Angama By The Sea

17 March 2020 | Inside Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

If you can’t take Angama Mara to the coast, why not bring the coast to Angama Mara? That’s exactly what Azei Lago and his fellow ‘coastals’ did for our inaugural Coastal Night, a celebration of the diversity of culture found in the Angama Mara family

As a way to celebrate our diversity and learn from one another, our Angama Way Officer, also known as Chef Collins, challenged us to showcase our cultural differences and teach each other about our beautiful country, Kenya. Our Angama family proudly embodies deep diversity: race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age and political beliefs, and as Steve Covey said, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”.

Culture has a strong influence on everyone, impacting their views, values, humour, hopes, loyalties, worries and fears. So, when you are working and living alongside others and building relationships with them, it helps to have perspective and understanding of their  cultures. We have about 42  tribes  in  Kenya  with different languages and cultures that all merge to become the unique mix of  Kenyan  culture.

At Angama Mara, these 42 tribes are well represented across our 47 counties. To include every region, we divided the country into four: Coast, Western, Rift Valley and Central. As a Kenyan from the coastal area of Kenya, my fellow ‘coastals’ and I were the first to showcase our region on the night we celebrated as “Coastal Night”.

Coastal Night Collage 1

For two weeks, with Google as my new best friend, I relentlessly delved into the Internet and many books and conducted a few interviews as I searched for the best way to present this region to my colleagues. I discovered all manner of information.

Did you know? The Coast Region rises from sea level (Indian Ocean) to 2,228 metres above sea level (Vuria Peak, Taita Hills)

On the evening of 25 January, we were well prepared to showcase our region. There was palpable excitement in the canteen, which we chose as our venue – as the food was brought in, smartphones were brought out and cameras were soon clicking. Our lodge team was invited, and we were privileged by the attendance of 14 guests who were staying with us.

Coastal Night Collage 2 copy

Cue music; action; ululations; the girls came in, dancing to coastal harmonies, with the men right behind them. The hip-swaying dance movements, the girls in their dera, and the men in kikois and fez immediately captivated the audience.

Did you know? Kenya is home to no less than seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the Coast Region hosts three of them: Fort Jesus (Mombasa); Lamu Old Town; and the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests.

The presentation covered geographic and political boundaries, economic activities, coastal tribes, foods that are now prepared all over Kenya, tourist attractions, little-known facts, dress, music and famous sons and daughters.

Coastal Night Collage 3

Did you know? Mombasa, Kenya’s oldest city (900 AD) was ruled successively by Portugal, Oman, Zanzibar and Great Britain.

Two hours later it was time to wind down, bellies full of spicy and sweet delicacies, thirsts quenched by madafu (coconut water) and kahawa chungu (bitter coffee made from ginger and other spices) and having taken to the dance floor to the beats of chakacha, taarab, bango and zilizopendwa.

Coastal Night Collage 3

It was also a personal eye-opener as I learnt a lot about my beautiful part of Kenya. The most satisfying part was when two colleagues came up to me to say: “You have taught us things that we never knew”.

“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity”  – Robert Alan

Daima Mimi Mkenya, Mwananchi Mzalendo
(Forever I am a Kenyan, a patriotic citizen)

Note from the Editor:

At Angama Mara we believe diversity encompasses acceptance and respect, understanding that each member of our family is unique, and recognising our individual differences.  It is the celebration of these differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and honouring the rich tapestry of diversity found within each one of us. And in the global challenging times in which we currently find ourselves, acceptance of diversity is more important than ever.

AUTHOR: Azei Lago

Azei is a much loved and respected member of the Angama family best known for his prowess during installation of somehow getting every single item from the onsite makeshift warehouse through the mud and pouring rain into just the right place. He was a fiend on the radio rapping out instructions and unmuddling the muddles. He is also known as The Voice of Angama Mara – you will understand when you come and stay.

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