Picking Your Nose In Kenya Africa: Bad Culture?
Picking Your Nose In Kenya Africa
Picking your nose is not a healthy habit, but you can often see people in Kenya people picking their noses.
It is important for me to say that I have learned that it is very important not to judge one culture by the standards of another culture.
But, the people here know by the look on my face that I don’t support “picking your nose.” At any given time the nose picking can begin.
Different Standard of Living
Luxuries are less important here in Kenya than in the U.S., where nearly everyone has an abundance compared to the average Kenyan.
Most people in Kenya have different level of concern for things. They are just happy to have a any pair of shoes. Feet are for walking, which many use barefoot even if they have a pair of shoes.
Clothes don’t have to match. People have less here, so people are just glad to have the bare necessities. People don’t have time to impress people. They are just glad to have what they have.
People are comfortable with just being. They are just happy to have food in their stomachs, and to have considerate people to share their lives with.
It is common to have a itchy nose and to want to scratch or pick the itch. So for many people here picking an itching nose if nothing to turn your nose up at.
Here in the coast of Kenya, the Kenyans in the villages live close to the land and sustain themselves from the land. They live in a natural setting and live closely with their animals.
Cleanliness is viewed differently because they live close to the soil, and often walk barefooted staying grounded to the soil and earth.
They often breathe in the dust from the soil, which can irritate the nose. Scratching and picking the nose developed as a natural way to deal with the irritation.
They have little clue that picking their nose may be a problem. But since they don’t have a problem with it, what makes my perception legitimate that it is a problem?
Is Picking Your Nose Part of Kenyan or African Culture?
It appears to me that this action may be a cultural norm. The culture doesn’t teach anyone to pick their nose, but it also doesn’t react against it.
A friend of mine, from the Luo tribe in Kenya, was reluctant to accept that picking your nose was part of the Kenyan or African culture.
She initially thought it was a habit of people who lived in rural areas, and was due to the lack of education.
But as we further analyzed the issue, she did acknowledge that she experienced this behavior in the workplace. So maybe the issue is cultural?
The reason I feel the issue is cultural is because it is accepted by a majority of people.
Why Is Picking Your Nose Is A Problem?
Here on the coast of Kenya, I find that the Giriama people are constantly sick from respiratory diseases like colds, flu, or bronchitis.
When you pick or wipe your nose you are picking of wiping away dry or wet mucus. The body produces mucus in the nose as part of its defensive inflammatory process.
The process traps germs, dust, and other harmful substances so they don’t enter the lungs and body.
When you pick your nose you put this mucus and germs on your hands. It is then easier to transmit disease through touching, or pass to food your eat or prepare it.
The medical industry highly recommends washing your hands often to help stop the spread of COVID and other diseases.
The mucus in your nose is waste material, and though it is natural, it is some of the body’s waste material. You should remove it properly to help prevent the spread of disease.
Rather than view the practice as an ill desired practice, I analyze the practice to see if it is beneficial to the culture. Picking your nose, though it soothes the irritation, helps to spread bacteria and viruses.
There is a better way to address the irritation.
Clean Your Nose Properly: Good Hygiene
People here regularly suffer from respiratory issues like colds, flu, and bronchitis. These conditions can cause a buildup of mucus in the nose and cause irritation. Also, people in rural areas are are prone to breathe in more dust because of the many dirt roads.
I am Muslim so I wash my nose multiple times day to prepare to make my daily prayers. Even though I am around many dirt roads and loose dirt in the air here, I don’t have the urge to scratch my nose.
It is a good practice to wash your nose with water several times a day and wash your hands afterwards. This reduces to build of mucus and germs in the nose, and reduces the irritation and urge to pick your nose.
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