Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's All Politics!

There is much buzz in Kenya following the results of the U.S. presidential election. Most Kenyans are very happy Obama won the election, post it proudly in the newspaper, and talk about it on the streets. The morning after the election, one of my Kenyan co-workers went off in a tirade about Obama being the Antichrist, but that was the only Kenyan I heard who was dissatisfied with Obama's presidency. Why does United States politics even matter to Kenyans? It doesn't really. It's more about Kenyan politics than anything. President Kibaki declared a national holiday, which I'm told he does now and again, for political gain. As is true in every country, politicians are always thinking about their own political strategy. By declaring a holiday and giving everyone a day off work, Kibaki is trying to gain a little more allegiance from the Luo people (the same tribe Obama's father comes from) since there has been animosity between the Luo people and Kibaki, who is Kikuyu. It's all politics. What's new?! Tomorrow the newspaper and people on the street will probably be talking about how stupid it was for Kibaki to declare a national holiday.

HOWEVER... Since there was a national holiday and none of us had to go to work, I went to Hell's Gate National Park (about two hours from Nairobi). We hiked through a canyon where many people have carved their names in the rock. Guess whose name we found on Obama Day?!We also saw lots of wildlife... zebras, gazelles, impala, and giraffes.
Along the way we learned why the area was named "Hell's Gate". It's an active volcanic area with hot springs used for thermal energy. As we walked through the canyon we took little "showers" in the warm waterfalls, and the end of the hike had a spectacular view. Looks nothing like I imagine hell to be.Kenya politics is ridiculous just like everywhere else, but today I benefited from the craziness. Obama isn't even in office, yet he's certainly been a good president for me so far. :) We have yet to see how this presidency works, but it will be an interesting four years no matter who you voted for! (And by the way, I did vote. My absentee ballot was set up before I left the States. No way was I going to miss out on this election!)

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