Status

There are some phenomena here that confuse me. And I’m not the only one. Conversations with other volunteers, especially those of us who work outside that oddity called Nairobi, reveal a common sense of bewilderment at “the way things are” in Kenya.

I’m developing a theory. I really don’t know if it’s close to the truth, but its giving me some amusement; when things don’t make sense to me I try and reevaluate them according to my theory and the results are supprising.

This is a kind of work in progress for me. I wanted to come up with a list of convincing examples and post them all here together with my theory.

Sounds like I’m trying to apply scientific method to my life. :rolleyes:

That’s not going to happen because I can never remember more than a couple of examples at one time. Here’s one to get us started: Kenyan road-rules.

Another is the fact that, especially in rural homes, children get given rubbish food like Ugali (maize meal and water) while their fathers get meat (when its available, which is’t often). But when good things are on the table, the chilidren can be found in aother room eating their own food which is, generally, of poor nutritional content.

And the theory…. its all about status. The reason this stuff seems odd to me is because my framework for judgement is based on utility. Things make sense to me when they work, benefits are in the form of increases utility or efficiency. In Kenya people seek benefits in the form of increased status. And not only personal status, there are well known hierarchies here, like the The Most Metal Wins, and people do things to serve or preserve those hierarchies which, when viewed in the light of utility, look daft.

Time to reevaluate.

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