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.


Learning Luo and Kiswahili in Sega

Our hosts in Kenya, the members of St. Anne’s Catholic Church Sega, did their best to introduce us to as many of their traditions and customs as possible. This also included teaching us Swahili and giving each of us Luo names.

Laura Atchiene

The term “Luo” determines both, an ethnic group located in Western Kenya, as well as this group’s cultural practices and language.

In addition to their regular first name, Luos use surnames according to their times of birth. For women, those are:

Assien = In the morning
Atchiene = during day time
Adhiambo = in the evening
Atieno = at night
Find a list of more Luo surnames here.

Since I was born around noon, my Luo name is Laura Atchiene. Sounds nice, huh?

Useful kiswahili word for cooking

Useful kiswahili words


Betty, a girl from Nairobi, who decided to join our workcamp group, is doing a great job teaching us Swahili. In return,we are teaching her the equivalent German phrases.

Swahili English German
Jambo! Hello Hallo.
Habari yaki? How are you? Wie geht es dir?
(Msuri) sana. (Very) good. (Sehr) gut.
Asante (sana). Thank you (very much). (Vielen) Dank!
Karibu! Welcome!

You’re welcome.


Gern geschehen.

Karibu chakula. Enjoy your meal. Guten Appetit.
It’s delicious. Ni tamo. Es schmeckt gut.
Hakuna matata! No worries! Kein Problem!
Kwaheri Good bye. Auf Wiedersehen.
Lala Salama Good night. Gute Nacht.

This is my favorite song to remember the most important phrases. My friends from Tanzania tought me the song when we met during the International Youth Weeks in Frankfurt.

For the Germans among my readers: “Reise Know-How. Kauderwelch. Kisuahili Wort für Wort” by Hartmut Fiebig is a great book to learn Swahili. My travel guide recommendation is “Reise Know-How. Kenia kompakt” by Hartmut Fiebig. It’s a brief (300 pocket-size pages) introduction into Kenya’s culture, language and valuable travel advices for the major touristic places.

What I Miss While Being Abroad

As much as I love being abroad – there always are some things/ people/ circumstances I miss while being away from home. However, as always there are two sides to each medal:

What I often miss while being abroad

  • Being able to call my Mom and friends whenever I want
  • Having a fully equipped kitchen to cook and bake healthy food in
  • Having a fully equipped flat with anything I need to cook/ clean/ keep myself busy
  • Knowing my way around
  • Speaking the commonly spoken language
  • Having a certain routine
  • My jobs
  • My old friends
It's always a pleasure to go for a walk with a friend.

It’s always a pleasure to go for a walk with a friend. (c) Jonas Zerweck

What I like about being abroad

  • Remembering things way better than I usually would in order to be able to tell my family and friends about it next time I get a chance
  • Becoming creative due to little equipment in my temporary kitchen/ flat
  • Tasting local foods and drinks
  • Learning to find my way around
  • Learning a new language
  • Experiencing sometimes challenging but fun encounters due to the language barrier
  • Exploring new places and spaces
  • Finding cool things to do, nice places to eat, drink, or hang out
  • Stepping out of my comfort zone, facing challenges
  • Getting rid of my routine and changing perspectives
  • Being a bit more open-minded and easy-going than at home
  • Making new friends
  • Knowing my way around, having adjusted to the once new und unknown circumstances and feeling at home by the time I’m departing to go back home to Germany

Was ich fernab der Heimat vermisse

So sehr ich es liebe, fremde Länder zu bereisen – einige Dinge/ Menschen/ Gewohnheiten vermisse ich doch ab und zu. Wie so häufig im Leben hat aber jede Medaille mehr al seine Seite:

Was ich während meiner Auslandsaufenthalte oft vermisse

  • Meine Mama und Freunde anrufen können, wann immer ich möchte
  • Eine voll ausgestattete Küche haben, in der ich gesunde Leckereien backen und kochen kann
  • Putzsachen, Kochutensilien und alles, was das Herz zum Leben begehrt in meiner Wohnung finden können
  • Mich auskennen
  • Die Landessprache sprechen
  • Meinen Alltag
  • Meine Jobs
  • Meine alten Freunde

Was ich daran liebe, fernab der Heimat zu leben

  • Mir vieles deutlich besser merken, um meinen Lieben bei nächster Gelegenheit ausführlich davon berichten zu können
  • In der Küche auch mit begrenzten Möglichkeiten kreativ werden
  • Lokale Spezialitäten probieren
  • Lernen, mich an fremden Orten zurechtzufinden
  • Eine neue Sprache lernen
  • Manchmal etwas anstrengend, aber meist lustige, Begegnungen erleben, wenn ich mich trotz Sprachbarriere versuche zu verständigen.
  • Neue Orte erkunden
  • Ständig auf der Suche nach schönen Orten zum ruhängen und leckerem Essen sein
  • Meine Komfortzone verlassen und mich neuen Herausforderungen stellen
  • Mich von alten Alltagsroutinen befreien und neue Perspektiven einnehmen
  • Ein bisschen offener und lockerer drauf sein als sonst
  • Neue Freundschaften schließen.
  • Mich nach einer Weile in der neuen Heimat auskennen, mich an die einst ungewohnten Lebensumstände gewöhnt haben und mich zuhause fühlen – genau dann, wenn die deutsche Heimat wieder ruft.

Quote of the Day (#2): Stop Thinking, Start Laughing

Oh yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day. So I should probably post something about love, loneliness, casual dating or so. Uhhm… no! The most romantic I will get today is highlighting the magig four-letter-word in his wonderful quote I read yesterday:

Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.” ― Tom Robbins

Pünktlich zum Valentinstag sollte ich heute wahrscheinlich etwas über die Liebe, Einsamkeit, Dating oder so schreiben. Ähhm – nö! Ich werde heute nicht romantischer, als das magische Wort des Tages in diesem wunderbaren Zitat zu fetten, das ich gestern gelesen habe.

Unser Leben ist nicht so begrenzt, wie wir es empfinden; Die Welt ist ein wunderbar verrückter Ort; Die allgemein akzeptierte Realität ist sehr fehlerhaft; keiner Institution kann man trauen, aber auf die Liebe können wir immer vertrauen; Alles ist möglich; Und wir könnten alle glücklich und erfüllt sein, wenn wir nur endlich den Mut hätten, wirklich frei zu sein, und die Weisheit, unsere Egos zu schrumpfen und uns nicht so verdammt ernst zu nehmen.” ― Tom Robbins

Übersetzung (frei): Laura Konieczny

Which country in the world best fits your personality?

I recently found this fun test on a website and figured I should try it although I am usually not really fond of those tests as I often find them too predictable. So this is my result: My best fit is… (oh, surprise!) …. INDIA

Talking of India…

My workcamp in Madurai, Southindia, still has empty spots. So if you are interested in visiting a foreign, absolutely amazing country with a tourguide that loves it just as much as her home country Germany and who has been there before (guess who I’m talking about – me): SIGN UP NOW. Only about two weeks are left. GO AHEAD – I would love to share my experience in India with you!


The Stark Reality !

My Indian friend a colleague Nazish just started a blog as well. This is her first post. I love her writing!

The World Through My Eyes

When we look around, what should we find ?

Love, peace, happiness, togetherness, an environment that is hale and hearty ?

Alas, the stark reality is not so…It has a clearly different picture for us to see..

Instead of love, we find hatred and envy,

Selfish concerns overpower altruism,

Deprivation and hunger replace equality of resources,

Discrimination sidelining secularism and brotherhood…

Instead of kids going to school, we see kids begging in the streets..

The benches in the school are empty, waiting for the children to come and occupy them..

The books are waiting to be opened and read,

Instead the streets are full with children struggling to feed their tiny tummies.

A paradoxical situation prevails, where at one point the nations women are getting empowered,

Whereas on the other side, there are the ones who still bear the brunt of domestic violence….

No where even the shadows of empowerment…

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