Veni. Vidi. Vesna.
Or getting to know Kenya in 10 days….
When I was coming to Kenya, I wanted to fully experience local life here. Previous Pulse volunteers advised me, ‘if you plan your travels well, you could see quite a lot in 6 months’. So I did. And I was sharing all of that with my friends, through photos and stories, being a proud ambassador of this beautiful country. But I also had a hidden agenda. I wanted my friends to come and visit me. For those who live away from home, in a distant place and culture, you know the difference such a visit could make.
Well. I made it. There she came, my first visitor, and a good friend, Vesna. Imagine my excitement 🙂 I wanted to show her the Kenya I know. I wanted to let her experience it all. The wild life, the national parks, the sand beaches, the thrill of the market place, the Masai culture, the Kenyan food, the energy of the big city, the pulse of the distant rural town, the impact from Save the Children’s work, the traditions and warm welcome of the rural community.
All of that. In 10 days. Ambitious, but not impossible. It would mean bringing Vesna to my working trips, and some crazy running from place to place every few days, but it was worth the attempt, so I made the plan. Luckily, Vesna agreed to it, and supported this marathon-type of a vacation. Even more, as an adventurous tourist, a passionate lover of African culture, and someone who’s closely involved in NGO world, Vesna managed to do some volunteering work on top – run a media training and support me in the field work, covering a few stories.
Now, that these 10 days are gone in the blink of an eye, and sadly Vesna’s gone back home, I look at the photos with a sense of nostalgia and pride. It was a crazy plan, but in case you wonder, we made it. And it was quite a journey.
Traveling with the elephants at the Amboseli National Park
You have not seen real Kenya, if you have not seen its wild life and nature. So first stop was an obligatory one: 1 day visit to Amboseli National Park, a famous view-point to Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and home for hundreds of elephants. The most memorable experience was passing by a huge elephant parade just a few meters off the road during the night. Too bad it was dark and my camera was not ready.
Dancing with the thunder
A touch of local culture and life in the city – we spent an afternoon with Thunder Squad, the group of teenage boys and girls from a slum area in Nairobi, who have formed an art troop. An enthusiastic independent journalist, Vip, supports them anyhow she can and offers them space to perform, in her office. That early afternoon they came back from a competition. They had not slept during the previous night, in order to prepare. They were probably exhausted, but we saw nothing of this, visibly the kids were excited and with a lot of energy. Youth has immense power – they danced, sang, performed acrobatic tricks, and event taught us to dance!
Welcomed by the community
Majority of my work is in the community, so luckily Save the Children management team agreed that I bring Vesna with me in the field. The most memorable moments from the meetings we participated are inevitably the hugs with the small kids, the excitement of the mothers, the songs, the warm welcome by the community health volunteers.
Zen moments in Mombasa
The beaches of Mombasa are notorious for their beauty. Photos below speak better than words 🙂
Around and about
Finally, when you travel extensively in Kenya, you’ll inevitably fall for the diversity of sights and experiences. From feeling the breath of a giraffe in your face, to feeling the soft skin on the tummy of a baby crocodile. From passing by numerous villages and markets, to crossing the equator. From meeting the Masai, to observing a bright colorful wedding ceremony, to being the center of attention of a student graduation ceremony…
10 days fast gone, this trip enriched us a little bit. Hairstyle, memories, emotions, thinking… it probably changed us in more ways, we are yet to discover. Looking forward to the next adventure! Cheers!