I have always sought to associate and maybe interact with someone from Africa, more so, the Eastern part of Africa. The main country in East Africa is Kenya. Swahili and English are their main modes of instruction in this country. My work friend Kean has family in Kenya. He is a Kenyan pursuing studies in this country. Whenever we get a chance to interact, I am always very keen to ask as many questions about his culture and their way of life back in Africa. A larger portion of the information I have is either second hand information or unverifiable and exaggerated facts.
Recently, all his family visited in America, Kean invited all of our work friends to have dinner with them for his twenty first birthday. Initially, I was reluctant, mainly because I did not have a lot in common with the family and a lot of my coworkers couldn’t make it. However, I overcame my fears and tagged along; this is my experience.
There is a difference between Kean's family and I. The most identifiable difference is the nationalities. While I am American, they are Kenyans, and Africans by extension. However, we practice the same religion, Christianity. Kean's family are loyal Catholics while I am a Methodist. They tend to converse more in Swahili though they speak to me in English. While they do not have an entirely different method of meal preparation, they tend to favor a corn flour meal accompanied by a recipe of kale and fried beef. Kean said that this is their favorite meal. In addition, every member of their family understands the preparation procedure and the recipe perfectly well. While their mode of eating is communal, it is in stark contrast to what I expected. Each member of the family takes the piece of corn meal from the common bowl, but with a separate stew bowl.
The most striking part of their conversation is the aspect of concern about the extended family. Kean's family maintains very close ties with each other. It was the duty of the immediate family to inform him about the status of the other family members like first cousins, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents. According to Millie, Kean's sister, the aspect of extended family is central to the sustenance and continuity of family. This kind of unity is founded on age-old traditions that subsist to date, and are passed down from one generation to another. The communal traditions back in Africa are strongly founded on the unity of the extended family. Millie informed me that such units are vital, though their significance has experienced a decline in the recent times. They were essential for ensuring that the society ensures that it takes...