Salome ironing the kids’ clothes on the front porch. Note the basket of greens on the floor behind her. These were just picked from our garden.


Note on fundraising: So far 7 people have donated $2350 towards the bricking of the Ntaseka’s Maternity Ward. $650 is still needed to reach the goal of $3,000. It is not too late to donate. Click on


This picture was taken a half an hour after the one above. The ironing is done and Gladys is now picking the leaves off the greens to cook for that night’s dinner. Note Brian playing with his toys behind the basket of greens.

How climate effects how people live? The difference in climate between Kenya and the United States/Europe explains many things. I have found that many assumptions about life in the US/Europe are not valid in Kenya.

“Bread is the staff of life.” In Kenya maize (corm ) meal is the staff of life.

“There are four seasons in the year – spring, summer, autumn, and winter.” In Kenya the seasons are the “dry season” and the “rainy season.” These two seasons can vary considerable from year to year depending upon when the rain falls.

“Hurricanes and tornadoes are an annual danger.” There are no hurricanes or tornadoes in Kenya, but there are strong storms that can take roofs off of houses and people are struck by lightning.

“Spring forward, fall back.” Here in Lumakanda, since we are just north of the equator, the sun rises shortly before 7:00 AM and sets shortly before 7:00 PM every day of the year.  

“The polar vortex can freeze up large swaths of land.” While there is hail in Kenya, except on top of Mt. Kenya there is no snow or ice.

This map shows the population density of Kenya based on the 2009 census. The next census is planned for August this year. The map clearly shows that most of the population in Kenya lives is western Kenya where we live or around Nairobi/Mt. Kenya with a smattering of people along the coast and a few isolated places. The climate I am describing is that in the western highlands where the population density is high because of adequate rainfall and a moderate climate.

The highest reading in the shade I have seen on my outdoor thermometer was 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and the lowest was 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). This has major implications on how people live here.

First, people can wear the same clothes all year around. There is no need for a winter outfit, a spring outfit, and then a summer outfit. This considerably simplifies living.

Second, there is no need for heating or air conditioning, meaning no furnaces or air conditioners and its ductwork. Moreover there is no need for insulation, double/triple pane windows and doors, weather-stripping and caulking to make the house airtight, and other energy saving methods. Due to these savings, I would estimate that this would make a house in Kenya about half the price of the same house in the United States. Moreover there are no monthly energy costs for heating or cooling.

The children playing in our front yard on a Sunday afternoon. Note on the left in the back that the dishes which are washed outside are drying on a rack. Clothes also washed outside are drying on the bushes on the right. You can’t see her, but Gladys is on the veranda sorting beans to soak for supper.

I just read an article on Facebook that children should be outside at least four to six hours per day. This is absolutely no problem here in Kenya. We almost live outside during the day. I am an exception because I work on my laptop in my office, but during the daytime the other family members mostly live on the front veranda and yard. We all eat lunch there; Gladys talks to those who come to visit on the veranda; the children play there or on the front yard. The only exception is when it rains and we have to come indoors. Yet the indoors is like the outdoors because the doors and windows are open most of the daytime.  

Since at one o’clock the sun is directly overhead and we are about 6000 feet above sea level, from about noon to 3:00 PM on a cloudless day, the sun is very intense. Sometimes at this time of the day, I can stand in the shade and feel quite cool, but immediately become very hot by just moving a few feet into the sunshine. This is why a mother carries an open umbrella to keep the sunshine off the baby she is carrying on her back. I take my afternoon walk after 4:00 PM when the sun is lower on the horizon.

Is it surprising that, when Gladys and I visit the United States, we always come in the spring and/or fall?


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David Zarembka

Phone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya: