A small village in Kenya has created history by attempting to achieve the unimaginable: to be the first French-speaking village in the English-speaking world. Located in Githunguri District, Kiambu County, the dusty, rural village of Mitahato has astounded Kenyans and foreigners alike by embracing French, a language that very few people in Kenya are willing to learn, let alone speak.

"A Mitahato, nous aimons la langue française", quips Mose Waweru, a dimunitive 12-year old Mitahato boy as he welcomes visitors curious to discover the rare village. An adult man standing next to Mose explains to the visitors the meaning of what Mose has just said: "in Mitahato, we love the French language". Nearby, a group of children loudly practises a song in French, totally oblivious of the presence of the stunned visitors. Next, the visitors are ushered inside a nearby decrepit wooden structure, only to discover it is a massive library where only French books are on display. Inside, another group of children is learning French vocabulary from a young man from the neighbourhood. It is total consternation. How is it possible that an unknown village in Kenya has achieved such a feat? What is behind this rare initiative that has been launched deep in the Kenyan hinterland?

"The idea behind the Mitahato French Village is simple", explains James Ngunye Kimani, the manager of the initiative, "it is to give the children of Mitahato skills that are unavailable in the ordinary school system in order to prepare them for a better future". Kimani, himself a French learner who has already acquired Level A2 French at the Alliance Française in Nairobi, gives the history of the initiative: "it all started a few years ago when one of the sons of this village, Chris Mburu, who works for the United Nations in a francophone country, converted his childhood home into a library and began to slowly stock French books, hoping to benefit people in his village interested in learning French"..