I was sitting with friends one day and there was an impromptu session of ‘mchongoano’ going on. I was the brunt of the joke that day, due to the fact that people from the Luhya tribe are known to be good maids and watchmen.
Most puns were a bit lacklustre, but one of them hit home. This guy called Baraza unleashed the gold card on me. He told me that a Luhya girl with ambition would probably be sitting in their classroom thinking; ‘When I grow up, I don’t just want to be a maid, I want to be a maid who wears a uniform.’
He went on to say that if it was a boy, his ambition would be to be a watchman – who wore a uniform.
It was funny, but several months down the line, when I looked at the lack of development in several areas of Luhya-land and many other small towns with massive potential, the comment stood out like an ugly pimple.
The question is, do Kenyans lack ambition or are they just lazy?
One of the places that gives a bleak example is Malindi. It is a beautiful town with good infrastructure, fantastic weather and friendly people. But citizens who live there have almost been cultured to believe that the tourists who visit in certain seasons are their only lifeline.
When the tourists are not in session, the youth engage in petty crime, stealing handbags and phones to get by. It would come as no surprise if there are ladies competing to get hooked up with the best looking tourist, or if they decide one day to host the ‘Best Beach boy’ pageant. I refuse to believe that there is nothing else they can do to generate income, the tourist visits should only be a boost.
My sister in law, who was posted to work in another town close by, told me that her neighbours would laugh at her because she decided that instead of buying vegetables very far away she would plant her very own vegetable garden in her compound. Is that culture or laziness?
And we don’t lack opportunities. In Ndere, there is a National Park run by the Kenya Wildlife Service called Ndere Island. It is beautiful and attracts a lot of visitors. But even though it is common knowledge that you might stand the chance of severe dehydration if you try to walk on that Island without a bottle of water/replenishing fluid, there is not even one shop close-by that sells the commodity. Everybody is fishing Omena nearby.
I think don’t think Kenyans lack ambition; they are just too lazy to think of another way out.