoceros, buffalo, lion and leopard. In order to ban the extinction, hunting was banned in Kenya.

What are the food habits of the Kenyans?

The staple food of the Kenyans is corn. It is made as porridge and is sometimes combined with mashed beans, potatoes and vegetables and a new dish is made with it named ‘irio’. Ugali is another popular meal of the Kenyans and is eaten in a big pot, using a spoon to pick up the beans and vegetables. The common dishes are mboga, which are the boiled greens and matoke, banana porridge. Since the Kenyans are poor, meat is expensive and hence is rarely eaten. The primary food of the herders is highly dependent on milk. The snacks of the Kenyans consist of corn on the cob, mandazi, which is fried dough, potato chips and peanuts. Popular drinks in Kenya are milked sugar, palm wine, beer and uki, which is a special of brew with honey. On special occasions, goat is slaughtered and meat of sheep and cow are served at many celebrations. The special dish of the Kenyans is nyama choma, which is a burnt meat.

How is the overall culture of the Kenyans?

The culture of Kenya is influenced from Africa and Great Britain. There is a very low section of middle class in Kenya. The rich ones are extremely rich and poor ones poorer. The wealthiest are the Kikuyu and the herders are the Massai. A sign of wealth highly depends on the number of children one has. Western dressing is adopted by the people in the urban areas. Women normally wear a kanga, which is a cloth wrapped around as a skirt and headscarves. The tribal women wear gorfa, a sheep or a goatskin dyed red or black and wrapped around with a leather cord and rope belt. Women in Kenya are regarded as the second-class citizens in Kenya. Apart from working in the fields, women take care of the children, cook, market, etc. Men are dominant and control the monetary affairs of the family. There are cases of domestic violence against women. Also, polygamy is prevalent in Kenya. A bride price is negotiated with the woman’s father. The wedding is conducted in the husband’s home. The bride price is a minimum of 10 cows and additional dowry.  Kenyans greet each other and hence, they are friendly and hospitable. Visitors are usually served with food or tea. There is a mixture of religions in Kenya. People are Protestants, Roman Catholics, animists, Muslims, etc. Majority of the Kenyans practice Christianity and visit churches, especially on matters of polygamy. English and Kiswahili Swahili are the two official languages of Kenya. Kiswahili Swahili is an Arabic word which means ‘coast’ and is a combination of Arabic and the African language Bantu. However, English is spoken as a business language.

What is the economic structure of Kenya?

Although an advanced country, Kenya is still a developing one with about 38% of its population in absolute poverty. Traditionally, Kenya has been a liberal economy and there is minimal interference of the government on the pricing strategies of the oil industries. The agricultural produce of Kenya includes tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy products. In addition, government has encouraged the small-scale industries like the plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, etc. Kenya exports tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish and cement to Uganda, Tanzania, Netherlands, UK, US, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenya imports machinery and transportation equipments, motor vehicles, iron and steel and resins and plastics from India, China, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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