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Posts tagged ‘tribes’

the northern frontier

Turkana, in northwest Kenya, is a land of extremes. Scorching temperatures, intense droughts, and flash floods are the routine features of a difficult existence for the region’s pastoralist tribes. Believed by anthropologists to be the cradle of human civilization, the Lake Turkana basin remains virtually untouched by modernity – a kind of living museum that offers a rare glimpse into the way life was millenia ago.

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democracy in action: Kenya’s election, part two

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Monday was a long, exciting, exhausting, and eye-opening day. Voters old and young, across many demographic groups, came out en masse to make their voices heard through the ballot box.

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Kenya’s election in photos, part one

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It is not often that one has the opportunity to witness history being made. With international attention focused on Kenya’s March 4 elections, we welcomed the chance to form part of the election observation team.

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a night at the thousand-star hotel

As the drive back to Nairobi from the Matthews Mountains would have consumed an entire day, we decided to break up the travel, spending a night by the shores of the Nanyuki River in one of Kenya’s uniquest lodgings.

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mountain hideaway

After our brief but fantastic visit to Samburu National Park, we headed further north to spend a couple of days in the Matthews Mountains. So few tourists make it to the Matthews Range that this scraggly sierra does not even appear on Google’s otherwise reasonably detailed map of the country, making this area one of Kenya’s many hidden treasures.

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messy democracy

Last week Kenyans went to the polls in the country’s much anticipated political party primaries. The rapidly approaching March 4 general elections will be Kenya’s first since the disputed 2007 presidential election plunged the country into horrific ethnic violence, leaving over a thousand people dead and displacing half a million others. The primaries were viewed by many as an important litmus test, a gauge of Kenya’s preparedness for peaceful, democratic transition.

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vulnerability and strength

One of the most striking things about Kenya is the resilience of its people. This is no doubt true in most of the developing world, but it is no less remarkable for its ubiquity, especially when one is coming from a country characterized by #firstworldproblems.

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Nairobi runaround

Although Nairobi is undoubtedly East Africa’s prime metropolis, it offers surprisingly little of interest to the average visitor. We have a few favorite spots where we’ve taken most of our guests, such as the elephant orphanage and giraffe center, but our list of must-visit places is rather brief. It was therefore a bit of a challenge to come up with enough interesting activities to fill the three days we had in Nairobi before D’s family departed.

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Kenya’s badlands

Northern Kenya is a sparsely-populated, forgotten land that is home to about a dozen pastoralist tribes, which frequently give the impression of being untouched by modern civilization and the passage of time. Lonely Planet calls the northern half of this country some of the most exciting wilderness in Africa, daring adventurers to explore it only if they are willing to withstand appalling roads, searing heat, primitive food and accommodation, vast distances, and more than a hint of danger. Who wouldn’t want to go?

colorfull dresses and drab surroundings

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the ghosts of Gede

Leafing through her guide book, Marni stumbled upon a description of the “eerie and hauntingly beautiful” ruins of Gede, which are hidden away in a strand of forest not too far from the beach house we had rented in Watamu. D also found a reference to the ruins in Bill Bryson’s African Diary, which he had coincidentally plucked from the well-stacked bookshelf at the house. Intrigued, we headed to Gede late one afternoon, as the ruins are rumored to be at their most striking when they are lit up by the descending sun.

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