A Study of Kenya
unique in its own way. With its mangrove swamps, thick forests, crystal lakes, towering
Kenya is one location of some of the earliest human settlements. Some sites
come from up north. After the nomadic, came the explorers who began to settle. “The
first wave of immigrants were the tall, nomadic, caustic-speaking people from Ethiopia
population movements which lasted for centuries. These groups were fluid, representing
a process of ongoing social changes. Many of the settlers started out as traders, and
Portuguese came to trade spices. They wanted to take over trade in the east, but in the
end they were forced out in the mid-1700’s. As the country began to develop it came up
Before independence in 1963, Kenya was governed by a British colonial
integrate the country into an imperical system and to develop its economic potential,
well-being as defined according to the prevailing mentality of colonial
multi-party government with KANU as its ruler. KANU is a conservative nationalist
party standing for the Kenya African National Union. “The system of government
consists of the President, who holds executive power, and a single legislative assembly
consisting of 210 members, the attorney general, the speaker, and 12 members who are
nominated by the major parties in parliament in proportion of the number of seats
won”(Fletcher, 26). The President serves as both head of state and government, serving a
the population and leads the economy. They grow beans, cotton, maize, and fruit with
coffee and tea leading. During and after W.W.II, Kenya’s economy was forced to
produce goods that were formally imported. In 1998 the GDP, which measures the value
of goods and services, was around 12 billion. As a form of relief for the poor nation, the
U.S. gives Kenya foreign aide to as much as 921 million dollars. They currently have a
debt of over one billion to the U.S.
One of Kenya’s most interesting geographical features is the Rift Valley.
“Kenya’s Great Rift Valley is only part of a continental fault system that runs 6000km
clean across Africa from Jordan to Mozambique”(Trillo, 232). It extends 5000km down
spread through the year occurring mostly at night. The temperature varies in regions but
the average is 14-18*c and as a minimum and a maximum of 32-35*c. The population
has concentrated to the wettest areas of the country for survival. Kenya’s main resource
is its land. The rivers produce hydro-electricity. Kenya is also known for its variety of
game species. Elephants are the most hunted species for the ivory in their tusks.
and rules, this problem is declining.
Kenya’s population is around 30 million, made up mostly of Africans. The
52 years old, but 50% of the population is 15 years or younger. Almost all the people are
black Africans, with Arabs, Europeans, and Asians making up the other 1%. The official
by the group. A mixture of English and Swahili is called Sheng. Sheng is a language
with the other 30% Muslim. Out of all the Christians, the Protestants out number the
have many different looks. They are more conservative than many may think. Women
wear shirts that cover their shoulders and skirts to the knee. Men wear shirts and jeans,
with the exception of shorts that are not accepted. Only 83% of the population is literate.
Factors such as cost, test performance, and inadequate facilities have much to do with the
the lack ok knowledge in the country.
Kenyan families tend to be large with extended families all living in one home.
Polygyny is used in some classes and groups. Some houses are made of mud and wooden
poles, while others have brick or stone with metal roofs. Most make their money by
farming, mechanics, metal-work, or with their own specialized skill. They get to work by
walking, or buses which drive on unpaved roads. Most do not even own a phone or
unit of currency is the shilling. 60.4 Kenyan shilling equals one U.S. dollar,(as an
If you were to go to Kenya today you would expect a country nothing like we
know in the United States. They have a corrupt judicial system with some of the worst
uneducated officials. It imports three-fourths of its energy despite the power station it
has. The country survives off foreign aide and loans. The people make only about three
hundred dollars a year, which is decreasing year by year. They have devastating floods
other African countries. I have learned that to them it is not what you have, it is what you
gripe. With their cultural diversity, I think it would be an interesting place to visit.
Fletcher, Matt and Finlay, Hugh and Crowther, Geoff. Kenya
4th ed. Victoria, Australia : Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd, 2000.
Nelson, Harold D. Kenya, A Country Study. 3rd ed. United States: United States
Department of Army, 1984.