I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to Kenya and Tanzania, which I will write about in the upcoming weeks.
I describe this trip as amazing because it was both ambitious and exotic, visiting places most people never see. This is a shame because these people have proud cultures stretching back thousands of years, and we rarely learn about them in our Eurocentric education system. But since we are a nation of immigrants, their story is our story, at least indirectly.
At the last minute, my travel plans were thrown into turmoil due to a late connection. Consequently, I ended up with a long layover in London’s Heathrow airport, followed by a flight on Air Kenya rather than the expected KLM Royal Dutch airline. But sitting in an international terminal for hours gave me a chance to watch and appreciate the great human diversity on this planet. It certainly would be simpler of everyone looked and thought like us, but humankind is better for the multiplicity of cultures that blend together to make our world. All we have to do is learn about and appreciate them.
Of course, technology is advancing so rapidly it’s sometime difficult to tell what’s still authentic and what isn’t. During the trip, I visited a Maasai village, one of 42 tribes in Kenya. They’re herders who still live in mud huts, but they have a familiarity with modern cameras and their souvenirs for sale bore a polished, professional look similar to what we saw elsewhere in the country. They said their colorful fabrics now came from “a brother in Nairobi.”
At least I got to see what’s left of their traditional ways.