Interviewer: What is your cultural background? Tell me about the history of your culture?
Answer: The Kenyan culture is distinct from the American in some ways from the greetings to dressing to etiquette to interactions, and even language. Greetings among most Kenyans and especially among the Luo enquires into one's well-being, their family, and even about the weather conditions. This is mostly by a handshake and in some communities, bowing before an elder. Hugging is considered too much display of affection and indecent in some cases. The Luo have a rich history. Even as they live in Kenya, we are related to most of the Nilotic groups living in areas like Sudan, Uganda, Congo and even Tanzania. Generally, it is believed that we originated from Sudan.
Interviewer: Does your family celebrate certain traditions?
Answer: There are numerous traditions that we hold of value and such include the mourning ceremony, commonly known as tero buru where people come together bid goodbye a departed loved one. The other is the marrying ceremony, where the girl is given away by her family to a boy that she is marrying and this is known as nyombo. In this case, people from both communities come together to celebrate by slaughtering and cooking animals, playing music, and exchanging dowry. The ceremony is normally huge and can go for 2-3 days.
Interviewer: What key physical appearance markers would allow me to identify someone from your native culture? (i.e. : dress, hairstyle etc.)
Answer: Kenyans are known to dress in a very conservative way even in hot weather. Other communities like the Maasai have a unique way of dressing including a shuka (a piece of cloth) around their shoulders and sandals.
Interviewer: What are some moral and social values held by your culture?
Answer: So far the Kenyan culture across all subcultures have been influenced by Christianity and Westernization but despite all, we still hold respect to the elders in high regards and there are certain ways we cannot talk, dress or behave in the presence of someone you consider an elder in the society.
Interviewer: What are some cultural views relating to nature, the universe?
Answer: As I previously mentioned, the Kenyan culture is dominated by Christianity and people believe in God as the origin of everything in life. I can say, almost everyone in Kenya maintains this one outlook of general Christianity regardless of denomination.
Interviewer: What makes individuals of your culture unique and powerful in the universe?
Answer: I think Kenyans around the world are known for their wits and creativity. Art has always been the way of life in Kenya and you can see it in how people are meticulous in presenting themselves in the streets or even at work. This is also evident in Lupita Nyong'o the Hollywood actress who is popular for her sense and attitude towards creativity.
Interviewer: Thank you very much Akinyi and I hope that you enjoy your stay in the states for the period of your studies.
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