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Kenyan Gen Z shares culture shocks that he experienced in Germany

We featured journalist Cyprian Kimutai on #PulseYouthMtaani to share his unique perspective of Berlin, Germany and how different it is from Kenya

Cyprian Kimutai in Berlin Germany

Cyprian Kimutai Limo is a multimedia journalist from Kenya who recently got an opportunity to fly to Berlin to take part in the International Journalists Program fellowship in Berlin, Germany.

After completing one month in the new environment where he has been attached to a media house, we featured the 25-year-old rising journalist on Pulse Youth Mtaani to share insights about his experience in Berlin.

As a Gen Z, he shared his unique perspectives and how different it is from Nairobi.

Can you paint us a picture of your first impression upon stepping into this vibrant city?

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Imagine this, one morning you are busy fighting for space to walk on the busy streets of Nairobi then the next you are freely galavanting the streets of Berlin marveling at the ancient architecture mixed with modernism sandwiched between the occasional well-maintained public parks and flowing rivers.

Quite a transition indeed! What were some of the most surprising differences you encountered in terms of the weather?

OBack home, we always know whether it’s going to be rainy or sunny. Mejja was right when he said, “tuna talanta ya kucheki weather, hiyo jua, hiyo jua ni ya mvua.” Well in Berlin, one moment, the sun's out, and I'm strutting the streets like a rich African uncle, only to be caught in a sudden downpour, desperately seeking shelter.

Seriously, I've mastered the art of carrying an umbrella and sunglasses simultaneously. Apparently, it’s supposed to be summer here.

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Let's talk about public transport. How did Berlin's system differ from what you were used to in Kenya?

I thought I'd seen it all when it came to matatu madness back home, but Berlin's public transport system is a whole new ballgame.

People here wait in line, respect personal space, and nobody's in a hurry to elbow their way in. It's like I've entered an alternate dimension! It’s funny how here the people avoid using cars because they have to stop at traffic lights which according to them slows them down and delays their journey.

Clearly someone should show them pictures of Jogoo Road on a rainy Monday evening during rush hour.

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Now, onto something spirited – drinking culture. How does it differ from Kenya's vibrant sherehe scene?

In Kenya, tunapenda sherehe, but Berlin takes it to a whole new level. You won't believe your eyes when you see folks lounging in parks, sipping on brews like it's a weekend carnival – except it's Tuesday afternoon! Public drinking is practically a sport here, and the police? Well, they seem to be too busy handling more important things like corruption or actual crime, you know?

In the evening, parks transform into hangouts where you're just as likely to stumble upon a picnic as you are to a mini-concert. Talk about a new kind of party scene!

Let's talk about social interactions – how do Berliners express themselves in public compared to Nairobians

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Berliners take Public Displays of Affection (PDA) to a whole new level. Walking down the street, you'll witness couples of all ages swapping kisses, holding hands, and wrapping themselves in hugs. Hapa kama huna mtu pole.

It's like the city's been sprinkled with a special potion of love, and they're sharing it with everyone. Whether young or old, love's on full display – and there's no room for shyness!

Now, cigarettes – they seem to be a common sight in Berlin. How did that surprise you?

Absolutely! Stepping off the plane, the scent of cigarettes engulfed me – a cloud of tobacco smoke everywhere. And the surprising part? Most people roll their own cigarettes! From university students to café patrons, it's like an Olympic event of puffing away. Quite the maze, indeed!

To wrap up, how has your one-month journey in Berlin shaped your perspective and growth?

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Navigating Berlin has been a whirlwind adventure of culture shocks and self-discovery. While I'm still learning the art of minding my own business and recycling, I've undeniably grown as an individual.

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