This post was shared with us by the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre, a community-based organization that works to improve the life of underprivileged kids in Nyeri, Kenya. They wanted to share a bit about their corner of the world with my readers- let’s learn about Kenya!
About Nyeri town
Nyeri County is situated in the Central Kenya highlands. Nyeri town is the largest town of Nyeri County. It is the main business centre and the county’s administration headquarters. The town has a population of over 210,000 and it’s situated 150 kms, and two and half hour drive from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Nyeri town lies at the slopes of Mt. Kenya, and between the Abardare Range and Great Rift Valley. People in Nyeri speak Kikuyu dialect, Swahili as national language and English as official language.
Prominent People from Nyeri County
- Wangari Maathai (Noble Peace Prize winner, 2004)
- Dedan Kimathi (Kenya’s hero, and a Freedom Struggle leader)
- Mwai Kibaki (former Kenya’s president)
- Lord Robert Baden Powell (the founder of World Scouts movement) who is buried in Nyeri town
Shauri Yako Community
We live in Shauri Yako community, a slum situated at the edge of Nyeri town, along the Chania River. According to records, Shauri Yako was first settled in early 1960’s. It was settled by people displaced by the Mau Mau War. Fifty years later, it has become the largest slum community in Central Kenya. People who do not have places to live come to Shauri Yako. They find a space and put up a shack (see above picture); many have stayed and started a new life here. The population today is estimated to be 210,000; nobody knows for sure. The community is rapidly growing, but lacks basic services. Very few people here have electricity or running water. Chania River is the source of our water for all purposes. You can see the children below washing their clothes in the river.
We go to school across the town; there are 3 primary and three secondary schools. Kids’ best times are when we are at school, because there is little space for kids to play in the community, and most home do not have a TV. We also have lot of fun playing soccer at MOW soccer grounds. Soccer and scout are programs organized by Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre (SYSC). Most kids here love soccer, and we have girls and boys teams. From June 2014, SYSC is launching music and arts programs, we are very excited about it, and we think it’s a great opportunity for us.
Learn about Kenya: What We Eat
Our traditional food is Ugali/sima na Sukumawiki (cornmeal and kale greens) it’s a national dish. Other popular local foods include githeri, mukimo (a mixer of maize, beans and greens), pilau rice and chapati eaten with vegetables, a favourite for weddings or Christmas celebrations.
We celebrate Christmas in Kenya. It’s a time for families and friends to get together for worship and feasting.
Kids here enjoy poplar Swahili gospel music.
It is always a lot of fun when we spend time at Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre, there is arts, soccer and scouts program and sometimes story telling.
Swahili is a Bantu language, and the most widely spoken language in sub–Saharan Africa. It is an emerging African international language that is spoken by over 100 million people, primarily, in Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda, Burundi, Somali, Southern Sudan and some parts of Southern Africa. Around the world, the Swahili language is featured on many countries’ radio stations, including, the BBC, Radio Moscow, the Voice of America, Radio Deuschewelle, Germany, Radio South Africa, Radio Sudan, Radio Japan and Radio China. There are deliberate efforts to promote the language throughout the world and include it in education curricula for institutions of higher learning.
Swahili Words and Phrases:
Hello = habari?
Fine/I am fine = nzuri
How are you? = hujambo?
I am fine = salama
Thank you = asante
Thank you (very much) = asante (sana)
A friend = rafiki
Travel = safari
No problem = hakuna matata
Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre is a community-based organization that works to improve the life of underprivileged kids in Nyeri. Their goals are to reduce social isolation amongst youth, empower youth with educational information and job and leadership skills, and reduce the HIV/AIDS infection rate. You can find out more on their web site or on their facebook page, including how you can get involved, make a financial contribution, a donation of books (to build their library!), or even go there to volunteer.