The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘Maasai Mara’

Mambo Maasai Mara!

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I’ve always dreamed of the Maasai Mara. Experiencing the large expanse of natures glory and a beautiful culture that has made a mark even on the international scene.

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Pssst! Let me tell you a secret. My dream wedding proposal (before this post) had always been on a hot air balloon, during a sunrise over the glorious Mara. My future husband will now have to work with another creative plan which brings the drama which I love.

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So what led me to the Mara? Well, I travelled with my colleagues at the Amani Institute for a Design Thinking course. It was fun and I totally loved the fact that I got to experience camping for the very first time.

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If you’ve never done camping at the Mara, I highly recommend starting with the Oldarpoi Mara Camp. It’s an intimate eco-camp that economically empowers the local community and offers a rich cultural immersion into the Maasai community. We got to enjoy a beautiful musical performance by a local blacksmith who makes spears using inherited tools that are more than 100 years. Also, we got to ejnoy traditional dances by Maasai warriors.

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To be honest, I did enjoy my time at the Mara though I could not forget the choking sensation I got on my way to the Mara. I had seen a sea of plastic (PVC) paper bags on both sides of the road, stuck on shrubs and trees. Some were sweeping across the widespread land like tumbleweed. This was the only thing that I didn’t enjoy, particularly the pollution around shops.

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However, I was happy to know that there’s a new NGO in the area that’s working with the community to deal with waste management. They actually gather community members once a month to collect waste and dispose it correctly. I saw the impact within communities and it was a breath of fresh air.

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As we took a walk to meet community members, we met this old man who was tending to his goats and sheep. Ole Mutet is his name and we were informed that he educated his son using cows and now his boy has graduated from the University of Oregon in the US. He blessed us with a traditional Maasai story and it was awesome!

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We met groups of ladies selling traditional Maasai jewelry and the temptation was on the high. One in particular offered me a discount on a beaded bangle if I took a photo of her. It was a great ideal and so here she is!

Tip: Wearing a Maasai shuka (the material/blanket I am wearing in the photo above) is a sign of respect so grab one when headed for the Mara and wear it when interacting with community members.

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For four days, I got to enjoy this peaceful aboard away from the busy city. It was awesome and I plan to do ballooning at the Mara soon. At least for now I’ll soak in how amazing it was to wake up, eat, rest, dance and discover the Maasai Mara through this camping experience.

Enjoy the rest of the pics from my trip!

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Have you been to the Maasai Mara? I would love to know about your experience. If not, boy does a great adventure await you.

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Michelle Ayuma ~ Creative Communications Specialist

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Michelle Ayuma - Creative Communications Specialist

“Slowly, I’ll rise and get up there. Slowly, I’ll reach the top. Slowly I’ll learn my lessons in life. Slowly I will try my best.” ~Anon

I think that what makes me unique is the fact that I can only function in creative environments. Literally! This is how I get inspired to do something, write a new story, design a new concept or even sing a new song. Also, as a humanitarian, I draw my passion from children. There is always something about children that gives me the courage to keep going, to keep hoping, to keep sharing love in different ways and hopefully leave the world a better place than I found it.

If there is something the world does not know about me, it would be that I started writing stories as a pre-teen. I was always a geek and I never got the chance to hang out with the cool girls or the cute boys in school. Writing helped me paint a world of my own with unique characters that often featured intercultural and interracial relations. At a young age, I picked this up real quick and so later on in life, I had more confidence to meet with people from different backgrounds and totally enjoy their company.

The lowest point in my life so far was about five yeas ago when adversity hit me hard to a point I launched into depression for about three years. After recovery, I came to have a deeper appreciation for life and seasons of loss as well. This helped me appreciate the scars of my past which made me reflect on my strengths which pulled me out of depression.

If I were to meet with the girl I was five years ago, I would tell myself that I am my only limitation because the future is as bright as I imagine it to be. Not knowing my worth is what led me to depression. I can only imagine what difference it would have made in those three years of my life if I was reminded that if I keep working towards my personal vision, I would stumble but I’ll have something to keep fighting for.

My greatest achievement so far is receiving an Enterprise Champion Award this year from OpenText for showing exemplary effort in the promotion of Knowledge Management best practices as a Communication assistant at CARE International’s East and Central Africa’s Regional Management Unit. What makes this a special achievement is that it was my first time interacting with the term ‘Knowledge Management’ but I did not shy away from learning about it. I requested for mentorship by some awesome colleagues in CARE Kenya and CARE Canada and they sure taught me so much and I had fun in the process. This also helped me teach regional staff members and regional communication focal points about fun and interactive ways to share knowledge with an extra African touch – storytelling. I am truly excited to see how some of the initiatives that I started carry-on even after my leaving the amazing CARE global family.

TOP 3:

Best: …travel destination of my dreams is a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara. I love Africa and Kenya to be specific. My country has got the best mix of bush to beach and a snow-capped mountain. How awesome is that!

Craziest: …dream is dancing in the streets of India like in Bollywood movies with a large crowd of people tossing colourful dye and flowers everywhere. Loved it!

Worst: …food is boiled cabbage. I cannot stand the smell of boiler cabbage. The sulphur… oh man!

BEST TIPS ON CREATIVE COMMUNICATIONS:

1. Never compare your dream with that of other people. As a creative, you need to stand out as uniquely as possible.
2. Have a great appetite for learning. Look for opportunities to be mentored by people with knowledge and experience in your fields of interest.
3. Avoid negativity. This is poison to any living creative on the globe. Positivity creates a healthy environment for a creative mind.
4. Keep a journal and write down all of our ideas and thoughts. Reflect upon these from time to time and see how they actively influence your direction in life.
5. Keep-up with the latest news within your field of interest.
6. Invest in technology. Know the latest trends that would compliment your interests and your personality.
7. As a Christian, I love to pray and meditate. This always keeps me on check as I balance what I want out of life and what my purpose is while I am still on earth.

WHAT AM I UP TO LATELY?

After my time at CARE International came to an end, I went back to doing volunteer work as a mentor for young girls at Vision Africa’s Seed of Hope Center. Also, I am currently being mentored by the best of humanitarian communication officers who represent various INGOs at the regional communications network. As I look for my next opportunity to learn more about humanitarian communications and Knowledge Management, I am learning more about creative methods of communication. I am so happy and my heart is full!

I am 25years old.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Email: ayumamichelle@ymail.com
Skype: Michelle.Senda
Twitter: @ayumyum

PS: Please share your thoughts with me. Thank you!

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