Stories from Kenya
We have arrived back at home in Los Angeles after a month of intensity in Kenya, creating, learning, absorbing, crashing, building up, and inspiring. My mind is buzzing with the processing of all the information received. I will be using this portion of my website to post little thoughts and pictures each day, slowly working through everything garnered. If you feel inspired, please email me your feedback. This is all about dialogue and moving into a new kind of existence together.
Our journey began in Kikuyu Town where we got to know Ngene’s family, witnessed the farming lifestyle that sustains the majority of Kenyans, interviewed people who have dedicated their lives to the land that sustains them, and enjoyed a goat roast accompanied by family and friends.
From there we traveled south to the border of Kenya and Tanzania to live in a Maasai village at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We stayed in a tent behind a Maasai friend Daniel’s dung hut in a boma called Namelok. We learned so much about the traditional lifestyle of this celebrity tribe, fetched water straight from the source of Mount Kilimanjaro, painted a mural at the school house surrounded by curious children, and ended every night storytelling around a fire with the shimmer of the Milky Way above us. The knowledge we gained was immense.
We were then lucky enough to experience the wild side of Kenya and go on safari for two days in the Maasai Mara. Climate change is influencing our world, but inside the game park it was a wonderland of life. From wildebeest to cheetahs, we experienced an incredible diversity. At night our tent was guarded by the Maasai so that elephants would not trample us. We fell asleep to the trumpeting of the elephants and low growls of lions in the distance. Our hearts synced up with the beat of the Motherland and we know how precious this life is for our planet.
Back in the city of Nairobi we got a taste of the blossoming art scene, met several artists and writers, attended a literary festival at the National Museum, stayed on the campus of Evelyn College of Design while painting a mural in the honor of art activist Dan Eldon, got a lesson in politics from Mike Eldon and Evelyn Mungai, and danced our butts off to the music of ever so popular Sauti Sol.
We changed pace drastically the following week as we found ourselves in the streets of Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, located right outside of Nairobi. We stayed with and learned from two talented and soulful artists, Mbuthia Maina and Solo Seven, while we got acquainted to the constant flow of people, kids, animals, trash, vendors, food, booze, and matatu buses through the narrow pathways between shacks that shared walls. We painted a colorful mural at a children’s shelter, brainstormed over candlelight at night, and completed our largest mural of the trip in an abandoned and blow out complex destroyed during post election violence in 2008, now a contemporary “museum” of socially conscious street art. Our eyes were wide open the whole time.
The time we spent with the people in Kikuyu around an open fire roasting goat or in the Maasai boma sipping chai and recording their lives was significant and impactful. We are bursting with stories and knowledge, portraits, videos, and photos, but seeking the right way to share it all. What of our documentation is relevant and important for people not only in Kenya, but Los Angeles and anywhere else to witness now? Feedback desired…what do you want to know about Kenya?