In Kenya, ethnic identity is more important than national
identity. Loyalty to the family is important to all groups. Whereas in Canada people
are often concerned with the rights of individuals, in Kenya family members give up
their individual rights in favour of the wishes of the group. The benefits of this
social value are that the sick are cared for and elders remain part of the community.
In the countryside, families live in homesteads with more than one house. There are usually four to six children per family. Sometimes a man will have two or more wives. Parents, young children and girls live in the main house, while the older boys and grandparents have their own hut. Women are always the busiest in the homestead. They cook, clean, collect firewood and water, care for children, farm and build their own homes.
The huts are usually built with earth-brick walls, thatched roofs and a cement floor. Additional huts will be used as a kitchen and storeroom. There is an outside bathroom, which is shared by everyone. Oil is used for lighting lamps and cooking is done on open hearths. Many villagers listen to a radio to catch up on news or soccer scores. Televisions are expensive and electricity can be difficult to obtain. People like to meet in market places, at bars, at places of worship, at the water hole, or at the local chief's house.
Many people move to the cities to find work. Cities
are crowded, so people often live in apartments or poorly built shelters. While there
is electricity in the city, water is difficult to obtain. Poor residents may have to
buy a tap or there may be shared outside taps connected to a bore hole or well from
which a water pipe runs through the community.
Wealthy Kenyans live in large homes called villas.