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Meet Kenyan village where locals speak French

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Mitahato village in Githunguri, Kiambu county is attracting global attention, particularly by French language speakers who come to enjoy the local culture displayed in French.

This linguistic anomaly is not a relic of colonial times. It’s the result of a passionate community driven by a desire for education and opportunity.

In 2020, Chris Mburu, a Mitahato resident and member of the Francophone Network of Kenya, established a French-language library in the village.

This simple act ignited a spark and soon the villagers, young and old, embarked on a collective journey to master the French language.

The library became the heart of the village’s transformation. Filled with French books, dictionaries, and learning materials, it provided a platform for residents of all ages to access the language. Children eagerly devoured French stories, while adults diligently studied grammar and pronunciation. Soon the village was buzzing with the sounds of French conversation, replacing the familiar Kiswahili and English.

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Today, Mitahato has become an oasis for French-speaking Kenyans. Shop signs are in French, children greet each other with “bonjour” and the air carries the melodic cadence of French conversation.

This remarkable progress has not gone unnoticed. The French government has recognized Mitahato’s efforts by awarding Chris Mburu, one of the village’s leading figures, the Chevalier medal for his exceptional work in promoting the French language.

The transformation of the village has also attracted tourists, making Mitahato a unique cultural destination. Many visitors bring donations of French books for the library, and many have the opportunity to interact with the curious children of the now-famous Mitahato French Village, who teach them traditional Kikuyu songs in exchange for French songs.

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