Around The World · 67 Days · 55 Moments · June 2018

Em’s journey to Kenya


2 September 2018

Home in time for Father’s Day and some well overdue puppy love 💕 Oh how I have missed you all 😊

30 August 2018

Just a few more pictures from my last moments ❤️
Wow.. The last day feels are hard 😔 Family. These people are now my family. It was so hard to say Goodbye, (not goodbye, see you later) because I really made a home for myself here. Everyone here has changed my life. I never could of imagined what I was setting myself up for, volunteering in Kenya. It has exceeded all of my expectations and made me so grateful for everything that I have and who I am. Kindness is free and you never know what people are truely going through unless you care to ask. A very big, special love goes to Agnes. I love her so much and am so grateful I got to be apart of the change she’s making. I will miss her and my children so much. My heart aches already, but I hope they will be ok. I’m now only more determined to do better, be better and give what I can. I will save as much a so can do that I will be back as soon as possible. It’s not really a goodbye, just a see you later.

29 August 2018

Another day with my two other boys Alex and Almerick. I took them for their first time swims and was lucky enough to have their Uncle / Cousin James be there to share these memories with them. I don’t want to say goodbye to anyone yet.. 😔

26 August 2018

Today was so rewarding. I took Jackson to go swimming for his first ever time. I feel so lucky to have shared these moments with him and to have put this beautiful smile on his face.

25 August 2018

My boys from the mentorship class. They taught me just as much as I taught them. Yesterday was our last day together and I will miss them so much, but hope they have taken all they can from my teachings to be great role models.

24 August 2018

Alex and Almerick. These beautiful amazing boys. They don’t have a father and they lost their mum to HIV in March this year. I think about the pain they have endured each day. Today was rough. They weren’t at our mentorship program yesterday and this morning they didn’t show again. Off we went (Agnes and I) to ask around to try and find them. Finally we did. Alex was running and fell the day before and his tooth went through his bottom lip. It was badly infected.. their second cousin James takes care of them usually but was away. I took him to the private hospital and got him patched up. Then took them both out to have some food and took them back home. You know when you’ve injured yourself and all you want is someone to tell you it’s going to be ok. He didn’t have that. This amazing, bright beautiful kid doesn’t have what we take for granted. I cried a lot tonight, wishing there was some other way to take some of his pain away.

23 August 2018

Jackson and Claudia Claudia is Jackson’s cousin and lives an equally, if not harder life than him. She deserves all the good in the world and unfortunately with her current situation there’s not really anything we can do to help 😞 I’m really tired of listening to these kids stories and only being able to tell them “there’s not much we can do for you right now”. Then sending them back home each day to their abusive home environments. 😠😪

22 August 2018

Today at the Centre was Cuddles with my sick little man 😞 Dancing with my other child Alex 😂 Having my hair played with and loving some more of my children ❤️ - photo shot by my other child Claudia 🙈

21 August 2018

Another sad moment... Elizabeth is one of the women from the centre and she is leaving us today to go back to her village as requested by her husband 😓 It’s sad for many reasons, but we hope she will be ok and she has said she will come back so we also hope she will return. I won’t see her before my trip is up though, so it was hard goodbye. Even to say goodbye to her baby boy Comfort, look at his face - ahhhhhh ❤️
Holiday mode After the 11 hour bus ride to and from we got to take a few days to relax in Mombassa. Sooo beautiful and so incredibly lucky to have been able to visit here. Oh ... I did get food poisoning (as seen in the last picture). But thanks to the driver and an Imodium pill I managed not to poo myself in the taxi or on the bus ride back 😂

17 August 2018

Today was a rough day so I sent Agnes a message to share the love. This is Agnes. She runs the centre. In this world it is so hard to be selfless, let alone in a third world country. It amazes me that even though Agnes has it so tough herself, she pull together every single day for everyone around her. I’ve never met someone like this and honestly, if you would of told me two months ago that I was going to, I would be so doubtful. She has changed me in a way I couldn’t begin to describe because I wouldn’t know where to start... besides my own Mum who has done soooo much for me, I’ve never really had a role model. Agnes is someone I will try to tell everyone I meet about. I will try to be as kind and as open minded as her always. The last picture of our messages was from a day that one of the children had opened up to us and told us how he lost his brother. It haunts him to this day and he blames himself for the accident. Thanks to Agnes, he has opened up and will begin to heal.

15 August 2018

There are no words in my vocabulary that can describe the love I have for Jackson. Leaving him feels like it will be the hardest thing in my life.... sounds so crazy I know. But I can’t help it 😓😩

12 August 2018

Quick little farm trip to melt my heart 💕

11 August 2018

Soje & Mitch took me to Naivasha lake today. The drive there wasn’t that great, but it was so beautiful. We got on a boat and got to sail right up to the islands and see the animals 😍❤️

8 August 2018

The centre has a girls mentorship class during the school holidays where the girls can come and learn about all things life. It seemed strange to me that we didn’t have one for the boys so wallah, I instigated having the boys come 5 days a week to learn about, well, all things life. Sex Abuse (physical & emotional) Rape Affirmations Meditation Puberty Anger management Healthy relationships The list goes on! The reproductive system and sexual education was on day 1. It was tough having the boys listen and take it seriously but all apart of these awkward teenage learnings.

6 August 2018

My Kenyan home stay fam 😊 Lucy (Shiroh) is my home stay Mum but she’s more like a bigger sister. Reminds me so much of my own sisters and she has made staying here feel so comfortable and normal. Peter (Ciira) is Lucy brother and he’s 24. He’s the most wonderful guy I’ve met here in Kenya. He cooks dinner for 7 of us when Lucy is working and walks us to the shop / Chemist so we don’t have to go on our own. He loves movies so I’m trying to show him all the good stuff before I leave. Brian (Mwangi) is 8 and reminds me so much of my nephew George. He’s Lucy’s nephew and loves waking me up early in the morning 😂 he also loves to play with my hair and we’ve watched Shrek together on a few occasions. I never expected to become this connected and close with the people I lived with here, so I’m definitely going to miss them when I return home. 😔

5 August 2018

Went to the Monkey Park today and took Brian with us. He was too scared of the Monkey’s it was so funny. I must admit though, I loved the dog more than the monkeys. He followed me around after I gave him all my love hoping I’d give him more 😭 ahhhh so beautiful. I also almost got trampled by a camel in the middle of the City if it wasn’t for Brian’s constant screaming and looking back at it charging at us 😂 Then I got to spend some more time with the friends and meet the big family. Everyone has been so kind here.

4 August 2018

Yesterday was another hard day... I’m not sure there is anything else cruel left for me to be witnessed too. Although, it feels like that each time and then something beyond my imagination happens reminding me I have no idea and no control over the ludicrous things that are going on in this world. On a more positive note, it was also Kristie’s last day and as promised, we went out to celebrate. It’s good we did because it took our minds off the day we had and gave us a happy end to a very tiring week. Kristie came out of her shell like there was no tomorrow and was a little wild child. 😂

3 August 2018

2 August 2018

This is Jackson’s cousin Precious. She’s 4 years old and should be in school but isn’t. We need a sponsor for her, so that she can come to school with the rest of her cousins. I just met her today and she is so beautiful and friendly natured.

1 August 2018

Tonight we took Elizabeth and her son Comfort out for dinner for his 2nd birthday. She was worried and sad that she wasn’t going to be able to afford to give him a good birthday and so we thought it would be sweet to treat them out to dinner and give them one they’d both never forget. ❤️

28 July 2018

I had a split moment this morning when I woke up, before becoming fully conscious where I thought I was in my own bed. I love it here and everything I’m doing, but I do really miss my family. It’s where I feel most safe and most loved. So that moment this morning where I thought I was there, was really nice and then saddening when I came to and noticed oh I’m still here. Like I said, I LOVE it here, but it is hard and who better to help you through the hard times then the people you love. I try to remind myself, that what I’m feeling isn’t really that bad. I mean some of the women and children here haven’t experienced the feeling I’m talking about. They’ve never known a love like that before, so I need to be that for them whilst I’m here and show them what feelings that love can bring.

25 July 2018

A birth certificate for Jackson - Finally 😊

24 July 2018

A little Bridget & Jackson love. These two kids are the sweetest most beautiful souls I’ve ever known.

23 July 2018

Straight back into it today. Jackson wasn’t feeling very well so we had to take him to the hospital. He had a blood test and was just a little malnourished and with some vitamins he’ll be better than ever. 😊 Finally met his little sister Bridget who is just the sweetest and then got to carry baby Comfort home to his mumma African style. Haha My back is still sore 😂

22 July 2018

The last few days have consisted of two hospital visits, one doctor’s surgery visit and seven different prescriptions of medications. I’m finally feeling better and recharged so hopefully I’ll be able to contribute more this week after having two days off last Thursday & Friday.

19 July 2018

18 July 2018

Saw this on the walk home and thought Rod would really love the innovation.
Although hard to tell, this is a home to five people.
Yesterday afternoon I went and bought clothes for my little man. The first picture is what he was wearing today when I came to the Centre. I held up the first pair of pants to his waist to show him what they looked like and if I got the sizing right and then when I pulled out the second pair of pants (in the 2nd and 3rd picture) he held them up to his own waist with such excitement. It was almost like he was in disbelief that these were his new clothes and curious as to why this mzungu lady had chosen him to give them to. It really was such a beautiful moment.

16 July 2018

One of the beautiful women from the centre, Snider. Snider is 21, the same age as me and I look up to her so much. Today I feel lucky. Lucky to have been born into this body that was created by my parents and to have been born into my loving family. I can’t find any explanation as to why my soul was put into this body, for all I know I could of been put into Snider’s body and lived her life. Seeing and hearing how someone so beautiful has it so hard, is a pain I’ve never felt before and I’ve experienced this so much in my time here. These ladies really are becoming my friends, my second family and I don’t know how I’m going to go back home without feeling enormous amounts of guilt for something so out of my control.
Safari day 3 The last shot is the group. Mophey Hannah Brooke Hannah Myself & Elli

15 July 2018

Safari day 2 There’s Wildebeest to the right in the photo of me - so amazing. Credit goes to Elli for having an emergency bathroom stop, providing me with the opportunity to get out 😂

14 July 2018

Safari day 1 When we arrived at our campsite we walked to the Masai Village and were welcomed to enter the homes of the people there and learn about their history and way of living. I didn’t hear much because I was busy with the goats and begged for them to let me hold one as you can see them bringing one to me. 😂 I do love Charlie, but he might be getting a brother Goat when I come home. Haha Also Kim from the USA, Elli and I had the elephant Tent, Kim just got an elephant tattoo so it seemed quite fitting.
First pit stop on the way to our Safari location

13 July 2018

My boy Jackson I wrote about Jackson story earlier and recently found out that it’s a lot worse than what we had thought. (Hard to believe I know). It is in fact Jackson’s Aunty who found out she was HIV positive, not his Mum. His mum was fine but hearing the news of her sister becoming HIV positive drove her to run away. She left Jarred and his younger sister behind to fend for themselves, or under the care of their grandmother (who has AID’s and is very ill) or their Aunty who is severely depressed and suicidal. She said she didn’t want to hang around to watch all of her family members die. What about your God damn children??!? 😡😭 Why not take them with you??!??!!! This little boy was abandoned and is already stronger than I could ever be. It breaks my heart. I’ve decided to tighten my budget this trip and sponser Jackson. No one would pay for him to go to school, or even care to try and enroll him in a free one. But I can and will pay for him to be provided with an education.

11 July 2018

When all you’re craving is a whopper and you get rice. I want to cry out of frustration 😭😔

10 July 2018

The centre is now officially a cane free school. I put these posters together for the students and teachers as we use the re-think space for them to think about the choice they made and what might be a better one next time. The students don’t have any equipment for play time, so they would play wrestling games often ending up in students getting hurt. Teacher Yvonne caned one of the students who had accidentally hurt his friend in a wrestling game as punishment or ‘discipline’. It was really hard to watch. We had a meeting with the teachers yesterday and advised there would be no more caning. At assembly in the morning we will inform all the students of the hands, feet and objects to yourself ruling that will be not be negotiable.

8 July 2018

This morning was off to a scary start with Elli having to go to hospital. I got a call from Aisha one of the volunteers here who took her saying that she had fainted in the hospital! I got dressed and went over straight away as it’s only a 2 minute walk away from where we are staying. Just an acute bacterial infection, so she pretty much got sick from who know what!!! 🤦🏽‍♀️ Thankfully she’s back in the house with us and recovering. 😊 Apart from that it was more sleeping once we got home around lunch and then dinner with some beauty for Julia’s brows haha

7 July 2018

Last day of the two day celebration, included cake and a cheeky little nap. The first photo is of all the incredible women and volunteers at the centre ❤️
Just a lil sunburn
Out of all the children, Jackson has stolen my heart ❣ His mum recently found out she was HIV positive and due to the high stigma and lack of funds she does not take medication for it. She is often depressed and ill so her eldest child stays home from school and takes care of her. Jarred is four and is already so bright. He walks to school with his other siblings and waits for them to finish before he goes home. Now that we have the childcare room he can play in there until school is over instead of sitting by himself for 6-8 hours a day. I could of never imagined a four year old having to be independent to survive 😔 It’s beyond scary.

6 July 2018

The women’s HIV awareness march yesterday was so beautiful. No words can describe just how empowering it was to share this moment with them all 💕 The signs they dreaded holding were held so high They sung so passionately & they walked so confidently.

5 July 2018

Here are some pictures of the food I’ve eaten during week one 😁 🍴
The Gihon Womens Empowerment Centre. This is where my placement is. This week has been very busy for the women there as they get ready to celebrate the third anniversary of the Centre. I’ve spent the week teaching students, in the childcare room and getting my hair braided. Next week I’ll be able to do some classes with the women and I absolutely cannot wait. I’m planning some self love, motivational classes and I hope it comes in good use for them. They’re all such beautiful, inspiring women and the lives they have lived are unimaginable. Tomorrow there will be a conference to celebrate the third anniversary of the Centre. All of these empowered women are getting HIV tested in the hopes this encourages other women of the community to get tested. Not to mention to help dilute the stigma of being HIV positive. Many women who come to learn that they are HIV positive feel too embarrassed to get medicated (or can’t afford it) and become severely depressed and ill.

3 July 2018

Gift- asleep sitting up Mary- gorgeous white dress Jackson- cheeky smirk These three kids have been through so much I can’t even begin to write it. I’d take them all home with me if I could, but I know I can’t. This is such a cruel world we live in.. The scariest thing is knowing that what I’ve seen so far is only a very minute part of the suffering in the world.

2 July 2018

Orientation - the big group shot was all the newbies staying at the original house. So sad we all got split up but I got to stay with Elli at least! Second shot is Elli from Ohio, America Hannah & Sadie from England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Brooke from Melbourne, Australia 🇦🇺 Spot me in the sitting down shot. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling very bored and hungry.

1 July 2018

Lunch was wonderful with these too 😊❣️ @ Roast by Carnivore, Nairobi

30 June 2018

A few volunteers from my current home stay house (left to right) Juliana from Vermont, US Noah from Toronto, Canada Zac from Maryland, US
So lucky to have visited the elephant orphanage and giraffe sanctuary 😊❣️

29 June 2018

PS - on the upside I got my luggage- one broken wheel but better than no suitcase at all haha 😇😁
Today we drove through the biggest slum in Kenya, Kibera. I had always heard the news of the poverty in third world countries, but hearing and seeing are two very different experiences. These are just a few of the images I captured today.
This is Johnson 😇 they sell corn on the side of the road and he asked me if I wanted any and I said “I’ll try it another time” he insisted and yelled out to the lady at the stand “Mum”. So confused I was like “is that your Mum?” haha and he started laughing and said no it’s what they call they elderly women out of respect. So where I’m staying currently my host mum’s name is Mumma Sarah it’s really sweet and she’s also very kind. Johnson has a scar on his arm of his name. He calls it his ‘branding’. When he was six years old he went to the Masai land for a camp and got it done. He said I could get it done on the Safari which is in the Masai land and a few other volunteers here who have already done the Safari got it and have small symbols burnt into their skin as a reminder of their trip and the time here. I said my mum would kill me and he laughed so hard! 😂 I know photos do the same thing but it does sound really cool. Sorry Mum 😂😊
Yesterday my flight was changed in Abud Dhabi as they had over booked it. I’m not sure how that’s a thing that can be done but it was in this case. Anyways better for me it was a direct flight straight to Nairobi which would mean getting their earlier. I triple checked with the airline to make sure they’d redirect my bags to the right flight and they assured me it was all taken care of. Not that I could of prevented it but my initial instinct was right. My bags weren’t there when I arrived and had been left in Abu Dhabi. As soon as the guy at the desks told me I started crying because I was so overwhelmed. He was very sweet and made sure he got me an apology letter (maybe hoping I’d feel better) haha. They wil call me today to let me know when I can come and collect it and my lovely driver Johnson who picked me up could tell I’d been upset and was so reassuring and kind. He said he would come and pick me up today and take me to the airport to check if we hadn’t heard anything.
This is Heidi. She was leaving Australia after working and studying here for 6 months. She may look happy here but when she first sat down next to me on the plane she was balling her eyes out. I immediately thought she had to say goodbye to a lover and didn’t know when she would see them next but of course I was wrong. Heidi had been told that it would be a small fee for extra luggage and when she got to the airport they were going to charge her $1000. She was trying to arrange for some friends she’d met here to pick the bag up and the airline was suggesting she was running out of time and they’d have to rebook her flight. All crazy things but she got on the plane and when we got to Abu Dhabi she confirmed her friends had got her bag! She was so kind and funny. Paid herself out about her crying and was able to turn it into something fun. I’ve never sat next to someone so normal on a plane so this was a beautiful start. She said I must Visit Denmark and I’ll have a place to stay 😊