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The Massai Market, a colorful oasis in the heart of Nairobi

I had a presumption that the Massai are cattle herders merely and beyond this distinctive occupation, they are restrained and clueless to what is trending in the cities. But, my travels proved my presumption wrong and that is the constructive side of travelling – it makes us. On the 16th of February 2013, I walked in the Massai market – a colorful oasis in the heart of Nairobi. Beside escapades, I was there primarily to buy a birthday gift for someone.

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Though I find it nerve wracking to buy birthday gifts for people, this one was a sweet adventure in itself rather.
The Massai market is one of a kind. The thousands handmade decorative jewelries and canvases persuaded me that the Massai are more than mere cattle herders. They are dreamers. They want the world to know that they exist too and what their hands make speak highly of who they are.

Every time I travel to Kenya, I try my best to buy a handicraft product from the Massai market; not to add to my collection but in the years to come, to remind me of my expedition in Kenya.

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Meeting the locals in Karen

The smell of coffee woke me up on the early morning of the 14th of April 2014 and I rummaged to the kitchen to have a sip of it. It was freezing cold in Nairobi and hot coffee makes more sense when it is not hot outside.
In my bucket list for that day, the Giraffe Centre featured on the top and I eventually drove all the way to the conservation and breeding center, located in Karen. I arrived earlier than the normal opening hours. I thus made the most of it by walking in the surroundings and meeting the locals.

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I met a young man who was riding his bicycle, on the way to the town. He was quite reserved but I managed to have a brief conversation with him and here is a snapshot of the moment.
People of Kenya are generally welcoming and this picture conveys it.

I do justice to my adventures by living them fully. The world is my home and its people are my brothers and sisters.

I take risks, I lose myself and I learn.

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A soulful journey at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Enticed by the feeling of being fully alive, I packed my camera bag full of lenses and unleashed myself into the wilderness of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – a sanctuary for elephants and other wild animals. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is fervently indulged in the preservation of wildlife.

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I read extensively about the commendable motive of this foundation and ultimately surrendered to its splendor. On the 10th of February 2013, I plunged myself into the serenity of this place and the feeling of standing meters away from the elephants remains indescribable. People were flabbergasted by the sight of the endearing elephants proceeding for their daily mud bath. The baby elephants were playful and impish. I got entirely engrossed in taking pictures until an elephant looked into my eyes. I stood momentarily still and I allowed the moment to sink in. The majestic elephant then walked away. I wonder if her silence meant something though.

It was a soulful journey. I promise to visit this heavenly nature reserve again.

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On being a Massai

In Kenya, every day is different from the previous one. On the 17th of April 2014, I escaped the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, and ventured into the Nairobi National Park. The smell of the blossoming valleys, the mist-veiled hills, the rushing rivers, the plush greenery, the humming of the bees, the chirping birds, the silent roars of the wild animals, the solace and the silence of the place are all worth dying for. I smiled to myself as I strolled through the park and felt the little things around me. Meters ahead, I had the privilege to meet a Massai.

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He showed me a glimpse of his incredible world – no expectations and no grumbles. The gentleman even permitted me to wear the traditional Massai outfit. I could identify myself with the Massai people. At that moment, I deeply desired to live as a Massai. Though my expedition came to an end, the Massai spirit dwelling into me has no end.
I learned, from the Massai, to expect less and to create more. In my mind, I am a Massai too and I vow to walk into the land of the Massai.

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Finding my purpose in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Living in Democratic Republic of Congo is undoubtedly a brave venture. Blending into the culture of the country was hard. The outbreak of Ebola pandemic in West Africa made the climate tenser. Walking down the lane of memory, I recall those days when I would wait for hours to have a fortunate glimpse of the blue cloudless sky and those nights, when I would peek through the window, with a thin hope, to glance at the sky peppered by myriad shimmering stars. But Democratic Republic of Congo has its own reality. I hunted for reasons to persuade myself that time would fly quickly.

Kinshasa

However, the 24th of August 2014 was not just any other day. I spent the second half of the day touring around the deepest river of the world – Congo River. This walking tour taught me what books could not. I came across playful children, young couples, hawkers and even singers. I walked to people, felt their smile and connected with them. I had no clue what they were until they related their stories to me. I played with the children, danced with the locals, laughed with families, listened to the singers and eventually found my purpose. I then did justice, as far as possible, to the days lived in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Road trips never lie, Nairobi to Naivasha

In April 2014, my brother submitted to his craving for Africa and traveled to Kenya in quest of adventures. I cheerily drove to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to welcome him on the African continent.

Road Trip

On the 15th of April 2014, we packed our food supplies and camera, and embarked on a memorable road-trip at the earliest hours of the morning – Nairobi to Naivasha. To live the journey abundantly, we stopped at numerous places. Whenever we came across the locals, we would park the car and we would willingly approach them. We stopped at pastures and lone huts along the road to enjoy some photography. The hawkers would rush to us to invite us to visit their stall. The curiosity of the passerby would increase but few would walk to us. We listened to stories from across villages.

Eventually, we gathered that road trips never lie. It is the purest snapshot of reality. To know, you have to feel and to feel, you have to explore.

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The Massai of Olepolos

Olepolos Country Club, situated on the Magadi Road of Kiserian in Kenya, emanates silence that is gently disturbed by the symphony of the birds and floral, and the scenery is to die for.

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The drive from my apartment, located in Upperhill, to Olepolos Country Club made me shiver with awe. I walked enthusiastically on the hilly areas, with a wide smile on my face and adventures filled in my eyes. The scent of the fresh meat (known as Nyama Choma) being slaughtered just few meters away, the traditional Massai dance, the craft market blended with colors and tucked away in a calm corner of the hill, the kid’s corner and the breathtaking of the Great Rift Valley reveal the splendor of the place.

I met this young Massai boy while touring around the place with my camera and he did not hesitate to share his life’s story with me. I can undoubtedly confirm that Kenya has some of the warmest people on earth.

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Hope for Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kinshasa, undiscovered and forgotten by many, remains the pearl of Africa. I spent around two months digging deep into the Congolese culture and embracing the reality of life in this landlocked country.

I had the privilege to meet blessed souls of this land, while walking on the coast of the world’s deepest river – the Congo River. They had nothing to give me but yet, they gave me everything. They gave me hope that one day, Democratic Republic of Congo will rise again. I had nothing to give them but yet, I gave them everything. I prayed that their dream manifests into reality.

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