It amazing how the 2013 has gone by so fast…I know I haven’t written any posts this year😦 so this is going to be the only post of the year 2013. I will highlight the things that have happened and hopefully promise to be consistent with my posts in coming years… does that sound like a resolution already? Well, we’ll see.
A day visit to the Giraffe Centre, in Nairobi with my friend, RJ. The Giraffe Centre, also known as the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife is a rehabilitation centre for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe. Other than getting close to the giraffes, the centre is also world known for conservation education (offering students a chance to showcase their talents in environmental competition through essay writing, art and photography), environmental and ecology trips; and micro-project funding, monitoring and evaluation.
Visitors at the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
An excursion to the Fourteen Falls, which is situated 27km from Thika town, Machakos County. It’s close to the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park and is protected by the town council. When the waters are high, the local guides will offer their boat services (at a small fee) and help visitors cross from one side to the other.
A group crossing the falls after heavy rainfall.
My first time on the Kenyatta International Conference Centre viewing tower, from the helipad you can see Nairobi and it’s environs in 360°.
View of the Railway Station, Nyayo stadium and Nairobi environs from the KICC helipad
Visited friends in Kisumu and witnessed the construction of an eco toilet. An eco toilet is a dry or waterless toilet, one that doesn’t use water to take the waste somewhere else; it also allows natural processes to produce useful compost and they don’t smell. A handful of sawdust is dropped into the toilet after each use. The sawdust allows oxygen into the pile, and absorbs liquid. This allows the pile to decompose aerobically to produce nitrates, phosphates and sulphates. Well, that wasn’t why I visited my friends but was a good experience. We ended up going to birdwatch at the lake, which, we later concluded, was a not so good idea because it rained cats and dogs shorty after we arrived at the lake; though it was beautiful watching the rain and the wind shifting the water hyacinth at the lake.
An eco-toilet double-vault: The basic principle of an eco-toilet is to separate urine and feces.
Together with the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central and other organizations and schools, we got to plant trees at the Karura Forest Reserve, which is located in the northern part of Nairobi city and is managed by the Kenya Forest Service. The reserve also offers important attractions that visitors enjoy including Mau Mau caves, scenic waterfalls and rivers, picnic sites, walking trails and small wetlands.
Restoring mother nature, one tree at a time
The National Museums of Kenya got to host Thailand cultural festival, a night full of Thai music, food and performances, including a tribute performance to Kenya.
My two friends from Canada visited Kenya and it was an amazing time visiting some of the various Canadian supported projects, families and students in Western Kenya. We made visits to orphanages and special schools including school for the deaf in Kakamega. We also made a visit to my rural home and family in Machakos County. This is the same day that our dad passed on due to heart failure, may his soul rest in peace.
My friends, Angela and Shelagh
Pupils at the Mwikhomo school for the hearing impaired, Kakamega
The last photo I took of my dad🙂
I travelled to Morocco to attend and present a poster during the seventh World Environmental Education Congress. The flight had an overnight layover at Cairo, so I spent the day photographing nature at Al-Azhar Park where ended up dancing with kids at the park and getting invited to family picnics-I photographed them instead.
One of the families that invited me to picnic with them, we settled down for a photo shoot
Later I flew to Casablanca, only to realise that the airline had lost my backpack along the way but eventually found it and took a train to Marrakech. I met more people, made new friends and explored various attractions around Marrakech, including Jebel Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains which my new found friend, Grace, invited me to climb. And while hiking, one local guy told our small hiking group that it was easier finding a man in Morocco than finding water, well, long story but we could attest to that.
With Moroccan students at the conference
Any mention of Marrakesh is incomplete without the beautiful and busy square, Place Djemaa El Fna
Grace and I at the peak of Jebel Toubkal
I was contracted to travel and photograph an ongoing pollinator project (read critters ☺) at Mogotio in North Rift Valley. The pollinators including insects, birds and bats were in abundance; the flowers too. The birds interacted very well with hoverflies; they gulped them in mid air!
Cattle Egrets feasting on hoverflies
Most of the times I love to think that am a passionate tour guide by profession🙂. I got to go on several safaris, all of which has the same itinerary. We would pick tourists from the airport or hotel in Nairobi, drive to Samburu National Reserve, spent atleast two nights; then head to Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha or Lake Elementaita and spent two more nights before dropping the clients at Maasai Mara National Reserve. I had one group that spent a night in Amboseli National park before they proceeded with their safari in Tanzania. These, I must say, were my best guiding (and photography) moments…got to witness lions killing a hippo, ostriches taking a bath in the red earth, a herd of Giraffes drinking water and a young cheetah hunting Sacred ibises. The highlight of the month was when I hitchhiked to Kora National Park to attend the 24th George Adamson’s (Father of the lions) memorial. What more can a tour guide ask for?🙂
Reticulated Giraffes in Samburu National Reserve. This is why I was excited to witness them drinking water
George Adamson’s burial place inside the Kora National Park; He’s buried beside his brother Terrence and Supercub, (Terrence’s favourite lion) and his own favourite, Boy.
This is my birth month. Also my late mom’s birth month; may she rest in peace. So I got to celebrate two birthdays in a span of two days. These, I celebrated by desnaring, which is an exercise that involves removing traps set by poachers to catch wildlife. The exercise was organized by Born Free Foundation team in Nairobi. We rescued several zebras; other antelopes weren’t as lucky.
The team with a zebra after the KWS vets cleaned its wounds
Another difficult month for our family where a week after we visited our 90 year old grandpa, he passed on due to throat cancer, may his soul rest in peace. Here is the last photo we took together❤
This month was a special one, worldwide. It was the month that the world would witness the solar eclipse and it was noted that the only good place to see the eclipse was in Turkana. So people from all over the world…(except me!) travelled and got to witness the eclipse. Others from around the globe did witness this spectacle but not as much as the people in Turkana did. From where I was in Nairobi (on my rooftop) I got to witness a cloudy afternoon and a rainy evening, so much for a world spectacle🙂.
And in celebration of my photography hobby, I was, among others nominated as a finalist for the first Kenya Photography awards. This, I must say, was a great highlight for my not-yet-launched-photography-career. It was a better highlight for my friend Karim who has worked very hard in launching and maintaining his photography career; he won the nature photography category award, very much deserved.
Karim and I at the award event
Guided by the Rotary International’s motto, “Service above self”, we, the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central and the Rotaract Club of Nairobi University visited the Children’s Cancer Ward at Kenyatta National Hospital. We had a wonderful time interacting with these beautiful children, what with singing, dancing and playing but to say that the day did not take its toll emotionally would be a lie. However, knowing that we put a smile on their faces and hearts was peacefully calming.
Beautiful smiles, even in the face of adversity
We, Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central, also made a visit to the Thogoto Home for the aged, which is run by the PCEA church to cater for the old people. Thogoto is home for almost 100 men and women who are too old to take care of themselves, some do not have families or relatives to house them. The home takes care of their needs especially their health, diet and spiritual matters and like all old people come, they are ever delighted to share their wisdom with the younger generation.
Some elders at the home
Well, 2013 was a beautiful year, topped up with my younger sister graduating from the university and my younger brother completing his primary education and my elder brother launching his IT Company. Looking forward to an awesome year in 2014! Happy new year!
At my sister’s lovely graduation❤