Naturally-Induced Change

This may be a short blog post for today as I start to wrap up everything here on the coast before heading out on December 1st for the beginnings of my zany three part adventure. Part one is traveling around Kenya doing Peace Corps-related work, part two is a Eurotrip with Chris (more on that later) and part three is a Kenya trip with Chris (again, later). I am sure once I am organized and being bored at various points in my travels you will get updates. I will also try to front-log some work so as to keep a regular daily-posting, but I warn you all now, I may not be able to. However, I do want you all to certainly keep checking back in, as I do intend to continue blogging during my travels as situation permits.

An earlier entry jokingly regarded the change of seasons in Mombasa not as a great climatic shift as one might consider it in New England, but instead as a transition between periods of fruit and not fruit. Though this is true, the real situation has even more drastic consequences. The climatic seasonal shift in Mombasa and most everywhere in Kenya, and dare I say, Africa, is negligible from a Western perspective. The result is that it only takes one mindset, one way of doing things, to get through life. There is no naturally-induced need to change one’s behavior on a regular basis in order to survive.

I wonder, does this translate into what every Kenyan will tell you is a cultural unwillingness to change. This is not necessarily in reference to today’s culture, but I am wondering more about the impact hundreds and thousands of years ago. Because the seasons do not change, and dramatic climatic shift is such a low-chance occurrence, cultures do not need to adapt the mindset that constant change is normal and acceptable and even necessary. Thus, when presented with opportunities that require change, a culture may approach them with skepticism, for is not the natural order of things as they see it.

I am a strong believer in the environment impact on a person’s or peoples’ development. Some might claim that lack of resources greatly hinders development. But Kenya has plenty of agricultural resources as well as a major natural financial resource in terms of the having the largest deep-sea port in the entirety of East Africa, servicing well over 100 million people, and that’s a lowball estimate. Kenya has always been home to nomadic pasturalist tribes, meaning the land was traditionally suitable for large herds. And the political situation, though far from perfect in the grand scheme, is still relatively stable. So why has development been slow?

I blame the seasons. Not completely of course, for there are many, many other reasons. But I think that the natural lack of climatic shift in Kenya has contributed, if only sub-consciously, to a natural inclination to be wary of change in any shape. Maybe I should start looking into Kiswahili anecdotes or parables that might help clue me into this. Of course, then again, there are also 42 other languages I would need to look into as well. There’s something that I wish would change.

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One response to “Naturally-Induced Change

  1. I’ll sum it up in one word: Corruption. Studies and investigations done on Kenya has shown it to be one of the most corrupt countries in Africa, second only to Nigeria. Just say the word amongst Kenyans and they will give you a litany of stories about who bribed who, who pays off who, and votes for cash. Still, I think that Kenyans are starting to turn their back on the practice and demand reform, slowly but surely.