When a good friend tagged me onto a Facebook post about a call for models for an upcoming charity swim marathon, the first thing that crossed my mind was, “When was the last time I put on a bikini?”
But when reason settled in, I realised that I was just trying to look for a reason to shy away from wearing a bikini. But when I later accepted the Facebook event invite by Evgeniya, the event planner, I was struck by inspiration.
Evgeniya posted photos of talent auditions at a place called Huruma which some consider to be a slum area in Nairobi. The children looked so happy and I could not resist smiling as I scanned through the photos.
I had no plans for the weekend and this was a chance for me to be part of an amazing charity event that involved children… I was sold and ready to walk that runway to make the day as great as intended.
But if there was something I did not understand, it would be what a Rotary club is all about. To be honest, I always thought it was one of those old clubs full of old and retired expatriates who play Bingo during vacations on a fancy yatch. I know… I have watched too many movies starring old people 🙂 This is why it was surprising to know that there was a Rotary Club in Nairobi. I thought, “There aren’t any docking stations in Nairobi!”
Sad… I know. Later on, I did my research and found out that Rotary International is a global village of neighbours, friends, and community leaders. They team up to create initiatives that promote positive change and resilience in various communities around the world. So far, the village comprises of about 2.2million members. Nairobi’s Rotary Club is currently headed by David Hastie (President: 2013-2014).
So what made this year’s Rotary Swimarathon special?
Well, it is because of the unfortunate return of Polio in Northern Kenya. Since 1985, Rotary has led the battle against Polio and the club wanted to support the End Polio Now immunization campaign. This also led to the teaming up with the Nairobi Swimmers Association (NASA) to bring together swimmers on Sunday, 23rd February 2014 to swim non stop between 3 and 4pm. The swim marathon happened at the same time globally! 🙂
To add to the fun, there was an inspired serving of entertainment by Sanchat Trust Restart groups which included an amazing choir, break dancers, sensational salsa dancers and lovely little models doing the catwalk. These talented groups of young people had travelled from Gilgil to showcase their great talent and to appreciate the Nairobi Rotary Club for their support.
To add some icing on the cake, there was a spicy catwalk by professional Nairobi models showcasing Mohamed Bana’s Kikoy swimwear collection and gowns for auction.
It had been long since I last strut on the runway but I had so much fun with the models that it all came naturally. None of the models asked for payment as we all understood that it was for charity and we all enjoyed and cheered-on the little ones as they did their catwalk.
So where did all the money go to?
A third of the proceeds from the event went to supporting the End Polio Now campaign, another third went to Nairobi Swimmers Association (NASA).
The remaining third went to supporting Rotary charities in Kenya, including:
1. Eye camps for free cataract operations in rural populations.
2. Energy saving jikos (traditional stoves) for schools who provide free lunches to students.
3. Sanitary and water schemes for slums and schools.
4. Providing bed kits to primary school children, in partnership with Sleeping Children.
At the end of the day, I felt so blessed to have been part of such an inspired event. Some members of the public had
paid an entry fee of Ksh. 1,000 and students above 18years had bought tickets worth Ksh. 500 to be part of the event.
A feeling of warmth and fulfilment runs through me when I remember the little ones from Gilgil modelling and the young drummers from Huruma who were our musical guide as we spiced up the runway with Mohamed’s tasty fashion designs.
Pots of joy!
If you fancy Mohamed Bana’s designs, you can reach his fashion store through mobile: +254739632804
Check out more event photos here.