Great pictures are not only captured by cameras, but also by eyes. When I talk to people, taste their food, and try to understand their music, colors, traditions and form of art, I feel like that I have touched the spirit of the place. There are always some funny things happened in the trips, and there are always some stories to share with friends.
I was often greeted by the kids when I was on the road. They waved their little hands to me when I was in the van or said 'how are you' loudly when they passed by me. Some kids just simply followed after me for sweets. A little lolly would gain their beautiful smiles and makes their day special. So sometimes Leonard stopped the van and distributed lollies to the kids. Some kids saw us from a quite distance were running crazily toward the van for sweets. Their eagerness and grateful faces moved me greatly.
Kenya's unemployment rate was at about 40% in 2013 which kind of explained why so many Kenyans are struggling for living. It is often to see that young people chase after cars to attempt to make a sale to get a few bucks. Everyday life for many is about to get enough flours and vegetable. I found that many Kenyans don't eat much food on a daily basis. For example I properly eat more than Leonard does. He is a tall guy and normally work more than 13 hours a day.
Kenya national highway A109 was built by Chinese, once it called 'Mombasa Road', now it is known 'China Road' in Kenya. The Kenyans I met in the trip showed me a great appreciation to Chinese for China's contribution on Kenya transportation. But still, seems so far there is no saviour to redeem the bad traffic problems in Kenya. To those who are about to visit Kenya for the first time, you guys may experience the bumpy roads as a part of Kenya safari experiences.
Obvious enough to me that the Chinese electronics is their second interest in my conversations with locals, mainly because the Chinese electronic products are more affordable to Kenyans. Some guys asked me 'do Chinese girls mingle with Kenyan guys? ', and my answer was certain, 'we do mingle… we do'
A man I chatted with in Lake Bogoria obviously had more than twenty cows I assumed. He had his two wives sitting next to him. Latter I knew that he actually got three wives in total. At the beginning of our conversation my identity appeared to him was a Chinese. He looked polite, came to shake my hand and praised China's support for 'the China road'. Later we talked about 'ten cows a wife in Kenya', he asked me what is the cost for a Chinese guy weds a girl in China. My mouth was unfiltered with the word coming out 'about one thousand cows'. I instantly offended this guy. He looked at me with suspicious eyes, 'one thousand cows a wife? Tell me then what is good about you Chinese girls '. I understood that he was asking the quality of the 'goods' exchanged with cows. His wives looked at me curiously. I was amused by the topic rather than offended. It is true that nowadays many Chinese spend lots of money on their wedding and housing. But my answer was cunning. I smiled and said slowly 'the Chinese girls are bad!' Then I made my point, 'Why? Because love is unconditional. If those girls who married for cows or money, they were bad!' Sure, the guy was not happy with my answer, but his two wives laughed their heads off. Leonard was happy too, because he has no cows. It was a good joke though.
My father was a country boy when he was little. He used to tell my brother and I about his childhood when we were kids. By then he was trying to be our raw model, he often mixed up his own life experiences with some other people's stories written in books. He portrayed himself as a poor but hard working student who ate only two meals or sometimes one meal a day and had to walk a quite long distance to the school and home. In Kenya I saw many people even kids walking along the highway which kind of convinced me that my old fellow was honest to us at this point.
The guide from a Samburu tribe told me that I was allowed to take as many photos as I wanted. But my photo shoot at the beginning of the meeting seemed not going very well because of their 'unhappy' faces. When they know me better, they start to relax and enjoy their performance. And I got good shots. Thanks, guys!
Leonard was my travel guide & driver in Kenya. He sometimes introduced me some other onsite guides such as the guides of Mombasa City and Mt. Kenya Gorilla Tracking and Cape Town. For me it seems not quite necessary. But I understood that Leonard tried to look after his people. For many onsite guides tips are their major income. It surprises me that the onsite guides provide great services too. Like a guide of Mombasa city - Philips, Leonard told me that he was very knowledgeable and he spoke good English and French. Philips was indeed very kind and helped me to persuade people to allow me taking photos of them.