Exploring the Duka in Kenya’s Kids

Exploring the Duka in Kenya's Kids

Kenya’s Kids, open until January 4, 2020 at the Discovery Center, is a collaborative effort designed to recreate some of the lived experiences of children living in Kenya today by emphasizing both the longtime cultural traditions of the country and its modern technological advances. The exhibit is divided into five different environments that replicate some of the common places children see and experience in Kenya. Each space provides activities and hands-on learning that encourage visitors to use their imagination and to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of life and culture in Kenya today.

What is the duka?

A duka is a small market located in both rural and urban areas around Kenya. These markets sell a variety of items such as clothing, food, diapers and laundry detergent. In Kenya's Kids, you'll find the duka in the main exhibit gallery, next to the M-Pesa station. Some common items you will find at a duka are displayed on the shelves and in the surrounding crates.

What can kids do at the duka?

  • Pretend to be the cashier and check out customers or restock the crates.
  • Calculate the total price of groceries and convert the shilling amount into a dollar amount. KSH 100 = $1.00.
  • Purchase groceries to take to the Home and prepare at the outdoor kitchen. Don’t forget to withdraw your money first from the M-Pesa, or pay electronically on the phones provided.

What can kids to learn at the duka?

  • Fresh markets are important in Kenya, as not many families have refrigerators.
  • To help protect the environment, Kenya has banned the use of plastic bags. Instead, families bring their own bags or baskets to do their shopping.
  • Bargaining is a common practice at dukas and markets in Kenya, where customers and merchants negotiate the cost of an item until they agree on a price. Bargaining has deep roots in the country’s culture and is considered an essential business skill.
  • Kenya is a technologically-advanced country where almost all transactions can be made over one’s phone with the money-sharing application, M-Pesa.

Kenya’s Kids is part of a cultural exhibit series created by The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum with a goal of introducing children to cultures from around the world. This immersive exhibit is designed for children 3 to 12 years and was created in partnership with the St. Louis Kenyan community. Kenya’s Kids is generously made possible by the Crawford Taylor Foundation and The Dana Brown Charitable Trust, U.S. Bank Trustee. Locally sponsored by the Redbud Foundation, Kenya’s Kids will be on display at The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center from September 13, 2019 to January 4, 2020 and is included in regular admission.