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Animals, Mobile Phones and Schooling in Kenya

In Nairobi, I was able to have a few great conversations with Kenyans who gave me a crash course on life in the East African country. I picked up some cool tid-bits of info on lots of different topics.

Animals: One man who grew up on the shores of Lake Victoria told me he was most frightened of leopards growing up. Although they poached on livestock, there was a harmony between the people and the animals. His elders said, if he ever saw one walking along side him that he should continue his path. Realizing that he was neither a predator nor prey, the leopard would leave him alone and eventually continue on his way.

Also, if you even run into a hyena, you should make as much noise as possible. They are nasty animals, but ones who are also very easily intimidated. If you run, they will chase you down and start attacking you. They also eat their prey while they are still alive, so really, it’s in your best interest to scare them off.

Mobile Phones: Like elsewhere in the world, cell phones in Kenya are on a pre-paid basis. There are two companies in Kenya, although another is trying to enter. Text messages cost less, and only the person making the call pays. Inter-network calls are also cheaper, as well as off-peak times.

Schooling: School is mandatory in Kenya for grades 1-8. Many also go to pre-school – the United States equivalent of kindergarten. Public classes have around 100 students per teacher, so anyone who has any money pays for private school. There are different ‘classes’ of private schools, with the lowest level still having around 40 students per teacher. All lessons are taught in English.

At the end of grade 8, students take a national examination. If they pass, they are allowed to continue onto secondary school. After another 4 years, they take another exam and can go onto university if their scores are sufficient and they have the required funds.



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