Category Archives: Kenya

Selling Kenya

Kenyan Personality

I’ve just been surfing my telly with more-than-terrestrial-but-less-than-proper-freeview channels on it for a little bit of junk to watch while I have my lunch after finally making it home from work (I made it up the M1 fine but Leeds has shut Armley it seems..).

As it’s Saturday afternoon there’s not much on so I found myself clicking on Afrika Rising, a programme or indeed channel (I wasn’t paying that much attention) focusing on African culture, and in this case a singer called Asa, who’s Nigerian. It wasn’t particularly her music that made me want to write this though, although it’s worth a listen, she’s got a beautiful, rich, warm voice with a quirky female-Andre 3000 style about her. She’s also been compared to Bob Marley but I don’t think that’s such a claim to fame as EVERYONE in Africa (well, Kenya anyway), is obsessed with Bob.

What made me want to write is that I wanted to connect again with a little bit of African life. I was only there for a comparatively short time, and with so many other mzungu volunteers, and in such conflicting ideas running through my head about why I was there, that it was hard to form real friendships. But I’ve found myself missing Kenya, and in particular the people that live there, their incredible diversity, persistence, ingenuity, warmth, and joy. I’ve in fact just got in touch with Rhoda, the nurse at the clinic I visited, and it’s been so lovely to hear from her.

So I thought, let’s have a look for some DVDs I can immerse myself in, it’s cheaper than a plane ticket – something maybe Michael-Palin-travelogue-like, where we get to know local people without patronising them. OK I know Michael Palin did Africa in Pole to Pole but I wondered if there was anything else I could reminisce at. My brief search revealed nothing of this genre. Type “Africa” or “Kenya” into Amazon’s search engine and you get glamorous and/or colonial Hollywood movies, a huge number of documentaries on the spectacular natural history of the region, and promotional tourism DVDs plugging the latest faceless 5-star resort or expensive safari with the focus not on exploring and discovery but doing what everyone else does, because that must be what all tourists want to do.

WHERE ARE THE BOOKS AND FILMS ABOUT REAL AFRICAN PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES? WHY AM I BEING SOLD THINGS? WHY IS IT THAT PEOPLE ONLY MAKE DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT THE AFRICAN WILDLIFE? WHY ARE ALL THE FILMS ABOUT GLAMOURISED COLONIALISM, OR WAR, OR FAMINE, OR THE “QUAINT TRADITIONAL TRIBESPEOPLE”?!!! There are not just wildebeest and cheetah in Africa, there are real people and communities, with real, modern problems and it really pisses me off that we are still marginalising the warmth you’ll be met with when you get to know local Kenyans, and I’m sure other Africans, in favour of buying into an out-dated image of a 24/7 traditional lifestyle, as if being able to earn money by showing off your village to strangers for money, is a sustainable substitute for education, rewarding work, and development to be able to solve your own problems.

So, in response to the person who reviewed Julia Bradbury’s South African Walks, yes, people do wear tracksuit bottoms and T-shirts, yes they do all have mobiles, no they don’t have to conform to your expectations of how they should live, and no you shouldn’t be disappointed that people haven’t paraded themselves in full regalia for your viewing pleasure.

And the wildlife – yes I think it should be conserved, just like I think wildlife everywhere should be conserved (although Chris Packham may or may not agree),  but it needs to be done in a much more inclusive way, to avoid the resentment that comes from believing you’re being kicked off your homeland to make sure the foreign tourists have lions to look at. And it’s not even you they’ve paid huge sums of money to so that they can do so. Stop bigging it up to the complete exclusion of the human communities that live in the same environments (and have no idea why we make such a fuss about saving the animals because we never take the time to explain they can’t breed quicker than we can kill them).

I realise Amazon doesn’t hold the monopoly on travelogues and documentaries, but it does help dictate what the market wants. I’m sure there are plenty of shorts and modern real-life docs (we saw one at Sheffield’s DocFest in fact) but they’re not viewed widely enough to challenge preconceptions. And propagation of outdated perceptions simply pigeonholes Kenyans (and other Africans?) into the role of anonymous and passive recipient, completely ignoring the talent and genuine passion that they have that’s just waiting to be nutured so they can fulfil their potential, both collective and individual.

I guess I’ll just have to look back at my pictures instead.

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Mangrove Heaven

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Flamingoes!

My final goodbyes said to everyone in Kimuka, I headed off to see a bit of the rest of Kenya. I’d originally thought I might do a bit of a tour so I could see different parts of the country but I soon realised that it takes days to get from place to place in Africa and that just wouldn’t possible. I was tired of being on my own too and was really missing my bloke Jamie, but I didn’t want to come straight back to the UK without seeing outside Maasailand, having travelled 4,500 miles and not knowing when I might be able to afford to go back.

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View from the Eco Camp Bar

So on the recommendation of my Rough Guide, I booked a week at the Mida Creek Eco Camp on the Coast about 100 miles north of Mombasa – and home to the Giriama people. I wanted seaside – it was by a crystal clear tidal mangrove creek and just south of the national marine park in Watamu:

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Fishing in the Creek

I wanted to see birds and wildlife – the creek is teeming with birds and fish:

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Camp guide vs Fiddler Crab

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Stork, spoonbill, egret, ibis, whimbrel, plover, etc……

There is sealife galore in the marine park, and there is a protected ancient forest along the road which is home to exotic birds, mammals…:

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Baboons in the Morning Mist

and er- huge insects:

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A Lady Millipede

The other brilliant thing about the Mida Ecocamp is that it’s a real community project – a proper example of ecotourism. Felicity, the owner, came from the UK to visit and ended up staying to set it up when she saw how poor the Mida village was, and how it got overlooked by tourists who preferred to stay in the more developed Watamu or Malindi further up the coast.

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Views across the Ecocamp

Under Felicity’s supervision, the camp was built entirely by local people, using local materials, and now employs the villagers as manager, barmen, waiters, cleaners, chefs, tour guides and security guards – Felicity’s trained them up to do it properly. They continue to buy all their produce from local farmers, fishermen and shopkeepers, all the repairs are done by local villagers.

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Giriama Dancers

All the profits go back to the village community too – they’ve paid for a schoolroom and they salary a teacher there.  This year they have been able to pay schoolfees for some of the children too. As you can imagine, the camp has made a huge difference to the village and its community spirit, petty thieving & arguing has stopped, and it’s a gorgeous place to stay, with huts made out of traditional materials on the bright white sand of the creek and a big, breezy open air bar to lounge in.

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Chef Suleman & Me

I had a brilliant time at the camp, was fed and looked after extremely well, and I had a great laugh with all the staff who were also really helpful – they took an interest in me for who I was, and not one of them tried to charm or beg money from me like elsewhere in Kenya. But for me, the biggest relief of all was to at last to find a charity project that benefits everyone, is completely open about how it does that – and most importantly – works.

You can read more about how the camp has helped the local kids and community recently, how to donate, and exactly where your money will go if you choose to help, on the ecocamp’s website here.

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Saying Goodbye – with a Dead Sheep…

Me & Virginia

After my safari trip, I was tempted to avoid the bumpy journey back to Kimuka and go straight from Nairobi to the Coast where I’d decided to spend my final week in Kenya. But Virginia, Daniel and the rest of the villagers who support the MEAC charity had picked that evening to hold a traditional Maasai dinner party as a thankyou for all the volunteers who were about to leave, and I wanted to attend – I didn’t want to be rude – and we’d been promised Maasai dancing!

The Doomed Sheep

This was clearly a bit of an event for the village, all the kids were very excited and everyone got changed into traditional costume. I wasn’t sure what else to expect, but I knew they’d be killing a sheep and roasting it on an open fire, with dancing, singing and jumping while we waited for it to cook.

Maasai Barbecue

Throughout my time in Kenya I’d been a vegetarian as I’d not long started eating meat before I arrived and couldn’t stomach the stewed Kenyan goat and lamb which was hung up in butcheries where the flies got to it. Some of the Kenyan boys, predictably, grabbed one of the dead sheep’s eyes and tried to scare me with it, but it really only succeeded in grossing me out. Everyone from the village attended and the kids especially loved it with a chance to stay up late and play with the wazungucameras, practice their English, and to teach us some Swahili & Maasai songs.

Heather & the village kids

I was told there was no need to bring my own vegetarian food, but everyone was so caught up in preparations that there was nothing but bread and sheep in the end, making it a bit of a hungry evening for me. But despite this, evening was the most comfortable I had ever felt in Maasailand, and I felt a genuine warmth and friendship towards all of us volunteers.

Maasai Singing

Maasai Dancing

When the troupe of Maasai dancers performed for everyone, Virginia made us join in with them – it was really easy to pick up and the boys even had a go at jumping (the higher the man can jump in his dance, the more girls he can claim – in Maasai culture anyway!).

Maasai Jumping

We were presented with Kangas (for the girls) and Shukas (for the boys) in a heartwarming speech that Virginia and Daniel from MEAC gave for us all.

Volunteer ceremony

It made me feel really honoured to have been welcomed into Virginia’s home and the village of Kimuka. I’m not sure that I really did make any lasting difference to their way of life, but I know I’m not going to forget what I’ve learned from them.

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Tall Stories and the Safari Tourist

Oloololo Village

I think it’s important to mention the impact of reserves and safari tourism on the Maasai people they have displaced (more for conservation reasons rather than tourism, but you can see how they would interpret their government’s treatment of them as pandering to tourist demand). We had the chance on the second evening to look round the nearby Maasai shanty village  of Oloololo, see some traditional dancing, and go on a guided bush walk to see the sunset overlooking the game reserve.

Bush walk

Johnny and I opted not to see the village as we’d been living in one for the last few weeks but as we met the others at the village “marketplace” before the bushwalk, I was saddened by the pushy and surly selling techniques the girls used, small babies strapped to their backs. They obviously hadn’t been to school, had been made to marry young, didn’t speak English, and hadn’t been taught that tourists are more likely to buy their trinkets if they returned their smiles, could answer any questions, and didn’t grab and shove them. I got the distinct impression that these young village wives would be beaten if they didn’t make enough sales, but I felt anger at a society that forces these girls into making money from tourists they obviously resent for the impact on their lifestyle, without giving them the skills to do so successfully.

Maasai Mara from the Oloololo escarpment

I found myself in a dilemma as to whether to buy variable quality junk I didn’t want in an unpleasant environment, in an attempt to make these girls’ lives easier for one day, but I just couldn’t buy into that culture. Things certainly are a far cry from this situation in Kimuka, and it did make me feel more positive about my time there.

Our Maasai guide, with our fellow safari-er Jan (Thanks to Jan’s partner Jana Hrda for the photo)

Even the bushwalk guide had clearly polished his patter to humour tourists, and while he could speak English very well, he was all about sticking to his slick plan, mixing explanations of traditional Maasai bush techniques with tall stories of achievement and proud claims of how much of the local plant and wildlife he had wiped out. It was entertaining if you took him with a pinch of salt!

Sunset over Oloololo

Both these village tours cost a small amount extra which seemed perfectly reasonable initially, but our guide, like most other Kenyans in the same situation, had worked out how to use the tourist situation to his advantage. When you multiply the individual fee we each paid by a busload of 8 tourists, his 2 hours of patter earns him the equivalent of a Kenyan teacher’s monthly wage, and I’d bet that amount again that this wasn’t shared with the village. It’s very easy for Kenyans to charge Westerners inflated prices because they know we’ll pay it, distorting the local market, and pushing up local inflation. I can only hope he was investing his earnings wisely so he could send his children to school but I’m not holding my breath.

One thing I can definitely say I’ve brought home from my trip to Kenya is  that you can never underestimate the importance of education, reading and travel.

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Maasai Safari

Disney Buffalo

No trip to East Africa is complete without going on Safari and despite having spent the previous 3 weeks living 200 yards from a herd of wild giraffes and dodging the baboons at the local bar, I forked out for 3 days’ guided Safari to the Maasai Mara, tempted in no small part by the promise of an actual warm shower, and the chance to escape the fast-becoming-claustrophobic village life.

Journey to Safari from Kimuka

Safari is the Swahili word for journey, and its use dates from an era when if you went on safari, it would be a journey into the wilds you’d be on for a while. My safari initially seemed just as epic as I stumbled through the garden of Virginia’s house in the 5.30am pitch black to meet fellow volunteer Johnny and our taxi which would take us to Nairobi and our 8-seater safari bus. Although we had to be at our meeting point bright and early, we didn’t leave it for another couple of hours (even the capital runs on “Kenyan time”), and it was then another 5-6 hours along the kind of lumpy rocky roads that lead to Kimuka. Thankfully we did stop along the way for lunch, and at a pretty spectacular view point (and souvenir buying “opportunity”) over the Great Rift Valley (although this depressingly seemed to be sponsored by Coca-Cola).

Great Rift Valley, Kenya

Drink cold coke in the Great Rift Valley

Finally we made it to the “Big Time Safari camp”, situated just outside the Maasai Mara reserve through a Maasai shanty town. No-one is allowed to live inside the reserve boundaries so all the Maasai who used to live there have been displaced to these dilapidated shacks.

Oloololo Village

There’s little we could do about such hugely controversial and complex social policy so I tried to ignore the falling-down houses and litter 100 yards from our permanent tents as they also housed big soft beds! Showers! And…. a flushing toilet!

Big Time Safari Camp

But this was no time to hang around and enjoy such luxuries, we had to get into the park for our sunset game drive, which took us into the north of the Safari Park in time to catch the big game at their most active. Despite reserve rules that forbid more than 5 safari vehicles from going within so many yards of animals, there seemed to be an awful lot nearby looking incredibly incongruous, and the pride of lions we came across almost immediately were totally nonplussed by the presence of our minibuses (I suspect it would have been a different matter had anyone got out and walked near!).

Lions and buses and cameras oh my!

This sunset game drive was probably the most interesting, where we saw the most animals. We even saw a herd of cattle (like their Maasai carers, also banned from the game reserve). The Maasai often refuse to observe the ban from their traditional grazing and risk fines everytime they take their cattle across the boundary. This herd had been abandoned by the Maasai when they saw the game wardens coming to escort them out of the reserve (and fine them).

Seized Maasai cattle

But we also saw buffalo, elephants, warthogs, impala, thompson’s gazelles, topi, wildebeest, hartebeest, zebra, guineafowl, and a rare sighting of a pair of cheetah lazing under a tree.

Maasai Cheetah

On our  second day we took a full-day game drive to the Mara river to see the hippos, crocodiles and the place the wildebeest cross during their migration season. On the way back to camp, our guide seemed intent on whizzing round to try and find the rest of “The Big Five”, a concept coined by the game hunters referring to the 5 most difficult animals to kill (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant  and Cape buffalo). It’s now a term used by safari operators, but I couldn’t help but find it very dismissive of anything that wasn’t on the list and a bit too goal- (rather than experience- ) orientated for my liking. We did however see quite a bit of birdlife, and got really close to a pair of elephants who walked right up to our bus.

Elephant

Our final day finished with a dawn drive, and we didn’t see much more wildlife, although we did catch a lone lion prowling in the bush, and lots of hooved game going about their business.

Sunrise

The sunrise as you might expect was gorgeous, and we were also lucky enough to see zebras with a baby and synchronised gazelle fighting. Click the photos below if you’d like to see all my safari pictures on Flickr.

Baby Zebra!

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We’re on a Road to Nowhere

Welcome to Saikeri

During my stay in Kimuka in Maasailand, our host family offered to take us to visit a traditional Maasai village, where our host Virginia’s partner Daniel’s mother lived. You can see Saikeri to the west of the map, and Virginia’s mum-in-law’s settlement to the south-west of that. Click through to have a proper nose around:

Saikeri, Kimuka & Ngong

We trundled for nearly 2 hours through arid but stunning scrubland (the air becomes much drier the further into Maasailand you go), past numerous herds of cows and goats (or are they sheep?) in our truck, which stalled several times trying to struggle over gigantic rocks which make up the road, and had to be push-started by the passengers.

One of the good bits of road

Those 2 hours only took us as far as Kimuka’s “neighbouring” village of Saikeri. Our actual destination it turns out, was nearly another hour’s walk in the scorching heat, deep into the bush.

Maasai Landscape

But the journey, through the Great Rift Valley, was beautiful, and if you have facebook you can see fellow volunteer Knut’s 47 sec video clip of the ride here.

Traffic

We found the manyatta nestling in the scrubland & trees at the foot of the hills of the Rift Valley (if you climb to the top of them you can see Tanzania). They’re the ones that are fading into the horizon in the picture below…

The walk from Saikeri to the manyatta (note newfound stray dog friend, and hills on the horizon)

Virginia’s mum-in-law lives very traditionally, in one of the dwindling number of traditional settlements of Maasai manyatta – a small collection of houses made from a wood frame with walls of mud and dung. (Knut even had a very successful go of making a small manyatta hut of his own when we got back to Kimuka).

Daniel’s mum’s hut

Like Kimuka, there is no running water or electricity, but unlike Kimuka, there are no water tanks which collect and store rainwater, there are no toilets (the bush is sufficient) and the shower room is a bucket, sponge, and the great outdoors (done at night so no-one can see, although we weren’t convinced this rule would work for us reflectively pale-skinned Europeans!).

Daniel’s mum and the (great?)-grandkids

The journey from the manyatta back to Saikeri village, and then 20 minutes out the other side, and then all the way back again, is one that Daniel’s mum – a breathtaking, strong, smiling woman in her mid 50s – does on foot everytime she wants water. She either carries the bottles back from this well (the nearest one) on her back, or uses a donkey.

Each hut in the manyatta is separated by its own hedge

The huts each have a single room, where the whole family sleeps and cooks, although a lot of cooking and eating is done outside too. Sleeping areas are partially separated off by stick partitions, and the beds are spread with cow skins and shukas, much more comfy than I expected. Knut took a video of the settlement here or hopefully my photos give you a decent idea of what the manyatta looks like (all of the photos on this post plus a few more are also on my flickr).

Inside a manyatta hut – with a gourd used for cows milk

We also met the other female members of the manyatta community, who were the just-pubescent wives of the men that lived there, and their kids.

One of the girls (wives) let me take her photo

The men were out herding the cattle, and the girls had to make sure the sheep, which spent their day nearer the manyatta, didn’t get into mischief. They were shy but welcoming, and Virginia translated for us when we tried to say hello and thank them for their hospitality.

Daniel’s mum and “the girls”

As well as looking after the kids and animals, doing the housework and preparing food, the women also spent time making the traditional Maasai beadwork that everyone wears. Virginia’s mother-in-law showed off a beautiful wedding necklace she’d made, and I bought a traditional bangle from her for myself.  She’s traditional in her way of life, but quietly progressive in her support of girls if they want to do things their own way and defy the Maasai patriarchy.

Daniel’s mum and her beadwork

We didn’t get much time to ask questions – the girls were shy and didn’t speak English and Virginia and her mum-in-law were engrossed in catching up on the gossip so I didn’t like to interrupt too much. But we had a delicious and relaxed lunch sitting under a huge acacia tree just outside the manyatta where the sheep were also lounging, while the boys went to peer at Tanzania from the tops of the hills.

Shade!

Shade!

The visit was a real insight into how hard life can be in such isolation without the mod cons we are used to (made so much more extreme by the searing heat and limited water supplies we’d brought with us), but Virginia’s mum-in-law takes it all in her stride, laughing cheekily at us for being too slow and needing rests as she accompanies us back to Saikeri. My excuse was I was taking in the scenery, I’m not sure she bought it but that was my story and I stuck to it!

Waiting for me & Knut…

Knut walks back to Saikeri

Nearly half way..

And even having walked for nearly another hour, Daniel’s mum amazes us all by effortlessly running the last few hundred metres into Saikeri:

Last one to the tree’s it!

It was a privilege to have been welcomed into such a private and traditional way of life, so far removed from any tourists. I’m not sure I could cope, but it’s these values of hard work, family, and care for their animals and land that the Maasai are fighting to preserve.

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Health and Wealth in Maasailand

Rhoda the clinic nurse outside the Clinic

So when I was in Maasailand, I got to spend some time in a healthcare dispensary (see my last post). The government-run Kenyan dispensaries are part of a tiered system of healthcare designed to cater for all, and they don’t do too bad a job considering, especially the one in Olosho-Oibor which I visited. As well as access to dispensaries & clinics, the government also recognises the benefit of public health education, and each dispensary employs Community Health Workers, who do a brilliant job of going out to villages and educating people about sanitation, malaria and HIV prevention, and other preventable diseases. They also give out mosquito nets and condoms, and arrange screening programs for HIV. Agnes, the Community Healthcare worker based at Olosho wasn’t at work while I was there (she had to plant maize as the rainy season had started) but I was lucky enough to bump into her on my walk home one day, spade over shoulder, and she explained how she looked after the healthcare library at Olosho and the outreach programmes they run from there. She had recently run a very successful HIV education session where 50 out of 55 villagers underwent screening for the infection, encouraged by the testimony of the HIV positive patients that go along with her and explain how the medicine they now take has meant they can continue living their lives, and that a positive result doesn’t mean death, it means help.

I don’t have any pictures of Agnes or Lucy, but here’s a pic of Lucy’s little girl posing in my sunglasses…

Screening for HIV is a big problem in maasailand (especially when you consider the often fiercely upheld traditions of compulsory wife-sharing and polygamy (effectively rape), while attitudes to condom use are the exact opposite). Back at the dispensary, Lucy, another healthcare support worker tells me they offer and encourage HIV testing to all walk-in patients but there is little uptake, it’s only programmes like the ones Agnes runs that begin to allay people’s fears. Lucy explains that while there is plenty of HIV medication to go round at the moment, she worries that the more people are diagnosed, that the HIV medication will run out. You can easily imagine the scenario and how that would damage trust between communities and the government which relationship isn’t always rosy especially in Maasailand.

Another shot of Rhoda and the dispensary..!

Prescribing and dispensing was pretty different at the clinic from what I am used to. There were no guidelines or reference books, and no information as to safety in pregnancy and breastfeeding which are both quite common in Kenyan villages. You can’t discuss stopping breastfeeding though as there’s no powder milk and the baby would die. I got the impression that it was felt to be more important to give a medication and for its beneficial effects, and I was really surprised how much medication with potentially severe side effects was given out without much question. I’m not sure that risk versus benefit assessment or drug monitoring has reached Kenya yet. Or maybe it’s just that they don’t have access to the information to help them do so, or any viable alternative if a chosen treatment wouldn’t suit someone. You takes your chances…

Our dressings trolley

Prescriptions were recorded as part of the handwritten notes, then the medication was counted and given out in little polythene sachets there and then, with nothing more on the label than “1 x 1” or “2 x 3” or whatever. (Take one tablet once a day and Take two tablets three times a day, respectively). No drug or patients names, or dates, or warnings, but then these would have been pointless as the majority of people can’t read well enough (free primary education has only been available for the last 10 years in Kenya).

I asked Rhoda, the nurse running the clinic what the most common complaints were. She told me that coughs and upper respiratory tract infections were common due to the dust, but she treated almost all patients with chest problems with septrin or azithromycin (2 very strong antibiotics with potentially severe side effects whose use we try and minimise in the UK due to the risk of resistance – and side effects). I was pretty shocked at the number of people we treated with these. But these are the government-sanctioned treatments of choice, and all that’s available, and there’s still a culture of treating wherever possible rather than recognising self-limiting conditions. I asked Rhoda if she was worried about resistance with such high antibiotic usage rates, but she told me she wasn’t as most people she treats seem to get better. We also have to record every prescription for antibiotics in a special log book (like we would do for controlled drugs like morphine in the UK). When I asked Rhoda why, she told me this was because they’re valuable on the black market and the government doesn’t want medication going missing.

Dust

Malaria is the other most common complaint at the clinic and we saw a couple of malaria patients each day when I was there. Treatment is available, and it’s free for malaria patients in Kenya, but we agreed it’s odd that it’s so prevalent in this part of maasailand as there are no mosquitos. Nets are still given out just in case.

Another important role for the dispensary is as a kind of healthcare-focussed community centre. Vitamins are given out to almost all patients as malnourishment is common and vitamins are thought to improve the chances of getting better. The dispensary also acts as a food distribution point for food aid for eligible people (mainly kids and the sick), especially during school holidays where poor kids may not get a meal otherwise. They also host family planning awareness groups for local women, and that’s particularly important to have in a society where the cost of having a child can mean increased poverty, especially for the women, due to having to feed them and send them to school, but where children are still seen as a valuable commodity – girls can be exchanged for cows when they are of marrying age (upwards of 9 years old). As a result, most Maasai men will not tolerate their wives using contraception and will beat them if they find out. So instead of the pill or condoms, the clinic administers the 3 monthly depot contraceptive injection to those women who would like it – safe in more ways than one! Values are changing slowly, but it’s hard when younger girls with more modern values are made to marry the old, traditionally patriarchal and controlling generation.

Small communities rely on dispensaries

I wish I could have spent more time at the dispensary, especially to see the work Agnes does, and that I’d been better prepared for going – I would have brought reference sources for a start. But I’m glad I got to go even if only for a few days. Huge thanks to Rhoda for being so welcoming and friendly and showing me round. I wish her luck with her quest to be allowed to move out of the middle of nowhere when she has finished her 3 years in Maasailand the government requires

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