Some things in which Kenya is better than the West

We are used to dividing the World in Developed and Underdeveloped countries. In the last years, to be a bit more politically correct, the geopolitical discourses started referring to Sub-saharan countries as "low-income countries" or "developing countries". I always wonder what does that mean, and who decided what it is developed or not developed - because, in the end, we are just exporting our idea of development to the rest of the world.

During these months in Kenya, I noticed some elements which made me challenge our idea of progress - some elements in which Kenya is simply much better than the WEST!

1. Ban on plastic bags

Since 2017, Kenya banned plastic bags. This means that if you are found with a plastic bag, even in your luggage coming from abroad, you can be fined to up to 1000$! This is one of the few Kenyan regulations which is actually enforced. Plastic bags have been replaced by fabric bags, that are to be paid and thus they increase the tendency of people to reuse them.

Unfortunately,  plastic bottles and plastic wrappings are still all around, but the ban on plastic bags have been crucial for Kenya environmental policies and have fostered creative ways of reusing wrappings and other ecological materials.

2. Kenya is much cleaner then....Liverpool, for example.

Kenyans are not exactly the most sensitive people in term of environmental awareness, but because lots of people still live in the villages and thus far from the deleterious capitalistic system, they dont access lots of the polluting items I was describing above. For their food, they milk cows, they grind maize at the mill, they plug veg from the soil. No need for processed food! No need for stupid packaging.

3. Genuine food

Related to what I was saying before, most Kenyans primarily rely upon the products of the earth. Processed food (like Domino's pizza, sandwiches, or the English style "meatball pasta" for 2£ in Aldi) do not exists. And thus lots of other processed ingredients (e.g. sauces, or industrial meat or diary) dont exist, or are found exclusively in Mzungu supermarkets.

As so, everything is so fresh. People cook everything from scratches. They would rather buy an alive chicken from the market to slaughter and clean then buying a ready to cook frozen one. And the mangos, and the pineapple,  and the avocados are so actually tasty to bringe you to paradise with a bite.

4. People dont smoke

People mostly dont smoke, to a point that it is actually difficult to buy cigarettes unless in some dodgy corners or luxurious hotel for foreigners. We could think it is too expensive for most Kenyans, but I dont think this is the reasons (in fact, also poor Kenyans manage to spend their money in drinking, unfortunately).

But smoking is really not a thing, and you are not supposed to smoke in public. If found to smoke outside a shop or a restaurant in the middle of the town, you could be taken to jail!

5. Kenyans never complain

I like to say that Kenyans have lots of features which unveil the imprinting of British colonialism. Kenyans are generally polite, kind and composed. This doesnt mean they are necessarily genuine ;-)

They are comfortable in speaking indirectly and in going around and around when they need to ask you something. 

But Kenyans never complain. They are always grateful, and cheerful, and happy. They may ask a mzungu to assist them, but they won't complain if you refuse to give them money. They are so serene and compassionate people!

6. Serena, not Sirina! Yay

Aside Kiswahili, almost all Kenyans speak English fluently. I am so grateful that they didnt pick up any British accent and they are actually able to pronounce "S-E-R-E-N-A" without crippling it into "Sirina".


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