Tuesday, March 27, 2018

So Your Character is From Kenya ... Featuring Pooja @ Lifes Fine Whine

It's time for this week's So Your Character is ... Post! This is a weekly segment where I interview lovely volunteers from around the world to give you a firsthand account of being a citizen of their respective country or having a disability. I'm hoping to encourage international diversity, break stereotypes, and give writers a crash course on how to write a character from these different places on our planet. If you haven't checked out last week's  So Your Character is from Nigeria ... be sure to hop on over there and give it a read!

Disclaimer: The content below may be culturally shocking to some. Each of these posts is as uncensored as possible to preserve the authenticity of the cultures of each of the interviewees.

(None of the Images are Mine)

I was born and raised in Kenya. I loved living there and have experienced amazing things there. I live in Nairobi which is the capital city and is pretty crowded. I love reading, traveling, and writing. I’m a student and currently attending university.

What do you feel is unique to your country? Landmarks? Celebrations?
I’m from Kenya and I think our wildlife and beautiful nature really stands out. There are a number of safari’s you can take when in Kenya to really get an up-close experience of what it’s like.  

Tell me about your country's environment. What are some of your favorite places?
The environment is good and some of my favorite places include the animal orphanage and the giraffe park! They are always so fun to visit. And I really enjoy trying out new restaurants or coffee shops with my friends!

Giraffe City, Nairobi
Tell me about your country's food. What are some of your favorite dishes?
I really love a lot about Kenyan food especially that it’s all homegrown so it’s so fresh and you can tell when you eat it! One of my favorites is Sukuma and Ugali.

Sukuma (Braised Collards)
Tell me about any different speech patterns in your country. Slang? Idioms? Words for things such as “biscuits” instead of “cookies”?
I don’t think we have a lot of those but we do tend to say words more like the British like ‘biscuits’ instead of  ‘cookies’ etc.

Describe briefly a regular day in your country.
Well for me it would be waking up, helping my mum out in the kitchen, doing some reading, hanging out with friends and then spending some time with my family at night.

Garden City Mall
How does your country compare to others, especially the States since my audience is primarily American? Environmentally? Politically? Culturally?
It’s not as politically stable as Western countries. When it comes to whether we have amazing weather compare to America because it’s rarely extremely cold or hot. We have a pretty different culture. 

Mombasa Festival
Briefly describe three of your country’s historical events that you feel are important.

  • 1947 when the Mau Mau rebel movement was born and fought for our independence.
  • June 1st, 1963- Kenya achieved internal self-government (Madaraka) and we still celebrate Madaraka day.  
  • December 12th, 1963 is the day we gained independence- one of the most important historical events.

Kenya Independence Day
What are some stereotypes about your country that irk you? What media portrays your country badly be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?
I don’t like how Africa is portrayed by the media in general, not just Kenya. We’re sometimes shown as unstable or even ‘hopeless’ by the media sometimes and that’s not true. We have a lot of potential and there are a lot of amazing people doing amazing things like saving the environment, helping educate children who can’t afford to go to school etc.

What media portrays your country well be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?
I love Bill Bryson’s work in general and I found African Diary by him interesting. It was fascinating to see your home through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time. 

Who are your top three favorite fictional characters native to your country in books, movies, or shows?
Mugo from A Grain Of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Njoroge in Weep Not Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and Munira in Petals Of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.

Thank you, Pooja, for this very informative post! Come back next week for a post all about Poland!

Are you interested in participating in this project? Check out the tips archive to see which countries have been filled and if you're from a different country, shoot me an email at howellvictoriagrace(a)gmail(dot)com. I'm especially looking for Cuba, Venezuela, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Egypt.

Do you have any characters from Kenya? Did this inspire you to write a Kenyan character or set a book in Kenya? Are from this or been to this country and you have further input? Feel free to share! Do you have any questions for Pooja? Be sure to thank her!

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