National Geographic : 1969 Feb
Kenya Says Harambee! leges, and other joint ventures. Yet in numer ous ways, notably their politics, they differ, and Kenya, with an annual growth rate of 6 percent in its economy, continues to outpace the others. Social Change Sweeps the Cities Kenya's healthy economy itself creates a problem, that of rapid urbanization. Seeking jobs and excitement, young people pour into the towns and cities, many already over crowded yet growing at a rate of 6 percent or more each year. Trust an advertising man to capitalize on the temper of the times: "Be a City Man," said an ad promoting a Kenya made product, City beer. In Nairobi, in particular, the influx has meant social change. Take the old Norfolk Hotel, with its clubby atmosphere. It used to be exclusively for Europeans, mainly Kenya's landed gentry enjoying a visit to the capital. They still frequent the dining room, very British in manner, the look of genteel rus ticity green upon them, but now you also see the occasional African or Asian face. One day as I lounged on the hotel's porch, a spot much favored for luncheon or tea, a young, well-dressed African engaged in a furious altercation with one of the waiters. They spoke Swahili, but finally the young man, perhaps for my benefit, switched to English. "You must see your own people too!" he said vehemently. He thought he had been ignored by the African waiter in favor of a nearby table of Europeans. Possibly. But the African is being seen everywhere in Kenya today-and he is being heard and felt. Yet the young man seeking city or town all too often finds his education woefully inade quate for the job of his dreams. Here, as in other vital areas, Kenya's problems bulk huge and granitic. An estimated 45 percent of the population is 15 years of age or younger. This high proportion of children places a heavy burden on the schools. Moreover, they must increase their capacity 21/2 percent each year just to handle the increase in population. At present not much can be done to reduce the estimated 30 to 45 percent of the nation's children who never go to school. Limited funds have forced the government to make a very painful decision: It gives finan cial support to colleges and some secondary schools, but not to primary schools. County councils must support them, and they try val iantly, often giving the schools 85 or 90 per cent of their slim budgets. Even so, all pri mary and secondary schools charge student fees. Costs may run as high as 680 shillings a year, or about $97-extremely steep for the average African family. "But an African has many people who can help him pay a school bill-wives, brothers, sisters, even cousins," said E. E. Khasakhala, Assistant Minister of Education and a Mem ber of Parliament. "You assist any relative in school whose parents are poor." That's just the way it works, I was assured by Bob Poole, who travels extensively in Ken ya to direct the work of 260 United States Peace Corpsmen, 160 of them teachers. "Ev erywhere you go you find people paying school fees," he said. "There is a great pressure in the villages to send children to school." Mr. Khasakhala sees little prospect, any time soon, of government financial support for primary schools. "We have worked out the figures, and we just can't afford it now," he admitted. However, he pointed out that the government does train and assign teach ers, who are paid by the counties. Typically, the Mzee himself came up with a partial answer to the problem: the Haram bee school. Such self-help schools, built with the donated funds, materials, and labor of the people, grow slowly but surely, stone by stone and brick by brick, all over Kenya. Most serve the primary grades; others are secondary schools that, once operative, may obtain cen tral government financial support. Into this latter category falls a little eight-room cinder block structure whose dedication I attended at Sori. (Continued on page 183) "... and let fowl multiply in the earth." GENESIS 1:22 A IF IN FULFILLMENT of God's command ment on the fifth day of creation, great er and lesser flamingos from a vast area of eastern Africa congregate in the shallows of Lake Nakuru to feed on algae that thrive only in intensely alkaline waters. At times an estimated 2,000,000 of the birds gather here. More than 40,000 lesser flamingos ap pear in this remarkable photograph. KODACHROME(FOLLOWINGPAGES) BY HELENAND FRANKSCHREIDER© N.G.S.