Kenya photodiary – rafiki na familia

Africa, photography

We’re already onto part 3!
This is my Kenya photodiary filled with my film camera snaps from 3 months of volunteering with VSO.
I’m going to share some of my favourite photos of my friends and family in Ngare Ndare.

The most important friend you can ever have is your dog. This is Scotty. He was nameless before I arrived. He’s understandably not allowed in the house because he’s totally flea ridden and feral but I love him loads. VSO told us not to touch any animals while we were away but that’s a ridiculous and unrealistic task to ask from us.
UntitledWe had another dog called Bob but a few weeks after I left I got a text from my sister saying someone had poisoned him. He was foaming at the mouth, his eye had turned green and he couldn’t stand up. He was dead the next morning. Why would anyone do something so heartless? Poor Bob 😦




Sharlene. Oh boy, where do I begin?! This was my brother Moses’ daughter, I think she was 2. And a massive ball of unrelenting energy that no amount of games or dancing could calm. Like my Mama, she didn’t speak any English but she was the perfect tool for me to learn some Swahili.
Kuja – come
Kuja hapa – come here
watcha – stop
kwenda – go
habari gani? – how are you?
kwa nini? – why?
wapi? – where?
nakunpenda – I love you

We grew so close and I missed her big time when it was time to leave
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Kianda life

We lived on a dirt road in Kianda and when I arrived the kids from neighbouring roads they screamed ‘Mzungu!!!’ (white person) then hid in the bushes. I swear to God they were terrified of me. Even some of the adults couldn’t quite meet my eyes when I greeted them. Over time it got easier and I think they realised I was pretty normal (well….) and wasn’t there to hurt them.

This road outside my house was where I spent most evenings and all day Sunday. There was a group of about 15 kids who became my own mini cheer team. I naturally gravitate towards kids because we’re on a very similar maturity level. Seriouly, these kids were awesome. Always singing and dancing and when I gave them a few skipping ropes they were occupied for hours. As the evenings grew dark I’d tell them ‘nenda nyumbani’ (go home) and try my hardest to shake em off me.
Little Mary (omg twinz!), Vinnie, Ronnie, Mercy and the others were some of my closest friends when I was in Ngazza Ndazza. Untitled
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Kenya photodiary – Makutano.

Africa, photography, Uncategorized

Hey, Jambo, Habari.

Welcome to Girl Got Lost (formerly ‘Mary’s Project Year’ – but I’ve kinda stepped over the year mark, sooooo….). I’ve just come back from a crazy 3 months in Nanyuki, Kenya, where I was volunteering with VSO. More about the actual work later; for now, let me share with you some of the photos I took with my film camera. I love using film but it sucks how expensive it is and how valuable my camera is. So I mostly used digital in Kenya and took crappy videos and didn’t care too much for the outcome and saved my film camera for the safety of my home or garden. But now I’ve had the films developed I wish I was more adventurous with my photography and taken more pics at large community events and cultural ceremonies. Oh well, it’s definitely inspired me to take more next time I’m in Kenya/Africa/anywhere!

I’ll try and group the photos so expect a few posts.

Boda Life
Untitled This was taken from ‘Makutano’ which translates to junction in Swahili. So each town has their own area called Makutano but this was Nanyuki’s. We lived 10 mins from town and a further 15 min walk from the tarmac road. Although it was against VSO’s rules we used to travel by boda boda almost everyday. Thats the motorbike you see in the left of the pic. That small seat could carry around 2 or 3 passengers but we’d all seen bikes carrying 5 or 6 people, babies, goats, sofas etc. One time I even saw a bike carrying a cow. It’s legs were folded underneath it and it’s face was as puzzled as mine. Despite 2 near death experiences (seriously, Sophie and I almost had a head on collision with a lorry and another time my driver had to swerve off the road completely because of an oncoming vehicle) we all loved our boda rides. Especially during a night out, getting from bar to club at ridiculous speeds, nothing beats it! Plus it was dead cheap; about 30p for a 10min drive and one time I travelled for a full hour on a boda through forests, past giraffes and on a mud road for the equivalent of £1.60?!

Muddy Makutano   Untitled Untitled Untitled Our rural-town mix house was down a muddy path past a tiny church (you could really hear them screech out those hymns on a Sunday morning), a few grocery shops and guys welding on the street. Welding with zero protection equpiment may I add. Hardcore. I loved where we lived and the twice daily hilly walk because we were away from the bustle (and sometimes danger) of Nanyuki life but close enough to still get in and out quickly. We were down the road from Liki slums where we heard stories of petty crime and a woman getting beheaded. Our team leader also gave a passionate ‘don’t ever go to Makutno’ speech… Eeeeer we live there mate. But at the end of the day we stayed safe and the biggest drama at our compound was that someone stole our neighbours chicken. 50% of the time the road back home was fine, the other half was hell. The rain washed away our hopes of getting home quickly and cleanly. Seriously the path became and fast flowing river and we’d be ankle deep in thick mud. Our host mum would sigh at the state of us when we eventually reached home and would proceed to clean our boots with a machete the next morning. One evening I feel right on my bum because of the slippy road. Another time we saw a snake slither straight past our feet through the water.

Mount Kenya Untitled

Some mornings I would wake up at 5:30 am and there wasn’t much more to do than go for a run. And this was my view. When I used to live in Cape Town I could jog while checking out table mountain and now I had the glorious Mount Kenya to see in the mornings – not bad. The sun would rise from behind and you could see a clear outline of the mountain for a few hours before the clouds would come and hide it. On a really clear day you’d be able to see the snow and glaciers at the peak.

Untitled (run recovery on the grass. Soon to be covered in excitable dogs and subsequently muddy paws on my face)

Hopefully this has given you a little insight into Kenya and my experiences. I’ll have a few more posts on home life, cultural dress and lots of photos of my beloved cows. Crazy times.

Tuonane baadaye. (see ya laterrrr)