Kenya

Maasai mara land

My trip to Kenya was different as the mission I went for was unique and very meaningful to me. I went on a volunteering trip where I have stayed for like two weeks. I thought this period was quite enough or maybe long but honestly it went so fast and if I redo it, I would definitely stay more than that. The country is quite big comparing to other African countries and there are lot of activities to do such as  Safari, mount climbing, swimming and Volunteering which is very common due to the existing local and international volunteering organizations and the increasing number of volunteers who come every year.

Kibera

Is a well-known area -in Nairobi the capital of Kenya- for volunteers since it’s considered one of the largest slums in Kenya and  the second in Africa after Khayeltisha, Cape Town in South Africa that comes on top of the biggest slums in Africa. Kenya has a lot of slums such as Mathare, Korogocho, Kiambiu, Kawangware.

Labelling Kibera as the biggest slum in Kenya could be just a slogan used by media, NGO’s and politicians. The estimated size population as per many sources are 200,000 persons whereas figures shared by NGO’s declare that the range of size population is between 300,000 to 1,000,000. Anyways, the figures could vary based on the statistics and methods used to collect data. Yet, we cannot deny the fact that this place or any other slum in that country are the opposite image of the world, an example of day to day struggle to get just the basics of life needs, people there just ask for water, electricity, infrastructure, education and job. Kenya has faced attention from news outlets, NGOs, the UN and celebrities from across the world, but still remains overwhelmingly underdeveloped despite many rehabilitation efforts.  Still the basic needs are not met and the governments along years have failed to solve the issues of Kibera and the other slums in Kenya.

Mission statement

As I said earlier, my purpose was volunteering, I applied on a program for women empowerment where I got the chance to meet with outstanding and gorgeous ladies who work every day and make their income despite all the challenges, the poor conditions such poverty, lack of education, infrastructure, and the poor hygiene which is very common due to unclean water. I was based in Kitengela, a very rural area not in the city where I had to take a Taxi if I want to go directly or multiple public transportation which is the MATATU there to explore more the city and save money at the same time.

Getting informed in advance in Kenya is very important. Knowing the basics for day to day communication is essential and will help in saving time and money and avoid from being victim of fraud. Getting acquainted with the fares for a taxi, Matatu or a bike will help to make decision when you want to go somewhere. Knowing the DO’S and DON’TS of what to eat, what to wear or where to go is helpful too.

 Kenya is a great experience to make specially if you are looking to explore a different culture, observe what people face every day to make their own lives and just get the basics not even luxury stuff. It’s ideal for those who want to make their own resolution about life, to understand that life is not just fancy cars, villas and luxurious life but also about suffer, hunger and people in need. And yes, if you love life of service and helping people, then definitely it’s the right place.

kenyan women learning manicure and pedicure skills

A TWO day on Safari in Masai Mara

Who can come to Kenya and don’t do Safari?!! It’s one of the most amazing experiences you can have in Africa specially if you consider going in the period of June/July to November/December where more than 1.5 million animals mostly wildebeest, and Zebras arrive in the Masai Mara as part of their annual Great Migration from Tanzania ( the plains of the Serengeti) to Kenya ( in Masai Mara). I have got the chance to see the big five: Lion, Leopard, African buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros plus to  giraffes ,gazelles, hyenas, cheetahs, baboons and the park’s rivers which are home to hippos and crocodiles, while birders can look for more than 450 avian species.

What to wear on Safari?

Plenty of articles discussing that topic are available on internet already, however I would say, wear what you feel comfortable in. I prefer earthy colors just to get in the mood. Some would recommend wearing nude colors in order to be invisible by animals which I’m not fully agree with because you are already in a 4*4, well secured and in safe plus you are hundred meters afar. If you want to upload a new pic on Instagram, then you can choose whatever you like but keep the wild or casual look just to keep the harmony in your pic. Don’t forget to bring your hat or sunglasses, enough water to keep you hydrated during the day, binoculars and a good camera to capture unforgettable memories.

Maasai Mara people

The Maasai mara tribes are primitive people who keep their traditions, they wear blankets in form of dresses just to cover their bodies. The colors of blankets say which tribe he/she is from. Their physical features are different; They have long ears, they are very skinny, they eat meat and drink milk mixed with blood, they live in very small houses built by women. Building a house can take 2 months and can stay up to 9 years, then they move to another place and so on. The houses are very tiny where the parents and children live together.

The responsibility of men is mainly to protect the land and animals from thieves or other big animals.
Polygamy is very common and there is no limit with number of wives a man can marry. The women work a lot as all women in Kenya, yet she is discriminated in personal life and in jobs too.

Maasai morans are the young generation, their hair color is different, it’s more of orange, they are aggressive. They leave their villages in early age looking for maturity, they seek manhood which is proved by fighting and killing a big animal. That’s the only proof to prove to his village that he is a real man. Later, he comes back to the village to do what his fellows do.

What can you do on your trip?

You will have many activities to do in Kenya such as Safari as I’ve shared earlier but also you can have

Safari in Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park, the second park after Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Visit the elephant’s orphanages & giraffe center

Go on a day trip and enjoy the flamingoes at lake Nakuru in Naivasha

Chill at Mombasa and enjoy Diani beach

Go on a hiking trip in

Looking for some adventure, you can do zip lining

Go on Tea & coffee tours to Kiambethu farms in Limuru

Do’s & Don’ts

DO Enjoy your time and be open to discover new cultures 😊

DO greet people and study couple of Kenyan and Swahili words, people will appreciate that a lot

DO try a bucket shower for once!

DON’T make random sex, HIV is common and it’s very risky ☹

DON’T drink unsealed bottles of water

DO Try Chapati, cooked cabbage, tropical fruits like pineapple and mangoes, avocado. No for Ugali :0

DO take medicine, if you are allergic, don’t forget your anti mosquitoes spray.

DO dress up properly and hide your money in a safe place.

DON’T take pictures without permission, people are very sensitive to that.

Technology& social media…the biggest enemy to yourself

This shot was taken on the stairs leading to a big park in Prague 2017

“Social media is to socializing what masturbating is to sex”- Oliver Markus Malloy
“In this age of instant communication, emoticons are replacing words, body language replacing language and visuals replacing text”Haresh Sippy

We all are looking to be recognized and appreciated by people. However, it’s becoming hard and meaningless since the recognition became how number of likes and followers you get on each post you make.
The increasing number of suicide due to social media is horrible. It’s not only teenagers who are getting affected by social media and technology but it’s almost all ages even the elder people who were ready to learn using then internet. Technology is a curse, yes it is, especially when you get to your home and you find everyone in a corner holding his smart phone for hours. The human interaction is becoming less and less and the common conversation between people became on the recent videos shared on FB or the latest tweets by influencers.

Technology is influencing us in our way of perceiving life, on how we are interacting with people, judging them and on top of all this judging ourselves. Being healthy and having daily workouts became a trend. Designing a perfect shape of women as if all women should be like this.
This has not only presumed the woman in a body with curves, with no stretch marks, big lips and cheeks, big eyes and always look ready to go for a party.

Technology has shown us that those people are not satisfied about themselves and they just want to share photos of how they wanted to be and this is very obvious on the number of steps a pic takes in process before it is shared on public, the huge number of Photoshop applied, the unlimited number of applications on app store that help people to hate themselves more by flattening their stomachs, adding some curves to the areas where they wished to have a beautiful hip or big breast. We became a judge to each other; we compare a person based on what the fake social media is requiring. We judge on what we see and start bullying people for who they are and what they have. We became unsatisfied with what we have cause we see people or properly we see people that we think they have everything. We are not happy for the parents we have, the wife or the husband we are married to. The job, the house, the car, the vacations.

You and me see some influencers, who travel all the year, and? You were just having a same time a big fight with you husband/ wife for the electricity bill or cause you were preparing for the summer vacation with a certain budget then you saw those magnificent pictures at the most luxury and fanciest places in the world. You are not mad about your husband but you are mad about yourself cause you start asking why I’m not there, why I don’t have this look and you start comparing your actual status with what you see on this fake social society. Again, all ages are affected, no matter the level of education they’ve got, sure it varies somehow but we are human in the end and by nature we always look forward being better.

The technology has defined standards for what being better means. The more you get your knowledge from social media, the more you are under the risk of depression and self-hatred. And the worse is that when the people around who should give you the support are also taken by this. For example, the family where you should get your values, where you are built and nourished with all the love, affection and values to make of you a balanced person capable to think positively, process the info you get from the exterior world, analyze and perceive what is good or bad for you. When home is not capable to do so, then you will find a person hesitant, has self-confidence issue, not sure if he is loved, recognized by his family for who he is not for what the society wants him to be. His tank of love is not full as it should be, then this person will start looking outside this home, searching for the values that this fake society has put, he will create his own bubble, his own followers who will give him the appreciation he needs no matter what is the thing he is recognized for. They are not his friends but followers, he tries to impress them, he becomes obsessed with this recognition and he can do anything only not to lose it.
The stress increases cause he should exist all the time cause this fake society is greedy; followers crave for more and once they don’t see something unpleasant in their point of views, they will simply unfollow you. Not only, but some will start bullying cause they didn’t like you for who you are in fact but simply for the pic they have used to see, no more.

Returning back to family, yes family and when I call it home cause for me home is not the place itself but the feeling you get when you are there. That’s why you call some people by home where you find yourself comfortable with, you feel happy, you are your true self there, some things are in common between you and this person and that’s ideally what a person should feel when he is with his family.
Family is nowadays threatened by technology cause they are affected too
by technology, everyone is consumed by technology, everyone has created his own life through his smart phone and the communication between family members became through mobiles. Before, we were thinking that when someone travels means that he is no longer with us, he is no longer sharing our happiness and sadness moments cause he is away. Now, it’s different, they might be all at home but everyone is travelling to his own world.
I’m not exaggerating, this is sad but true. There is no intimacy anymore,
I can’t discuss with you, I will send you a text on WhatsApp, that’s it!
There is no real communication. People have replaced the human interaction and the real communication by apps, they have replaced the word I love you by a heart, instead of calling someone by simply sending a voice note. The sad is we can go for people we love, hug them and tell them how much we miss them and how much they mean to us but we became emotionless, or unable to express our feelings like before.
This has reminded me of Danny Sillada, a filipino artist and writer when he said:
“The landscape of human emotion is ominously changing. The visceral sensation of loneliness and solitude is no longer as palpable and intellectually profound as it was a couple of decades ago because technology has already relieved us, as much as possible, from the burden
of any emotional and existential isolation. The intense feeling of being nostalgic or being alone, for instance, is receding from the human emotion because we can now communicate with live video and send messages through any social media to a distant friend or loved one.
Consequently, the exponential progress of technology is altering the phenomenological experience of human sensation, robbing us of our ability to get in touch with our humanity and reflect upon the triumphs and madness of our techno-society. Ironically, in our obstinate desire to humanize robots and Artificial intelligence, our individual existence is, in turn, being digitized and robotized by our own technological inventions.”

Hello, My name is Nour,U?

This photo was taken on a river in Poitiers 2017

Too much feelings, true it’s a rainforest mind, many things in my head, don’t know how to start, what exactly to say and what to choose.

I can talk about society and how introverts would feel in such world that prefers and give more credits to extroverts. how much they feel odd and can’t co-op with what the world requires.
I can talk about feminism and how women are perceived and maltreated worldwide.

Should I talk about left handed people, this minority that represent 10% of the population worldwide. Or should I speak about horoscope, a topic commonly used between strangers. A topic perceived as bullshit, however, it’s one of the most well known tools to kick off any conversation between two lovers/or friends who are trying to find an excuse to talk together.

Why didn’t I discuss other topics such as Technology, cars or any other sophisticated things? Simply cause I’m concerned with all the above!
Yes, I’m a left handed person, a real introvert, considered INFJ type as per Myers Briggs personality types.
Feminist, or that’s what people call me, however, I don’t consider myself
a feminist. I only do believe in empowering women, I believe in women capacity and how much they are unique in leadership positions.
I’m just against the masculinity, the gap between woman and man in all aspects of life starting from the way parents raise their kids until the limited number of chairs selected for women in parliament and the rarity of women in leadership positions in government/ presidential positions or CEO positions occupied by women.

Should I speak about veganism or probably pescatarian regimes?
Since I’ve stopped eating meat and chicken for nearly one year and half
so far. A decision I took not only for the sake of animals, or due to the cruel hunting and misuse of resources that universe has offered to us.
I can’t discuss from this perspective since I’m still eating fish and eggs which I love and I’m not willing at least for now to substitute them with other alternatives. Simply, I don’t love meat and chicken anymore!

And guess what?!! I’m scorpio, yes yes , please don’t be afraid and don’t make that stereotype. Scorpio people are good in some stuff and bad in other stuffs like any other zodiac. I’ve started to relate my personality with the results of different personality tests. Introvert/Scorpio/INFJ someone who is in love with Nature and appreciate the little things, always in deep
of everything, prefers a lot of alone time to recharge.

Still, I’m confused!! I’m in a deep urge to write and share this rainforest mind with you. Now, you can better understand what I really need to talk about. I need to share my thoughts. When I’ve started checking out some blogs, I’ve got this feeling of Oufff! I’m not alone. I mean Introvert/INFJ type blogs 😉
Then, I’ve said why don’t I share my thoughts That I build whatever on personalities, people, way of thinking of different societies, relationship between couples or within the family, etc.
Maybe that would help to better understand yourself and know that you are not alone. We are here in this world to support each others, to love each others and we will never do unless we start loving ourselves first.

Be safe!

Have a great day 🙂

Nour Mohieddine