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Life Skills, the Desert and Prayers

June 20th, 2016

In Western Kenya I taught Life Skills Education to 500 high school students. I think that was the most difficult month of my life.

Life Skills

I never heard of Life Skills Education until I came to Otaro. I’m a huge fan now and very interested in exploring this path more with Laurie Goes to Africa.

Below are the Life Skills as laid out by the Kenyan Ministry of Education:

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Kisii and the Orphanage

June 14th, 2016

The Lonely Planet guide for Kenya does not speak highly of Kisii. That’s too bad, I really liked this hilly, bustling little town.

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These Hard Times

May 7th, 2016
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Animal Farm.

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Best Friends.

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The corridor of my apt. complex. 24 rooms total.

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My room. Gotta love Hanna-Barbera.

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My room is on the left. The shower and toilet, straight ahead.

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The other side of my room. I estimate these rooms to be no more than 12×12 feet.

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Some of the school on a lazy Saturday.

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Another part of the school.

I have written and rewritten this article many times. I’m trying not to say too much negative, but this has been a hard place. I’m teaching at a school in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya. The culture is male dominated. The people are not as friendly as in Uganda, by a long shot. The community is small and there is not much to do and most comforts are non-existent. I’m including some pictures of the area so you can kind of imagine what it might be like.

It has been hard since before I even got here. Yesterday made one week with this assignment. Actually, typing that makes me feel better! Time truly is progressing! Most of my past African situations were good. The one in Uganda that was bad, there was no question in my mind that I had to leave early. In this case, I felt God say “You need to stay.” I admit that I don’t always do what God says, but in this case I’m obedient. read more

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My Friend Fran and Her Gorgeous Henna

April 25th, 2016

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Me and Fran, Indian Ocean.

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I was like “Let me fix my hair.”

(click on any picture to see its bigger version!)

In Kilifi, I met the lovely Fran from Germany, living in Zanzibar. When I first met Fran, we were in the gift shop. It went like this.
Me: Hello, I’m Laurie.
Fran: Hi, I’m Fran.
Me: Nice to meet you. Can I ask what country you come from?
Fran: Germany.
Me: Wow, I’m surprised, your accent is so much more beautiful than the German accents I’m used to.
And that was the beginning of our friendship.

Fran was a great friend to me, including taking me to the hospital when I got stung by an unknown marine animal (not jelly fish, not sea urchin). Fran does have a BEAUTIFUL voice. I told her she should do some books on tape or something. It’s a voice that reminds me of Mia Farrow in The Last Unicorn. So soothing. When I asked Fran, “Do you know the movie The Last Unicorn?” She said, “I love that movie, it’s such a beautiful movie.” For sure!

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Fran!!!!


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Majestic boabob tree at Distant Relatives.


Fran and I had great times, fun times, peaceful and relaxing times. We shared many swims, dawas, stories, amongst other things. We sat under the baobob tree for energy and peace and it was such a nice friendship in such a magical place. I will absolutely see Fran again! read more

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This Was the Best Day of My Life

April 20th, 2016
Bofa Beach

Gorgeous Bofa Beach. All alone.

Walking on to Bofa Beach

Walking on to Bofa Beach

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Sand so white.

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Calf prints on the left, the rest are goat prints. The herd walked through here every day I was here.

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Beautiful colors.

I arrived to Distant Relatives Ecolodge and Backpackers on Wednesday April 13th. The best day of my life (thus far!) was Thursday 14 April 2016.

More Info.
Swimming is one of my most favorite activities IN THE WORLD. It feels so freeing, comfortable, joyful, soothing, etc. “Backpackers” (as it’s called around here, aka Distant Relatives,) is about a 6 min walk to a salty creek beach. It’s nice enough, but the ocean beach is about 20 min by motorcycle. Thursday morning I’m checking out the nearest ocean beach that was recommended to me by several people: Bofa Beach, outside of Kilifi Bay Resort. read more

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Distant Relatives…..

April 19th, 2016
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This guy clung to my door for about 48 hours. I’m glad he left, he was freaking me out a bit. This was the biggest one I saw.

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This is where I wash my hand afters going to the composting toilets. 🙂 Behind me are the bamboo showers.

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Fran reading by the pool with coffee. Nice morning!

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Some friends chilling on the stage.

Wow. I came to Kilifi, Kenya, (north of Mombasa about 1 or 2 hours, you learn to not worry about the time here) on Wednesday April 13th. I’m a beach girl, I love swimming and getting sun and laying and being restored spiritually and with Vitamin D. There was no question that since I’m going to be close to the beach and have a gap in schedule I’d have to go. AND considering in my “previous life” I pretty much never want on vacation (usually used my paid vacation time from work to visit my family in Nebraska…), I totally deserved this!! read more

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Mombasa!!

April 13th, 2016
Road to Mombasa

Road to Mombasa

On the bus

On the road again, just East of Kisumu.

Old Town Mombasa

Old Town Mombasa

When I first found out I was probably going to Kenya, I realized Mombasa was also in Kenya and I told myself I just have to go there. I didn’t know much about it, but honestly, I remember the male “Lover” from the SNL sketch “The Lovers” (circa 2003 or so) told some story about “Mombasa!” and it sounded exotic and interesting and that I just had to go.

So, after leaving Kisumu, I took a very long bus ride across the country. The bus left at 2:45 am from Kisumu, I arrived at Mombasa at 9:30 pm. So…. about 19 hours? I had a nice seat though, a VIP seat with Modern Coast. I recommend it. It was quite comfortable, it was big and wide. I could gain over 100 pounds and still fit in the seat, not that I’m wanting that but just saying. This bus ticket was only 22$! read more

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I’m Trying to be Patient with Kenya…

April 10th, 2016
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Jumping monkey! At Rondo Retreat Center.

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Retreat in the forest. Do you see some monkeys in there?

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Beautiful path at Rondo.

I’ve been in Kenya for about a week now, at a Christian Women’s Retreat in Kakamega Forest. It was a good, peaceful time, rejuvenating spiritually and was just what I needed to start me off on this next adventure. I met some great ladies and saw some monkeys. I feel like

The ladies of the retreat.

The ladies of the retreat.

I’ve been shown some clarity about my “mission” and my path (enough clarity anyways!!!). I’ve just come to accept and appreciate that if I can only see 2 feet of my path in front of me, that’s fine and great and what wonderful adventures may lie before me. Maybe I’ll find something wonderful in Kenya I want to get attached to, maybe I’ll go back to my Uganda, (yes, I said MY Uganda), maybe I’ll go on another tour of African countries like South Africa and Namibia or Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, or maybe I’ll enjoy my family in Nebraska for awhile. WHO KNOWS, and I’m OK with THAT!!! read more

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Taata Kids, Mbale and Teaching P6 and P7 English

March 6th, 2016
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Volunteers at Taata Kids Guest House. From left: Rushmi, Joelle, Me, Pablo, Peter and Esther.

I feel very comfortable here. I have my own room, my own space, my own bathroom, my own mirror, my own life. Mbale has a mountain to the East, supermarkets, lots of wifi bar and cafes, lots of good restaurants. It feels very safe, I have never felt anyone trying to hurt me or rip me off. How I feel now really makes me think that I’ll be coming back to Africa for a longer stay, maybe to Mbale!

It’s great that there are so many volunteers here at Taata Kids. The first batch that I met here: Esther, Pablo and Devon were young, fun, risk takers that helped me do crazy wild things like ride motorcycles, stay out after dark and climb insanely unsafe looking ladders. They have all gone now, though Pablo and Esther should return for a couple weeks about a month from now. I am looking forward to Pablo and Esther coming back for sure! This week, a Spanish girl helped cut my hair!

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Mbale from Bam Supermarket’s balcony.

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Sipi Falls and Camping on Mt. Wanale

March 3rd, 2016

Sipi Falls

So, my lovely friend from Providence, RI, USA, Joelle, who is working with MSF (Doctor’s Without Borders) in Ethiopia came to visit me this past weekend. We had many adventures!!!!

Big Adventure #1, was going to Sipi Falls. Sipi Falls is one of the big tourist attractions around here. It’s about 90 minute drive from where I’m staying in Mbale. We took a matatu. We stayed in a place called Noah’s Ark that had a gorgeous view with a very nice tree house, and no bed bugs as far as we could tell! The price was 60k shillings (about 18$) each, which included food, stay and a guided hike to all the nearby waterfalls. Not too shabby. It was beautiful. read more

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