A Love Letter to Kenya

I first went to Kenya when I was 14 years old (about to turn 15). I had the amazing opportunity of going because at the time, my dad was working at McMaster University and the university was looking into whether students who went to Kenya for the summer to build schools could obtain a partial or full university credit. McMaster was partnering with Free the Children and Me to We. My mom and I tagged along with my dad for what was about a week of school building, seeing the facilities, meeting the locals, and then my brothers flew in to join us on Safari, and hiking Mount Kenya.

I went back to Kenya the following summer with Me to We for one month. I was part of a group of high school students who were there to build school houses. We also helped collect water, teach math a little bit, and learn what life in rural Kenya was like. I absolutely fell in love with the country and its' people. I had never been anywhere like it, and it was very humbling to see people living abject poverty. That was when my passion for human rights and politics was first born.

Discussing my first two trips to Kenya, would need an entirely different post, maybe two, and it's something I will eventually write. While those trips made me fall in love with the people, opened my eyes to life out side of North America, and fuelled my love of travel, it is now something I would consider on the border line of poverty tourism. All of this warrants its' own post.

For this post, I just want to discuss my love of Kenya. I went back for the third time last year with my partner, Nick. I had wanted to show him the country I loved most. It helped that my cousin was living there for work in Nairobi. It was so special to get to see her life there, so different from my own. While we were there, Nick and I went on safari in the Masaai Mara, went to the coast to swim in the Indian Ocean, and went on safari again in Meru National Park. We also toured around Nairobi a little bit, exploring Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Manor, and the Elephant Sanctuary. The history of Kenya is long and sordid, and the colonial influences are still very much alive there. At times it is a bit jarring to see the wealth disparity, but it is beautiful nonetheless.

When I told people we were going to Kenya, I was met with surprise and it was usually followed up with a "be careful!" I get it, and to be honest, Kenya is one of the more unstable countries I've been too. But unlike what President Trump would have you believe, Africa, as a continent, and its' individual countries is not a shit hole. It's the birth place of man-kind, advanced metallurgy and tool making, medicine, and naval exploration, and it is also exceptionally beautiful.

I can't tell you why exactly I fell so hard for Kenya, partially the beauty, but there is just something about it, a feeling of coming home. I can still smell the savannah after a morning rain.

To be sure there are more precautions to take when travelling to Kenya, then say, Italy, but again, that is for another post. This is just my love letter to Kenya, the country that stole my heart at 14, and a place I hope to return to (again). I hope you enjoy the pictures, and it inspires you to consider visiting Kenya, or anywhere in Africa really. It is such a big beautiful continent with so much culture and history.

A young me with some school kids in Kenya

Again, me and a student!

Some local Moms, walking over an hour to the closest water hole

Sunrise in the Mara

On our first day on safari we saw 5 brother cheetahs take down an antelope 

Young baby elephant with its mom and sister

An elusive leopard
A Lioness with her cubs

A heard of elephants 

Another beautiful sunrise

Large Rothschild giraffe at the giraffe manor and sanctuary in Nairobi

Our rental house in Diani, Kenya

Diani Beach

A baobab tree in Meru National Park 
Living my best life looking out onto Meru

Rhino in Meru National Park

Sunset in Meru


Popular Posts