Home, From Home loves the culture beat, but when I was recently given a chance to talk to Kenya's Consul General, Ambassador Dr. Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga, I couldn't pass it up.
Post-colonial Kenya has a complicated political, social and racial history (that is a longer show!), but the nation's politicians are working to overcome these challenges and create a new vision for their people. In 2010, Kenyans ratified a new Constitution, this in the aftermath of a 2007-2008 political crisis that saw civil strife in the aftermath of an election. No doubt, both the new Constitution and the nation's resolve to turn a corner will be put to the test during the next General Election cycle, coming in 2012.
Kenya has been in the news recently. Nobel Peace Price Laureate, Dr. Wangari Maathai, passed away recently, and Kenya just embarked on its first major military action since independence, entering neighboring Somalia in search of Islamist extremists accused of launching terror attacks on Kenyan soil.
There were obviously tons of internationally important questions I wanted to ask the Consul General, but I wanted to use our time to explore matters closer at hand. What is like to be Kenyan in Los Angeles? Where does Southern California's Kenyan community live, work and meet? As we'll learn during our conversation, Kenyans come to Southern California for many different reasons, and that diversity has an definite impact on creating a cohesive base in LA.
Side note: The other star of this show - although unseen and unheard - was the Lionel Ritchie album cover that took pride of place in Amb. Dr. Wenwa Akinyi Odinga Oranga's Wilshire Blvd. office. It just goes to show that you can be an international powerhouse and a committed eighties R&B fan!