Culture represents the artistic choices, behavioral patterns, religious diversity, and other belief patterns of a particular region’s people. The way in which a certain society develops has a key role in the development of its culture and language. Now one common aspect of culture in Kenya is ‘Kujenga nyumbani’; basically building an up-country house that you spend one night in every year when you have gone to ‘Eat Christmas’ and ‘jump the year’ as you terrorize villagers with your Axio that you will quickly put back in uber or taxify as soon as you are back to what a certain governor calls the ‘cirry’ where there are no villagers to spot you riding a 27 seater-33 stander Uber written KAMATANA Sacco; a matatu Sacco that plies KAngundo, MAchakos, Tala and Nairobi. Speaking of culture, we are just glad that there is no matatu Sacco that plies Matuu-Vihiga-Molo-Tononoka or another plying Nyamira and Mbale, because their naming culture would produce a disaster. We can think of a dozen other town combinations but since we want to see heaven with eyes we will leave that to your imagination.

You will be shocked that many Kenyans have palatial homes up-country but are renting their residence in the big city. We celebrate culture and today we will give you tips on how to manage this cultural aspect.

  1. Optimise the size of your development. Creating palatial ghost houses in the village is in most cases unnecessary and just a show of might. These behemoths are expensive to maintain and, in many cases, dark on the inside that even Van Damme will forget his Karate and kick-boxing skills due to fear of darkness. Build a manageable sized development, fit for your needs. Share bathrooms and have outdoor kitchens. Avoid too many bedrooms and stores. Keep grains in the external granary/ikumbi/dero. This even makes the ‘ka-villageness’ more vivid and sweet.
  2. Build a house with the features of a holiday Chalet, if possible. Create a chalet that you can market in AirBnB for other city residents who come from around your area to lease when you are in the cirry. This makes the construction have some economic importance. Proceeds from the rent paid by visitors can educate the little children from your village hence empowering your community.
  3. Have a fair balance of imported and local fundis. It would be detrimental to use local unskilled fundis to perform intricate tasks like tiling or wardrobes and kitchens. Have qualified fundis give skills transfer to your local fundis.
  4. Use local materials but have a great design. Contextual materials always offer the best solutions. If you have bricks, let them get laid properly. Getting a lousy lay of brickwork and other walling technologies contributes to a cacophonic end look.
  5. Budget to have your consultants to supervise the construction. Most city people building ‘kwa reserve’ usually prefer ‘urban’ based consultants. The challenge comes when the design is completed but the developer has not budgeted for the consultants’ supervision. In most cases when consultants don’t supervise, the design and the final product are two different buildings. Building up-country has extra costs of travel and time, budget for them if you want a good end product. One may reduce this cost by having a nominated technician from the region who can report to your main consultants who would visit the site during major inspections like setting out, ‘korogaring’ and finishes.