What Kenya Looks Like

The difference between Kenya and America is that in Kenya there is not so much distinction between indoors and outdoors.

You walk right into the mall from the street, without opening any doors.

(They don’t call it a mall. They call it a Nakumatt complex. But it is basically a mall.)

I was so amazed by this “indoors is outdoors” thing that I had to take pictures for my blog. Soon a security guard came up to me, and started explaining that I was not supposed to take pictures there.

“When you take a pictcha, it is like you are breaking the law,” he said.

“Oh. Well, should I delete these pictures that I took?” I began fiddling with my camera.

“No, no, do not delete them! Take a pictcha of me!”

“You want me to take a picture of you?”

“Ya, ya,take a pictcha of me!”

I took a picture of him.

We walked along looking at the street vendors. They are all lined up along the sidewalks. You can’t miss them.

I bought myself some shoes. I thought they were beautiful, all fairy spun and cobwebby looking. And they fit me perfectly.

They cost me 250 shillings. Later, one of the Into Africa boys told me that they were only worth 100 shillings, but they had cheated me because I was white.


(Btw, 80 shillings = 1 dollar.)

Still, they told me they were REAL KENYAN SHOES so that cheered me up somewhat.

This is a big chic looking building.

This is a butcher shop across the street from the big chic looking building.

This is a brightly painted truck.

I could entertain myself all day by walking around and reading the signs.

That is what I did this morning. I ran around snapping pictures, trying to create a picture of what Kenya looks like.

Really I was mostly taking pictures of signs.

Kenya has amazing signs.

That is not a sign. That is pure Kenyan beauty and also old cars.

That is how I spent the morning. Shopping with my mom and sisters, buying shoes, and taking lots of snaps, trying to create a picture of what Kenya is like.

In the afternoon we went out to lunch with all the Into Africa boys.

When we went to Kenya the first time, Into Africa was a somewhat-thriving organization, taking street boys and giving them clothes, food, and a place to stay.

That is where we found Steven.

Now there are fewer boys. Some of them we remembered, some of them were new. They were all so friendly and we had a jolly old time.

I felt strange. In one afternoon I had become better friends with the Into Africa boys than I had during the entire three months I lived in Kenya when I was thirteen.

When I was thirteen.

I am glad I am no longer thirteen. Being thirteen is tough. It is harder to make friends.

I have no pictures of the Into Africa boys because by that time of the day I was sick of taking pictures and my mom’s camera battery was almost dead.

5 responses to “What Kenya Looks Like

  1. oooooooo.
    (Esta is not jealous of Ems, Esta is not jealous of Ems, Esta its not…….) ;(
    At least you used blast. Which is like representing me in another country.


  2. I’m so very jealous of you! It looks AMAZING!


  3. SG from Corvallis

    Emily, your posts are AMAZING! I keep thinking that you need to get into photojournalism as a career. Keep up the fantastic work 🙂


  4. I love seeing Kisumu through “new” eyes! You’re a great communicator (at least in writing blogs). Maybe our paths will cross – we’ll arrive back in Kisumu around the 6th of February. Meantime, continue to enjoy the renewed memories.


  5. Love the pictures! Especially the shoes. If your feet are still comfortable after a couple of days, look for another vender of shoes-or even the same one only this time haggle a bit. Cause when you come home, there won’t be a pair of shoes like that to be had! Especially at that price. I’m reliving my travels and wishing for more while enjoying your travel vicariously!


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