What I Learned in Kenya

August 5, 2012

I posted a video a few months ago highlighting my trip to Kenya. Devin Graham and were flown there by a tourism company and all we had to do was do what we do best: document our experiences to through youtube. So we went on safaris, and visited the local Masai tribes, ate the food and did our best to take in the experience.

I felt like I had jumped right into a National Geographics. The animals were bigger, the colors were brighter… pretty much all my expectations were wildly exceeded.

Although the safaris were incredible, my favorite thing about the whole trip was the amazing people we met. Africa is always painted as this poverty stricken country of hopelessness; however, I found it to be quite different. In the remote villages we visited, the people had so little and yet, they were incredibly happy. This was largely due to their humble and simplistic lifestyle. Whether they were the chief, or the poorest man in the village, they all live in the same sized, one bedroom homes, and which are made of a mixture of cow dung and mud. Their diet consists of little meat, and vegetation, however the main sustenance comes from drinking cow blood and milk. In spite of these lowly circumstances, there was so much peace and goodness that just exuded out of these people. It was actually contagious in that just by looking at their smiles I felt light inside of me.


I don’t know exactly what makes them so happy, but I think an important factor would be that they are content. They aren’t constantly needing more and the idea of being “better than the Jones’s” doesn’t exist at all. A tribe is a family and they stick together. Rather than an “every man for himself” mentality, people take turns watching each others cattle and helping one another so their efforts are the most efficient for the group. They are loyal to their traditions and the things they believe in and because of those ties to tradition and one another they know who they are and they are very proud of that identity.


I think there is a lot we in the western world can learn  our brothers and sisters in Kenya. In the villages, their everyday is filled with acquiring the necessities of life; food, water and shelter. I feel that, we in the “civilized” world rely more on a brutal survival of the fittest  mentality then do they. We are so much more cut throat, territorial and competitive and yet, we pity them?


I brought a violin with me and I played a song at all the villages. It was so awesome to play for them because they had never seen or heard a violin before. The only music they have ever heard for the most part is the clapping and chanting they do. (Some of the Masia people said they had heard a guitar before). It was so cool to see their faces light up and to see them giggle as I played a simple song. In return they sang a song for me. We couldn’t understand each other’s language but that is why it was so powerful. Two completely different cultures were able to connect as we shared our form of music an expression.

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