JAMBO! Happy Independence Day to Kenya!

Deputy President William RutoJAMBO! and KARIBU! were my two favourite words in Kenya!  HELLO  and WELCOME.

This blog is specially dedicated to the beautiful people of Kenya to wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

During the ATA Conference, in November 2015, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto addressed the conference delegates and placed special emphasis on welcoming everyone ‘HOME’ because Kenya is known as the Cradle of Mankind. Kenya has the oldest human remains going back to 7 million year old from Turgen Hills, Baringo (oldest in Ethiopia = 4.5 million years ; S.Africa ca 3 million years, Tanzania = 2 million years.  Kenya has the longest and most complete record of human evolution (and possibly the link between humans and apes).  When Deputy President William Ruto welcomed us HOME we understood that Kenya could have very well been home to our ancestors.  It is home to  everyone.  Everyone is welcomed.

Everyone welcomed us, everywhere we went.  The beautiful smiles, warmth and welcoming presence left an imprint on my mind and spirit.

At several places we visited,  we were welcomed with the Maasai shuka, a traditional wear associated with the Masai people of East Africa.  These shukas are usually worn by the Masai morans which differenciates them from other communities.  We were greeted at the entrance where the Maasai shuka was wrapped around us.

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Kenyans take pride in their clothing and I loved the classic, well-tailored uniforms which staff wore at the various places we went to.  The faces are youth are prominent in the tourism sector and if I must say, they are very well-trained with highest level of service.

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Music and entertainment is a huge welcoming part of African culture.  The drumming, chanting, cultural performances were all spectacular.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that people of all ages and sizes from the local tribes and community were integrated in the various cultural shows that we attended. It is also a source of generating revenue for artists.

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Happy Independence Day Kenya.

To continue promoting Kenya, we will be launching Gems of Kenya on Friday December 18th in Ottawa.  If you are a Kenyan, come out and see how you can work with us to promote Kenya.  Please see more details here.

Live your future now… do what truly matters!

Love,

Magdalene

Dreams Do Come True – Highlights of our Trip to Magical Kenya

“Live in your dream. Refuse to wake up until it is completely over. Then dream again.”
Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

IMAG4502“Come to Kenya while I am there.”  My friend Rosa Maria, who works in Kenya, encouraged me to visit while she was on holidays in Ottawa in December 2014. I browsed with great interest of her photos with wildlife on FB  and wish that I could be a part of it.  It seemed almost unreal to see the human beings so close to the wild side of nature.  Less than ten months later, I could not believe that I was actually in Nairobi with Rosa Maria!

The idea of going on a Safari became rooted in my mind way back in the 1990’s when my friend Aubrey Webson, who is a blind, would tell me of his amazing safari experiences.  When I met my partner, Wilson, we both shared that dream to visit Africa and to do a Safari.  The dream has been in the subconscious and conscious realm for the last decade.  This year, it inched closer towards reality when we actually made the time to visit a travel show and learned more about Africa.  The dream continued to expand in my imagination.

As if my magic, a series of events happened quite quickly this summer to inspire us even more to go to Africa.

In August 2015, Wilson and I attended a couple of conferences by Africa House, an organization within the New York University which promotes Africa.  It was an eye-opening conference for me.  Although the dream of going to Africa was alive in me, I must also say that I had my internal doubts due to the many other negative things which I had heard about Africa.  The poverty, the wars… it left a dark image in my mind. Africa was just one BIG place to me. After attending the conference, I had a better understanding of  Africa and the countries within Africa.

The speakers at the conferences painted a picture of excitement, hope, confidence, a rising nation, a growth rate of 6%, a youthful population, hospitable people, amazing wild life and a beautiful country. Best of all, we learnt that the 40th Annual Congress of the African Tourism Association was going to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Wilson and I instantly decided that we were going to attend. One of the women whom I met at that conference, Valentina,  told me that she loved Africa and that her father fell in love with Kenya and went back to Kenya every year until he died.  She now goes to Kenya every year too and sometimes twice a year!

Just a few weeks before this, Wilson also met Jane Adam, managing of Expedition Adventures in Kenya, who encouraged him to visit Nairobi.  The two started discussions on forming ‘Gems of Africa’ a similar concept to Gems of Saint Lucia.

The dream started to reel into reality very quickly.  We received an invitation from  African Tourism Association to be speakers at the 40th Annual Congress of the ATA – a timely opportunity.  Within a couple of weeks, all the concerns we had about travelling to Africa melted away as every single detail fell in place cover the trip. Read more about the highlights of the ATA Conference.

What I experienced in Kenya far exceeded my expectations and erased many of the  negative perceptions I had about Africa and to be clear… I know now that Kenya is a unique country in Africa, with its own distinct characteristics.

I have always believed in the power of dreams and imagination.  When a dream like going to Africa becomes true, I remain speechless about the power of our minds.

Thin landrovere safari trips were amazing.   The wide expanses of lands and lakes were the greatest freedom. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of our colleagues as they clicked away with their camera and uttered expressions of amazement as they saw an animal for the first time.   I watched the wild life graze away peacefully and although we were safe in secured land rovers, being so close brought on this feeling of awe!

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My favourite moment was watching a giraffe strut down the road.  The majestic beauty and elegance of the this tall creature took my breath away.  It strutted past our land rover without a flinch for the humans who were all busy trying to photograph it.  It owned the land!

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The water buffalo at Lake Nukuru

elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust

(The orphan elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust, photo credit Andrea Papito, ATA)

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The Great  Rift Valley below

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Hippos in Lake Crescent.

Look out for more about our experience in Kenya! Follow me my blog or like my FB Fan Page.

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When your soul speaks to your imagination… it is the beginning of creating a dream.

Live your future now… do what matters to your soul.

Love,

Magdalene

Meeting with Mama Sarah Obama – Highlights of our trip to Magical Kenya

In November 2015, Wilson and I spent ten days in Magical Kenya where we attended the 40th World Congress of the Africa Tourism Association.  What we experienced was magical and because there were so many touching and inspirational moments, I  will be blogging over the next few days to give you a snapshot of moments which inspired me, especially as it relates to the theme of Mags Magazine.. ‘Live Your Future Now’.

Meeting the Mama Sarah Obama: 

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I met with Mama Sarah Obama, the only living grandparent of President Barack Obama, whose dream is to live her legacy to make sure that there is adequate educational resources to support underserved and at-risk youth in Kenya.  Although she herself is illiterate, she has spent her lifetime helping  orphans and impoverished families feed and educate their children. After years of feeding and clothing children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, Mama Sarah established her foundation with the goal of making a larger impact on their lives.

I met with six young women who attended her session at the conference, and asked them about the impact which Mama Sarah had on their lives.  Here is what they had to say:

“Our lives have changed a lot mostly because girls were denied that opportunity to attend education but through the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, we have reached University level and we are grateful for Granny’s kindness and caring heart.”  Mercy Oyuongo

Isn’t this amazing!

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What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Think of how your talents, skills and passion can make at least one small change to the lives of those around us… or who may be in a faraway land!

Live Your Future Now…  Follow me to see the next inspirational story from Kenya!

Love,

Magdalene

Travelling to Kenya?  Check Nature Expeditions… they offer a wide ranges of interesting safari trips to make your stay comfortable, exciting and inspiring.

Nature Expeditions

Sponsored by http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com

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