What’s the news in Kenya?!?

Blog entry created by: Teresa

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Politics, sports and exams, to anti-corruption, Obama, world news, living with AIDS, the changing roles of women and men, lifestyle columns, sweepstakes, and more…but what impressed me most was a general message to readers: “Get involved and do your part!”

Politics is a popular topic, especially because the people just voted for a new constitution for Kenya. 

The article above discusses the work of a commission set up to draw new district boundaries – of course they disagree on where the boundaries should be drawn!

The struggle to stamp out corruption is a huge issue in Kenya.

There is a big push to stop it because it takes away from Kenya’s reputation on the world stage, and can prevent the country from receiving aid.  The press is free, and it seems to attack cases of corruption whenever it can. In a high school class we attended on Kenyan constitutional rights and responsibilities, acting with integrity in all cases was stressed as one of the most important responsibilities.

One difference I notice is that political articles in Kenya seem to have a more personal element and a call to action. 

Political and world issues are presented in a down to earth way – and one that encourages the average person to do his/her civic duty, follow the issues, and influence them where they can. When I read the New York Times, or the Boston Globe, I get more of a feeling that the issues are reported on from afar.

Exams – they strike both fear and hope in the hearts of parents and students alike

These students were in a terrible accident and several lost their right hands. Exams are such an overwhelming issue that the article focuses not on the terrible loss, but on how they had only two weeks to learn to write with their left hands and that their hopes to attend university may have been dashed.

This group of women formed a chama (club) to help each other as well as their community.

They each contribute $2,500 shillings ($31) each month toward a fund to be used if one of them has an emergency, or wants a micro-loan to start a business. They also hold events, visit those less fortunate, and work to advance women’s causes.

We have seen so many examples of Kenyans being proactive activists and problem solvers.

There was a time when the culture valued followers more than leaders and it was uncommon for people to speak up for themselves or issues they care about. The culture is changing.

Click here it read Jennifer’s post about Danlewis who is a security guard at the Nyumbani Village by night and environmental watch dog by day.

AIDS is still a huge topic in Africa and affects the lives of many.

Five kids tell what it is like to be HIV+ in this interview in the kids section of the newspaper.

Ten year old Yully Mungai is determined to lessen the stigma associated with people who live with AIDS by talking about his HIV+ status. Esther Maviu (nine) wondered why it happened to her. She thought she would die within 6 months until she got the facts.

Eight year old Vanessa Ide says, “Role models are people we try to imitate by trying to achieve what they achieved during their lifetime. A model,” she says, “can also be a successful person, only they are hated and no one tries to imitate them.”

Obama is very popular because he is a Muslim who was born in Kenya

KIDDING!

Obama is in the news frequently. Most Kenyans are disappointed that his popularity has fallen and feel that it is unfair given the challenges he inherited and what he has accomplished so far. Kenyans like most countries in the world, keep their eye on the American economy and political situation because it has such a large effect on their own lives. Yes, while traveling through Europe, we have been thanked for the economic crisis we started…although we did try to convey that we were not personally involved in the events that led up to it :-)

There was another article about Obama and this US bumper sticker:

I felt bad when they reported that, in addition to the bumper sticker, “Kenya” is being thrown around as a dirty word in the US. But rather than complaining that Americans are criticizing the people of an entire nation when they refer to Kenya in a derogatory manner, the reporter asks, “Can we blame them?” He points to past stories of corruption and tells the readers that they must hold their politicians accountable if they are ever to enjoy a good reputation as a nation.

“Letters from America”, is a regular feature in the Kenyan newspaper

A more global perspective.

Be it this article about dealing with abuse of power by police, or an article on the latest agricultural methods, or one on the new constitution, Kenyan reporters regularly assess the issue in Kenya, and then report on how the issue is being dealt with in three or four other countries. I think this gives Kenyans an advantage in that they are more aware of the rest of the world than citizens of some more developed countries. They benefit in being humble enough to learn from others.

G20 and G8 actions have a big effect on many parts of the developing world.

Should men seek traditionally “female” jobs?

Reader opinions varied:
Yes, because the economy is forcing them into those jobs.
Yes, because they need to support their families.
Western men are doing this work and globalization is encouraging our men to consider the same.
No, because it leads to promiscuity between the men and women who are doing the same jobs.
No, it leads to homosexual behaviors. For example, men who work in salons often want to style their own hair.

Let’s not forget agriculture! This article touts the importance donkeys play in helping Kenya reach its vision for 2030

Kenyans love sports!

from track, at which many Kenyans excel…

to Kenyan football…

to the effect of globalization on international sports leagues

Finally, you find in the Kenyan newspaper (and on billboards and radio) that dreams of financial windfalls help fuel sales of everything from cell phones to banking services to newspaper subscriptions.

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Posted on: November 17, 2010 | Categories: Blog, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environment, Global Issues, Health Care, Kenya, recreation, Sports

 

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