A lesson in enjoying the moment

My workcamp group In Sega, Kenya, presented a German gospel during mass. Athough we had practiced our performance before, we were quite nervous about it. In order to proove our courage to our friends back home, we asked someone to tape us singing and dancing. Unfortunately, she failed to do so. Although we did a great job on stage and our spectators seemed to like our performace, I was crushed about not having a taped memory of it.

Luckily, I noticed how stupid this thought was quite quickly. Here’s why:

We did a great job. We had fun. We made more than a thousand of other people happy. Last but not least: We made a memory. So what’s there to be sad about? Nothing!
Picture Moment Laura Konieczny

Taking a picture or enjoying the moment?

Although I love taking pictures while traveling, I’ve recently tried to cut it down to a minimum. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to have photos and videos as memories of great experiences made, beautiful places visited and wonderful people met. I also love sharing my (traveling) pictures with family and friends as much as I enjoy looking at their pictures. However, as times passes, I sometimes wonder what I’m actually remembering: the “true memory” or a static picture of it, FESTGEHALTEN with a camera.

Does it really matter?, you might wonder. To me, it does. I don’t want to have a nice view through the occular of my camera only. I’d rather like to feel the sun, rain or wind on my skin, inhale a place’s unique smell and try to take a vivid picture with my inner eye. I want to enjoy the moment while I’m living it, not only afterwards when looking at pictures.

Looking at photos and videos is a great way to remember memories made in past days. However, they shouldn’t stay onedimensional but remind us of those unique experiences we made, beautiful places we visited and the wonderful people we met. So next time you’re taking pictures and looking at them a while later, try to ask yourself: How did the place smell? What did it feel like? What did YOU feel like? Trust me, you’ll SCHWELGEN IN ERINNERUNGEN even longer than you normally do.

What’s your favorite memory?

What’s your favorite picture taken while traveling?

Check out those inspirational articles by my blogging colleagues:

Matador Network: “Don’t see traveling as a checklist”

Journey of Wonders: Photography tips

Masai Mara – crossed of my list

Masai Mara National Park is probably one of the most famous in Kenya for it’s the second half of the Tanzanian Serengeti. That’s why most of my workcamp participants had been looking forward to visit  in order to see the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino). However, I didn’t like it as much as I expected to.

The reason: I found it quite expensive and too crowded. Besides, I had probably lost my hard to my surprising favorite Lake Nakuru National Park a couple of days before. If you expect nothing you can’t be disappointed, I guess.

The lesson: I like to explore hidden treasures (at least the not-so-famous-and-crowded-places) more than visiting super famous places. I love to watch animals. Masai Mara’s sheer endless landscape is very impressive anyways.

Two of hundreds of safari cars driving tourists through Masai Mara.

Two of hundreds of safari cars driving tourists through Masai Mara.

However, all in all, I nevertheless enjoyed our trip through Masai Mara.

Visiting Naivasha, Kenya

When traveling Kenya, Naivasha is a great place to stop by. Amongst other things, you can go on nice bike rides (we decided against mountain biking off road) to spot some animals, spend the night in cozy bandas (huts) or go on a boat ride on Lake Naivasha.

My favorite experiences: Going on a boat ride to see hippos and pelicans during dawn and see a thousand pretty cacti (yes, I find them pretty).

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In love with Nakuru National Park, Kenya

It might be hard to believe for many but my favorite place to travel to in Kenya was not Masai Mara but another, not so famous place called Nakuru. We spent about one and a half days and one night in Nakuru National Park. What I loved about it: it’s not as crowded as other parks yet one can gaze at countless amazing, pretty, cute wild animals. I’ll just leave you with some pictures – I promise you’ll love it!

What’s your favorite place in Kenya?

Exploring Kakamega Rainforest, Kenya

During our stay in Kenya, we didn’t want to miss to explore the country’s only rainforest. The famous tropical rainforest is 240 km² wide and inhabited by around 300 different kinds of trees, bushes, orrchids and farns as well as numerous different birds and monkeys.

Our guide Moses did a great job in explaining different plants’ functions – rural medicals use some of them to treat illnesses – and spotting monkeys for us.

Good thing I had bought a new camera before leaving to Kenya which enabled me to zoom in well enough to snap pictures of some of the monkeys high above our heads.

Visiting Kisumu and Lake Victoria, Kenya

Day trips are fun, especially when they’re distracting you from everyday life in a lovely yet tiny town such as Sega.

That’s why my workcamp group decided to take a trip to Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest town, and stop by Lake Victoria, the world’s third largest sweet water lake.

The matatu (small bus) or cashier (big bus) ride from Sega to Kisumu takes about 2,5 hours and costs 250 KES (ca. $2,50). There are numerous things to do in Kisumu, here’s what we decided on:

Visit the Kisumu National Museum

Learn more about the Luo culture and see a reconstruction of a traditional Luo homestead.

Reconstruction of a typical Luo homestad

Reconstruction of a typical Luo homestad

The museum also contains a collection of African snakes, sweet water aquariums and two crocodiles which are kept in tiny cages.If you’re an animal lover, skip those parts of the exhibition. It broke my heart to see those animal vegetating. The exhibition hall about traditional Luo crafts and handiwork also contains preserved animal heads as well as a preserved lion and buffallo body. The museum claims all those animals died a natural death and we’re preserved for research purposes only.

Entrance Fee: 100 KES ($ 1) for Kenyan citizens, 200 KES ($ 2) for East African citizens, 500 ($ 5) for foreign citizens.

Visit Dunga Beach

Eat freshly fried fish or your own picnic while enjoying a beautiful view over Lake Victoria. Watch the fisherman sail across the lake in their colourful boats and see the women prepare the fish to be sold on markets nearby. Watch hundreds of birds eat the fish leftovers. Go on a boatride across the lake (100 KES).

Last but not least: take a matatu back home and enjoy the silence in a small but lovely and wonderful town like Sega.

The workcamp I am conducting is organized by the German organization Kolping Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste. To learn more about their work and possibilites to participate in a workcamp in different countries all over the world, check out their website.

What we eat in Sega, Kenya

What we eat in Sega, Kenya

Our breakfast is plain and simple: toast with marmalade, accompanied by black tea with or without milk but always a lot of brown sugar.

Lunch and dinner are quite similar: simple yet very tasty.

We are using a “jiko”, a charcole grill/ oven,to prepare whatever there is to be prepared such as:

  • Sukuma wiki (fried green kale with onions)
  • White and brown Ugali (a cooked “cake” made of maize or wheat flour and water)
  • Rice
  • Spagetthi
  • Boiled potatoes with onions and tomatoes
  • Chapati (fried flat bread similar to those served in India)
  • Boiled peas in a sauce of mixed vegetables
  • plantains
  • Scambled eggs with tomatoes
  • Chicken or Fish (which I don’t eat as a vegetarian)
  • Bananas and oranges for dessert
  • Hand-picked and fried peanuts

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For each lunch and dinner, two or three of us join the housemaids, Vicky and Margaret, for the preparations. It usually takes about two to threehours until everything is ready to be served. They make a great effort to explain us how to prepare the traditional Kenyan dishes and are incredibly patient when explaining us how to correctly cut the kale and form a chapatti.

Fun fact: Sukuma Wiki is Swahili and means “pushing the week” (sukuma = pushing, wiki = week) because the green leaves are quite cheap yet yielding and filling so that they are often bought in order to save some money.

The workcamp I am conducting is organized by the German organization Kolping Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste. To learn more about their work and possibilites to participate in a workcamp in different countries all over the world, check out their website.