Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Ordinary things that make life extraordinary.

Category: Life of a Volunteer

Mellow Yellow Monday 010: Tree planting

mellowyellow Posting one of the last activities I joined as a VSO Volunteer in Kenya… a beach clean up! By noon time, we had filled about 50 bags of trash, mostly water bottles, to be taken to a recycling centre in Mombasa.

tree planting activity in Mombasa Afterwards, we, along with the local residents and schoolchildren proceeded to plant trees around the area.

More story and pictures about this here in my co-volunteers, Bara and Chinita’s blog.

Shadow Shot Sunday 006: Playing under the tree

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After my placement in Mombasa, I went down south of Kenya, to one of my co-volunteer’s area to do post-volunteer activities before my departure date.

With the help of a translator, I facilitated fun activities for these children who are part of the feeding program of an international organization. 

Signs,signs 005: Road safety commitments

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This sign is required by the Kenyan government to be put up in all vehicles:

I saw this sign in a matatu on my way back to Lukore from Mombasa. I just don’t know how much success it is getting though because for one, matatu drivers still drive like maniacs and there are times I saw drivers on the phone while driving. Seatbelts? Huh. Helmets? Hmmm… occasionally. I wonder how these are being monitored…

Signs, signs 004: Don’t feed the monkeys

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I am mighty scared of monkeys, I don’t know why. Stuffed toy monkeys are cute but the real ones – and there are lots of them in Kenya – I try to keep a safe distance.

Mellow Yellow Monday 004: Yellow Kenyan license

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This is the license of a matatu in Kenya. Matatus are the most common mode of transportation in most African countries. They are actually vans that ply routes  between towns and cities.

This was how I go around in Mombasa. Of course, there’s also the motorcycle – an equally terrifying ride to my area in Lukore. Prior to my departure for Kenya, I underwent motorcycle training as a requirement and received additional sessions when I arrived in Nairobi. However, I didn’t get to drive my own motorcycle as I thought it was better to commute and take the public transpo. In a way, I thought I was helping the locals earn something, but you can only imagine the nervousness and anxiety every single time I hopped on a moto or took the matatu for my longer distance travels :]

Here’s a post I made about the first time I took a matatu ride.

Shadow Shot Sunday 004: African buffaloes

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Visited Lake Nakuru last year with expat friends. It was my first visit to Lake Nakuru, a shallow body of water in the Rift Valley that attracts thousands of flamingos and pelicans and also provides refuge for the rhinos.

The most popular image of Lake Nakuri has always been the breath-taking swathe of pink flamingos feeding on algae that carpets the lake-bed. However, Lake Nakuru has more than flamingos – it is one of Kenya’s major national parts and is an important sanctuary for black and white rhinos. The entire park is also teeming with game – zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, impalas, warthogs, hyenas, baboons, among others, and, of course, the African buffalo (below)…

My first encounter with African game animals was a mixed-bag of emotions. Nervous, excited, and frightened at the same time. Moreso when we’re told that leopards and lions seek refuge in this park.

I used to watch these animals on television and I could not believe it that I was actually looking at them with my own two eyes, within safe distance, of course. I could not forget how giddy I was 🙂

I thank the Lord for the opportunity He has given me (and continues to give me)…  to go to places where I’ve only dreamed of going, to see things that I never imagined I would be able to, and to meet fantastic people from all walks of like.

Signs, signs 003: Camel advertising

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Every time I descended to Mombasa for my weekend rendezvous with my co-volunteers and expat friends, it’s the beautiful beaches of Diani that beckons to me the most. Not only that, we also marveled at the sight of camels at the beach! I have never seen a camel on a beach before but in Diani, they are every where and they are for rent. While I was afraid of camels (still am, and they’re stinky too), a camel ride added fun to every tourist’s visit to the beach, especially the kids.

One weekend, my co-vols and I were lazing out in the sand, this camel sauntered lazily in front of us…

… just slow enough for us to be able the signboard that was attached to it. It was advertising for an “Abenteur-Safari in der Masai Mara”. A perfect mobile advertising, eh?

Wordful Wednesday 003: A hairy experience!

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Last year, before my volunteer assignment in Kenya ended, I was able to do an item in my  bucket list of things to do before leaving. It was the craziest, if not most fun, thing that I did while there.

See….?

corn-row-hair-backview Okay, okay. I was bored and homesick and it was in my list, anyway, so I went for it! Here’s another view:

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It looked and felt nice… on the first day only. The succeeding days were… pure agony. LOL. Looking back at my hairy experience – I can now laugh at my silliness! My parents thought it was hilarious. My sisters and brothers chimed in as well. My son, well, he was surprised.

Here’s the full story  of my African hairstyle, if you are interested to know.

Shadow Shot Sunday 003: Swamp birds

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This post is still connected to Amboseli National Park. It seems that my posts for this week were all taken during my trip to the national park and reserve (last year). So please excuse if you are already bored.

There are so many swamps inside Amboseli National Park where animals love to cool down and have a drink. It has been said that the swamps are fed by snow-melt run-off and rain coming from Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Signs, signs 002: Group photo

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Last week I blabbered about how lonely my life was as a volunteer, but I tell you, it’s not that bad. Really. Once we had a long holiday in Kenya last year,  I and several expat-friends of mine made a trip to Amboseli National Park.

We were all to excited to be there… Never mind if it was a very long road trip inside a cramped van and the weather too cold. When we finally arrived, this big sign welcomed us. Before we went in, we just had to take a group photo at the entrance gate, with the huge sign, of course.  It’s for souvenir. LOL.

Wordful Wednesday 002: Making fire in the bush

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This photo was taken last year on my first visit to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park along with other co-volunteers and expat-friends. I had a great experience sight-seeing and ooh-ing and aah-ing at every wildlife I encountered there!

The local people living in the Rift Valley Area are mostly Maasai and we were greeted by a group of Maasai men who were actually the guides. They were shy but friendly to us muzungus (foreigners). Before we went on safari, the guides demonstrated a lot of things depicting their way of life and I only managed to take a photo of this one.

  I love this photo – look at how these Maasai men work on that fire. Even when clad in their traditional colourful shuka (piece of cloth wrapped around their body), they didn’t hesitate kneeling on the ground to show us how they it is done in the bush – using two sticks rubbed against each other and sprinkled with a generous amount of goat manure.

Don’t you  just love the shape of their heads? I certainly would like this picture framed some time soon.

Shadow Shot Sunday 002: My shadow on the waves

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This is another shot I took of me while walking along the shores of Diani Beach (in Mombasa, Kenya). I love to feel the fine sand under my feet, in between my toes, while the waves playfully lapped in the background and tickled my feet once it reached the shore… it was such a perfect Saturday afternoon.