According to one definition surreal means an oddly dreamlike quality.
A decade ago I went on a three day safari before heading out to a remote village in Kenya where we were working on getting a library set up.
The safari was surreal in a few ways: the animal life so different from what I am used to seeing. They were doing a burn to keep the grasslands healthy and it was the rainy season, so the atmosphere had a hazy other-worldly quality. (You can make an image larger by clicking on it).
The return from the safari, flying over the Kibera slums
then traveling though “the jam”,
then to the hot crowded reality of a small village
magnified the dreamlike quality of those three days at Masai Mara.
For the Lens Artists Challenge: Surreal I took a few photos from that little trip and played with them to get an even more surreal look, using a bunch of different tools and techniques in Topaz Studio 2.
Certainly one of the most memorable things in my life was a three day safari at Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. It was about ten years ago now but the memories have not faded. Words can’t describe being in such an awe inspiring place. I was there for only three days but…wow…I look back and have a hard time believing all of the amazing wildlife we saw.
For Becky of Winchester’s Tree Squares-21, I can’t seem to get into the rhythm of posting every day, even though I have lots of pictures of trees. I decided to do a few galleries of trees from places I’ve visited. Hoping they add up to around 31 trees by the end of the month. I think I’m up to 21 with this post.
Another person from Mulundi Village in Kenya. Mrs. Munyoki is a widow with two adult children. Her son, Mr. Elijah was a teacher, and assis tant principal (at the advanced age of 19!). Elijah was a good friend of my son and his mother was one of James’s “African mothers” who looked after him when he spent a few months teaching in the village back in 2011, right after he graduated from college.
In this photo she is making mandazi, a type of free-form doughnut, hoping to sell breakfast to folks headed to school or work.
In the village in Africa where I visited people, women especially, seemed to often be identified as somebody’s parent. I don’t believe I ever heard this woman’s name. She was the single mother of one of the people we helped with scholarships. Her son, Felix, was starting university about the time this photo was taken. We were helping that family because, in addition to her being a single mother, her house had been burned to the ground a few years earlier, leaving her with nothing.
A critical item in construction is water. The nearest well to this school project was about a kilometer away. The women of the village, in some cases mothers of the students of the school, earned a very small amount of extra money by carrying water. The cistern in the background was for rainwater, suitable for drinking, a commodity too valuable to use to make mortar.
Notice that this woman is using a khanga as a carrying strap for the jerrycan, it is softer than rope and most women have one with them, so it is readily available.
This man was building a school. I sometimes wondered how much he appreciated the help. Every time I saw him he was very focused on his work. Keeping every thing level was a challenge since the bricks were all donated by different families and they weren’t uniform.
This is Mr. Kithusi. He lives in Mulundi, Kenya, a few miles from the market town of Kitui.
Here he is walking in the courtyard of his compound. My son and I stayed with him and his family on two trips to the village in 2011 and 2012. My son also lived with the family for three months when he graduated college, teaching at a near-by secondary school.
Don’t let the rust fool you, this is a relatively wealthy family and the compound is quite well kept. They have quite a bit of farmland and own a flock of goats and a milk cow.
Khanga, lesos are what they are called in other places, are an important part of Kenyan attire. I have a book of 100 uses for a khanga. Everything from a simple wrap around skirt to improvised baby carrier.
When Mrs. Kithusi came to the USA to visit her daughter, she gave her khanga (leso) to the woman who was going to milk the cow while she was away, so it would feel comfortable with her.