About death. And life.

Probably this is one of the most difficult things I am doing during my Pulse assignment. Writing this post.

One week ago my dog died. His name was Casper.He was not just a pet, he was family for 12 years, and I deeply loved him. I always dreaded the moment I would have to say “Casper was” instead of “Casper is”, and yet this moment arrived last week, sudden, sad, dreadful. Casper could have lived to reach 16 years or more, so I was, I am totally unprepared, more than 4,000 kilometers away, away for more than 3 months.

Ever since I came to Kenya I’ve been an involuntary observer of a few private tragedies, close relatives of people I met dying suddenly; because of illness; after an operation… Old people. Young people. In my Pulse assignment with Save the Children, in only three months I’ve seen more life tragedies than for years before that. But also in just three months I’ve heard, seen, and captured more life stories, powerful stories of lives saved, new beginnings, new hope. The experience of life… and death… of tragedy … and celebration … feels now like a high speed rollercoaster. I thought I was getting more and more insensitive, and yet today I know I will never be fully prepared. Because life… and death… sometimes just happen. And today I know I will not waste an opportunity to say to my close ones how much I love them. Not waste an opportunity to show appreciation, affection, gratefulness. Because there just might not be a “next time”.

So in memory of Casper and his past life, I dedicate this post in celebration of life. And to do that, it just feels right to share some photos from the mind blowing wildlife in Kenya. Life goes on, it’s rich, colorful, beautiful, dynamic. We should live it with an open mind and an open heart, with love, and without fear…



Miss you, Casper!



  1. My deepest condolences to you, Vani. What an amazing reminder to cherish every moment. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt sentiments and these beautiful pictures. It’s a loving tribute to Casper. Thinking of you…

  2. I am sorry to hear about your loss and appreciate the deep sentiment shown in your writing as a ‘virtual’ friend who has been following your insightful, thoughtful, well-written posts I offer my condolences and hope that words from a stranger might help in this situation when you are so far away from your loved ones. Thanks for reminding me about appreciating life and celebrating those things that are meaningful every day… an important, and very human lesson that can quickly get lost in all the noise. Laird

  3. God bless you sweet lady. I understand your pain. I too have some family members that I miss so much. And I have prayed that all will be well with them while I am away. Your post is very inspirational and just a few hours ago, I watched a video that mimicked your post. https://www.facebook.com/CountryDaily/videos/1344686895576815/
    I too, feel like I am on a roller coaster; different issues, but the same feelings of ups and downs. I love your photos! Thanks so much for sharing your story, your feelings and your pictures. Your dog looks like an angel 🙂

  4. Vaninakacheva. I feel sorry for the loss of your dog and other people back home. I think it’s just coincidence that they died while you were away. I am from Kenya and I am glad you are enjoying our heritage ( wildlife). Wishing you the best in the remaining 3 months.

  5. This is a really honest, special post, Vanina. I feel for you as I also lost pets and even family members whilst working thousands of miles away. It is hard. Nothing can describe the turbulence of feelings that go through your minds on times like this. However, I love the positivity of your post and the beautiful capturing of the thriving wildlife in Africa. Stay strong, and all the best.

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