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Stories From… (Kenya)

Some of the images in this post are clickable and will take you to experience audio or video files created at the sites where the images were taken. Enjoy!

Nine days ago I was writing to you from a plane on my way home from Lebanon. And today I have the pleasure of telling you some stories about Kenya.

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Kenya. It’s in eastern Africa. The colours I will forever think of when I close my eyes and picture Kenya: green and red. This land is fertile and the clay is red. The colour of the people is rich, too, and I was in heaven photographing all of my new friends.

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I did most of my shooting from a moving car as we traveled around which was a great experience. The roads were horrific. And I mean like…we almost the bottom of our car a few times. So with the speed and the jostling of the car, I had to be pretty switched on with my camera settings and make choices in a microsecond.

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It was great fun getting home and loading up my shots because I never knew what I’d get.

I am amazed at the strength of the people of Kenya, particularly the women and children. They carry everything on their head. Like the woman below…yes that a handbag. Because who needs shoulder straps when you have a head?

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In the rainforest village of Kakamega, I saw children literally doing that thing I tell my kids when they’re being spoiled brats…hiking to fetch water for their homes. And laughing along the way.

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The premier toys of choice were old tyres with sticks or plastic bottles tied to a string.

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The women were always busy working very hard (with babies on their backs no less) and the men…well I mostly just saw them sitting around. Sitting on the road. Sitting on their bikes (Guys, we need to talk about this).

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The absolute highlight of my time in Kenya (and possibly a highlight of my whole life so far) was meeting and photographing two Maasai warrior men. Uncle and nephew, they were from Tanzania and we spoke through an interpreter. They were taken with my tattoos. I was taken with their scars. It was pretty rad.

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Second most rad happening was hiking into a village (so deep in the sticks that our car couldn’t get there) to meet Benta Wanjiku Opoto, a midwife in the village of Konya Wathorago, Kenya. She, herself, gave birth to 21 babies. 10 have died in adulthood of AIDS. Benta says she is very afraid of Maleria and in the past has had Maleria and Typhoid at the same time, leaving her permanently dizzy and unable to walk far. She has delivered more babies than she can count and in all of her years as a midwife (she didn’t know how many) she has had zero women die in her care.

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The Kakamega Rainforest. The most transcendent place I have ever been. The closest to heaven on earth, this (last surviving) rainforest of Kenya practically touches the face of God. I simply crave to be there again. Baboons play on the lawn. Every single flower is utter perfection. Nothing is dead. EVERYTHING is thriving. I’m longing to be there again sometime in my life.

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View many more shots from this trip below. And if you want to see literally every single image, you can get your fix over here in my Facebook album.

The Author & Artist

I'm Elizabeth, the photographer behind Gracie May Photography. I've been shooting since my first wedding in 2008 on a borrowed camera.

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