National Virtues: Why Kenyans are Hospitable but not Benevolent!

Dr. Bruce Epps and Pastor Michael Otieno

Every culture has its virtues. There is no question that the thousands of tourists and guest who visit Kenya go back to their homes with great things to say about the Kenyan people. The constant testimony is how wonderful and friendly Kenyans are. You will not hear anything bad about the people of Kenya. However, people will tell you about restaurants without hand soap, or even tap water in the bathrooms, and the chaotic experience of driving around town. Eldoret is of course the worst town to drive through! Messy, Messy, Messy, utter madness!

However, Kenyans are hospitable but they are not benevolent. A Kenya family will not hesitate to have you stay with them in a one-room shack. They will not think twice to share with you what they have in the house. Kenyans will share with you their small amount of ugali, chai, and whatever providence they have in the house. A Kenyan will not ask you why you are visiting or when you will leave. They will treat you like family when in their house. But they are not benevolent. They will not give their wealth to an institution in their will just because.

Americans are not hospitable at all. They will demand that you tell them why you are visiting them and how long you will stay. They would rather that they take you out to eat and book you a hotel room in a near by motel than invite you to stay under one roof with them. But there any many of them I know that have been writing a check every month to support some child in Kisumu or wherever consistently without fail. They have never seen the child, they just trust the information they receive as true and give the money, not to the child, but unto God.  It is for this reason college like Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Harvard University has grants for international students. Alumni set out their wealth to support these programs refusing to have their children inherit all. Warren Buffet assigned his wealth to charity giving his children a small inheritance. Americans are benevolent but not hospital.

It is this philosophy of benevolence and a sense for duty that has seen American Christians embark on many programs to help in Kenya. From the early missionaries who build Kijabe mission in 1885 to the modern day Christians like Bruce Epps, Americans have contributed greatly towards development of Kenya and especially helped build the Church of Jesus Christ. Bruce Epps is the former Director of Development for the Neema-Huruma Foundation that includes the PCEA-Imbirikani Girls High School in Kenya.   He served as a development consultant for ALARM, African Leadership & Reconciliation Ministries in Dallas.  He also consulted for Hekima Place in Pittsburgh with an orphanage for girls in Kenya.

He is an Ordained Minister and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Mid-America Nazarene University and he also attended Nazarene Theological Seminary.

He was a pastor at two churches in Missouri and Illinois and taught for over 10 years at two Texas Christian colleges, Letourneau University and Amberton University.  He taught courses in World Religion, Critical Thinking, Media and American Culture, Sociology, and Business Writing at University of Phoenix.  He earned his Ph.D. in Leadership & Philanthropy from the Union Institute and University.  He has a 10-year long background in radio and has hosted a highly rated talk show on KCNW radio in Kansas City. Instead of retiring, Bruce decided to embark on American benevolence. He decided Kenya is the place for him!

The issue for the believer is not whether your country has a virtue: Whether predominantly hospitable or benevolent. The question is whether the individual will take that GOOD and have people testify about it from Jerusalem to the outer parts of the world. Dr. Bruce Epps and the American believer have historically done that. And Kenyans continue to proclaim, “Kenya inchi nzuri: Hakuna Matata”

“Go ye therefore into all the world and make men my disciples” Mathew 28:19ff

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD)
HTBluff Associates
Diaspora Messenger Senior Columnist

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  1. david ingolo says

    So does being benevolent portray you,as a better Christian than being welcoming to fellow men?and i have seen Americans who exhibit non of the benevolence nor hospitality,so my take is article is a misrepresentantion of facts,being benevolent does portray you a better Christian Infact it may lean towards honest and humble opinion.

    1. david ingolo says

      *sorry meant to ask,does being benevolent portray you as a better Christian?…

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