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 ūüė¶




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
Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled
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
Untitled Untitled
Untitled Untitled

1 week in Murcia


Everyone in Murcia comments on how there’s nothing to do here; it’s kind of true but part of the fun. You’re not overwhelmed with tourist attractions and worried about not fitting it all in. It’s just chilled.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.22.58

I’ve been here a week now, of course it feels like it’s flown by but then when I look at what I’ve squeezed in it makes sense that I was jetting off from England 7 days ago.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.24.36In my first week I’ve; moved in to a new apartment, been to 2 job interviews, met and taught 3 new students, done 3 hair braids, visited 1 beach, consumed my fair share of sangria and gross shots, danced to cotton eye joe with some crazy yanks, signed up to the gym, navigated my own way around most of the city, been to 1 student festival, booked tickets for another festival (aaaaye up years&years, 2manydjs, Morrissey etc!), dyed my hair, temporarily scared a few with my botched hennas, been rained on whilst trying to eat dinner, been woken up by the Spanish remix of ‘murder she wrote’, been woken up to the sound of continuous gunshots that turned out to just been weird play bomb things, been¬†excited at the thought of Nina coming to visit, dodged rollerbladers, watched more than enough Louis Theroux documentaries, booked flights to attend an assessment day (planning my next move),¬†seriously considered buying pet rats, met a bunch of new gals and guys (mostly english oops), people watched from my balcony, seen a double rainbow, sun bathed and generally had a wicked time.

IMG_0079 IMG_0081

Don’t worry mum & dad (not that you ever would), I’m keeping busy.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.25.17 Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.25.02

I don’t know what else to add apart from the fact that I’m feeling veeeeery grateful and if anyone wants to visit and join the LOLz (and you’re not a psycho…) you’re more than welcome to.

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 00.05.33Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.23.32

Mary x

IMG_0077IMG_0076IMG_0075IMG_0082IMG_0078Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.24.48

Thoughts whilst in Madrid



Thank God I’m not comfortable with wasting my life away in the same place (I joke I joke. nothing wrong with staying put somewhere but I’m grateful I can wiggle out of my comfort zone once in a while). Going to Madrid was a bit of a gamble but worth taking as I had an unforgettable experience even though I went it alone. It was over a month ago and I’m annoyed with myself at not posting sooner but hey WHAT YA GUNA DO ABOUT IT.


I’d never been to Spain’s capital before and chose to go after my quick visit to Murcia because people (on the internet) favoured it over tourist-heavy Barcelona. I took a ‚ā¨15 coach and arrived to blue skies on Sunday 22nd February. I had almost given up hope of Couchsurfing and was looking into hostels because everyone I’d sent requests to was either out of town or lived too far out of town. Finally I got a notification telling me I’d been accepted by Alfredo, an IT consultant living in Villeverde Bajo, in the south of the city. Result.¬†

Before I went to Alfredo’s I planned to explore the south of the city. I found a train station with luggage lockers, left my rucksack there and went on my way. I walked for a few hours until I looked at my whatsapp (Alfredo had let me know he was home) and my watch and realised it was time to get going. Obviously, being the ditz that I am, I hadn’t noted down where I’d left my bag. And had very little knowledge of Madrid’s main stations. Luckily I retraced my steps and managed to find the right station after a few attempts and a wasted hour or two. This basically sums up my attitude/luck when travelling. I’m unorganised and usually daydreaming but everything’s always fine in the end.


Yeah yeah, I say this every time I go anywhere (apart from Frankfurt, I severely dislike Frankfurt), but I had an incredible time in Madrid. The days were cloudy but my eyes were feasted to charming buildings and the nights were all about the beer, tapas, gorgeous music, people and laughter.


The trip was a while ago now but I’m still going to¬†share some things I thought of while there. Can’t wait to look back on this list when I’m 90 and think how ridiculously unorganised and naive I was.

Thoughts during my first visit to Madrid;

1- What is this Ale-Hop shop and why doesn’t it exist everywhere and why don’t I own all of these cheap ‘accessories, gifts and d√©cor’ items!?

2- Why don’t I own a motorbike or have a boyfriend with a motorbike *changes Tinder description ‘motorbike owners only plz*. (My CS hosts car was in for an MOT so we just went cruising round the city on his motorbike. He said he could tell I was an experienced passenger ((lol I aint)) and new I was an adrenaline junkie so thought he’d go faster than he normally would with passengers. The wind was crazy and the roads were hectic at times but it was up there with one of the best things I’ve ever done. We went through cobbled streets, past cathedrals, huge government buildings and a bloomin palace! You don’t experience moments like that, for free, if you stay in a hotel.)


3- Why don’t I live in Madrid, this place seems to have the best of everything

4- Zaras here are prettier than most churches (is that blasphemy?)IMG_1577

5- Every girl here looks so fab and glamorous, why am I not you?

6- seriously, how do girls here look so effortlessly stunning

7- guys are even more beautiful.

8 – there must be something in the water. give me all the water

9- aw guys are so friendly here. I’ve just been called beautiful 3 times in the past hour.

10- oh no, quite a few are major creeps. Stares all round

11- I wonder why it’s totally acceptable to scream ¬†‘MAMA’ down the road. full on screaming.

12- why is this deep friend fish stick I’m eating and how unhealthy is it?

13- why am I standing up at the restaurant. Where are all the chairs?!


14- couchsurfing parties are expected to be totally lame and awkward, lets not get our hopes up

15- oh no, this couchsurfing party is promising. We’ve come to a lively club, free drinks all round and a fun group

16- eurgh, this german couple we’re hanging out with are way too wannabe quirky for my liking. Put down your pikachu rucksack and stop dancing like you’re in a cheesy 50’s movie.

17- roof bars are my new favourite thing! Not new favourite, they’ve always been up there in the top 5 but this place is amazing. I’ve watched the sun set and eaten 3 different types of pizza; life doesn’t get much better


18- should we go to this kizomba party? sounds like it could be cool, something different. *watches video of instructor on YouTube* yeah sorry, we’re not coming. nope.

19- why is this woman in a flamenco dress lip syncing and aggressively dancing towards me?


20- wearing sunglasses and a coat together isn’t just acceptable, it’s expected.

21- the little dogs are even cuter than ones in Paris, plus there’s a lot less poop lying around the streets


22- the only way to describe this palace and gardens is ‘freakin majestic’


23- there seems to be news reporters, police and ambulances everywhere. Non-stop dramaIMG_5554

24- I may have found my favourite place to run. River, hills, views and pretty flowers. a 12 mile run seemed to fly by without me realising


25- whats that loud noise and rumbling feeling. *gets back to hosts house 10 minutes later* ‘did you feel the earthquake?! It’s on the news!’

26-  the wind is so strong I genuienly think theres a hurricane happening too

27- I am surrounded by the worst dressed Disney characters I’ve ever seen. Why do they keep taking their heads off and why are they here. THIS IS NOT DISNEY LAND

IMG_5669 IMG_5567

28- I’m an unstoppable, bad ass, confident, solo traveller. I don’t need no one. Look at me totally sussing this all out on my own. I’m a total boss

29- oh no wait, I’m lost

30- found my way again. Its 11pm, I’m in a foreign country, I don’t speak the language, I’m tired, hungry and pretty poor but I’ve still managed to navigate my way to this random house on the outskirts of Madrid without internet or the full address. I’m allowed to be proud of myself

31- why is my couchsurfing host the friendliest person in the whole world *feeling lucky and content* & I have my own room, bathroom and roof terrace!

32- these ruins are pretty darn cool. I feel like I’m in a Will Smith movieIMG_1699

33- I don’t need any clothes. Must stop shopping

34- just a few pieces can’t hurt; theres a sale on so it doesn’t really count

35- I can’t fit half of my stuff in my tiny bag and I need to leave for the airport asap rocky

36- lets wear ALL MY CLOTHES. So many layers that I can barely get my oversized coat on

37- airport food is the most overpriced poop. I’m so done with this. I’ve spent all my money and have no souvenirs. But I want a sandwich.

I arrived back home in Paris with 2 euros to my name but some of the best memories and friends for life. Spain was gorgeous and Madrid was the perfect remedy to any problem I’d experienced in the previous few weeks. So much love and gratitude to anyone I met, stayed with or chatted to over a very reasonably priced beer. Until next time.



Maz, beso