SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… Kenya

Map of Africa: https://ontheworldmap.com/africa/africa-map.jpg
Wildebeest crossing the Mara River in the Great Migration: https://video.link/w/27bvd
Maasai women welcome song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVTP3vU9MLE
Maasai warrior jumping contest: https://video.link/w/fAbvd
Slow motion Kalenjin runners: https://video.link/w/QAbvd
Eliud Kipchoge’s pace: https://video.link/w/rBbvd
Ugali recipe: https://ingmar.app/blog/recipe-the-national-dish-of-kenya-ugali-nyama-choma-na-kachumbari/



Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting Kenya… an east African country for its famous long distance runners, animal migrations, and coffee… my favourite…

So strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we head off to Africa and take a squiz at Kenya.

Just the Facts
If you picture the east coast of Africa —I’ll pop a map in your episode notes—there’s a bit that stretches out further into the Indian Ocean than all the rest. That’s Somalia, and beneath Somalia is Kenya. Kenya also has coastline on the Indian Ocean, and you can surf there… and further inland, you can ski – if you’re willing to walk up the mountain! Even though it’s close to the equator, Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, with snow-capped, skiable glaciers.

But the physical feature that Kenya is probably most famous for is something called the Great Rift Valley. It was formed more than 25 million years ago, and it’s 6500 kilometres long and about 60km wide. Valleys often cause lakes to form, because water collects at the bottom of the valley… and when there’s water, there’s wildlife. Kenya is the world’s number one destination for people who want to see wild animals. The “Big Five” that we learned about in South Africa are all here, too—lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard.

But Kenya has something else: The Great Migration. More than one million wildebeest, and hundreds of thousands of zebra and antelope migrate in a constant, clockwise loop between Kenya and Tanzania, in a constant search for green grass to eat. One of the best places to watch them on the move is in the Masai Mara reserve, in the south of Kenya. I’ll put a video in your episode notes of what some people call this “Greatest Show on Earth”.

Another fun show in Kenya are its Madaraka Day celebrations every June 1 – because on that day in 1963, Kenya’s 43-year struggle for independence from Britain finally came to an end.

Kenya is now a democracy with a president, but it is also known for high levels of corruption. That means that people can pay government officials bribes, or money, to get them to do things for them… which isn’t fair.

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

Learn the Lingo
The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili, although within its population of 55 million people, there are many different tribes and languages spoken. But let’s learn some Swahili! It’s a language that developed out of the East African language Bantu, but about 20% of its words coming from Arabic, Portugese, Hindi, and German. And… I bet you speak some Swahili already.

Hands up if you’ve ever sung along to a certain Disney movie about a lion where they say “Hakuna Matata”? Well, that’s Swahili! As you might recall, it means “no worries”.

I’ll let Squiz Kids Abayo, who’s 10 and lives in Brisbane, teach us some more. How do we say hello, Abayo?
Wow, that seems easy enough. Jambo, Squiz Kids! Tell us something else, Abayo…

Baba yangu alizaliwa Kenya, na mama wangy alizaliwa Taiwan.
Thank you so much for doing that slowly! Abayo just told us that her Dad was born in Kenya, and her Mum in Taiwan. She goes to a special Swahili school in Brisbane to keep her language skills up.

People are always really grateful when you just try to speak their language. They may even thank you for it. Hey, Abayo, how do we say thank you very much?
Asante sana.

And Asante sana to you, too!”
Now that we can communicate a little bit, it’s….

Time for School
In 2003, the Kenyan government introduced free primary school for all kids. That’s a good thing, of course… but the government didn’t build any more classrooms, nor did they hire any extra teachers.

You can imagine what that led to… overcrowded classrooms. Before 2003, the average primary school teacher had 40 kids in their class – which is a lot already! But now, it’s gone up to one teacher for 60 students! In some schools, it was more than 90! Imagine 90 kids in your classroom, sharing your one teacher!
You can imagine how hard it is to learn… and how hard it is to teach…

On top of that, that kind of overcrowding can be dangerous if there’s a fire… and as we all know by now from the Coronavirus pandemic, diseases can spread easily in crowded classrooms.

Let’s hope those problems are sorted out soon. Meanwhile, anyone in Kenya who can afford it, sends their kid to private schools.

One of the best things about visiting another country is immersing yourself – that means surrounding yourself – in a different culture. So, ….

Let’s Get Cultural
When people travel to Kenya’s national parks, they often meet people from the Maasai tribe.

The Maasai are nomadic people, meaning they move around, finding green grass for their cows, rather than living in one place. A Maasai man’s wealth is judged by how many cows and children he has… if you have a low number of either, you’re considered poor.

The Maasai’s music and dance are famous worldwide… particularly the adumu, which is a men’s jumping dance and contest, performed as part of a days-long celebration when boys become men. You’d better believe there’s a link in your episode notes!

Speaking of athletics, Kenya’s Kalenjin tribe is known by many people as “the running tribe”. Kalenjin men and women have dominated world long distance running for years! No one really knows why the Kalenjin are such dominant runners. They run to school every day… they live at fairly high altitude… they have fairly thin leg… they learn to tolerate pain as part of their cultural beliefs…

Whatever it is, they are extraordinary runners. There are two links in your episode notes: one to some slow motion footage of Kenyans running in the Buenos Aires marathon in 2018… and the other shows some regular people trying to run at the same pace as marathon world-record holder Eliud Kipgogei. Even better than watching the video, try it yourself! Measure out 200 metres, and see if you can cover it in 34 seconds. Then imagine running that fast, non-stop, for two hours. He’s FAST.

All that running, I’m starving! I think it might be…

Dinner Time
Kenyan coffee is some of the best in the world.. take it from me… but let’s talk about food that’s more appropriate for kids!
The national dish of Kenya is Ugali nyama choma na kachumbari … It’s actually three different things. Ugali is the staple food in Kenya – a kind of porridge made from maize, which is a flour that comes from corn. Nyama choma is grilled meat – Kenyans prefer goat, but you do you – and kachumbari is a type of salsa that’s served with it. I’m intrigued by the way they soak the onion for the salsa, so it doesn’t leave that oniony taste in your mouth. Check out the recipe in your episode notes. You learn so much from travel!

The S’Quiz
This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. Hakuna Mata is in what language?
Question 2. A Maasai man’s wealth depends on two things. What are they?
Question 3. Ugali is made from maize flour, which comes from what plant?