Daniel – a Kenyan Point of View
Daniel Omondi is an American citizen, born here, but who grew up in Kenya with his Kenyan family. I met him when he came to clean a piece of furniture under a Scotch Guard warranty. It was a pleasure to talk with him about his life in Kenya and his views on American and Americans.
Daniel is lonely here in the United States. His entire family is in Kenya. They are farmers, growing maize, sugar cane, beans, and other crops. They have cattle, goats and sheep.
In Kenya, at the end of the day the entire family would gather for a meal. He would come home to 11 or 12 people in the house. Each would sit in their assigned place at the table. After dinner, grandfather or grandmother would tell stories.
In Kenya, he would see an end to his working life. By age 55 or so he would have bought a house and rented it, hired people for his business and be ready to retire to live off the income and just supervise. In America he says “you work until the grave”.
Daniel is a member of the Luo tribe. President Obama’s father was also a Luo. I asked him about that and he had plenty to say.
He told me that Obama was neither African or African American. He had nothing in common with either group, according to Daniel, having been raised by white relatives. He expressed admiration, however, because Obama can get things done.
African Americans in general were criticized by Daniel. He described them as still wanting payback for something that happened hundreds of years ago. He sees America as the most advanced country on earth. It is a place where you work hard, get paid and can get ahead. African Americans, in his view, want too much from the government and criticize Africans for wanting to work hard.
He likes paying taxes. “In America, the taxes go for what they’re supposed to” he said. He does not like a lot of the other parts of American government, including the speeding ticket he got. No such thing in Kenya.
No suing people in Kenya, either. If you get hurt, you take care of it.
He talked about settling disputes in his village through a Council of Elders. I asked how you got to be on the Council. Being old was obvious, but he said that they also have to have experience, knowledge of the village, the people, your father and your grandfather. Prospective elders may watch and learn for a year or two.
He made one emphatic point about the Council. You must have been married to your wife for a long time. In his culture, the Elders cannot give advice if they cannot demonstrate that they have experience and knowledge.
Daniel operates a custom furniture and repair business which I have linked to in the photo. The work looks great so please consider visiting his website.
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