Category Archives: Lifestyle

Dear airport security, No Really, my headscarf is not a threat

A number of factors come into play when choosing the perfect air travel outfit. The weather of your destination, what will keep you comfortable on the plane and a touch of style (Don’t throw fashion if that’s your thing totally out of the window because you are jet-setting). What doesn’t come into consideration however, is how much of a security threat your outfit is going to be. Because, is that even a thing?!

Well, until you are selected for extra screening at the airport then it becomes a thing. “Ambia madam, ashuke aende walk-in security checkpoint for frisking.” Just me? I couldn’t help but chuckle. I don’t see no one else being asked to get out of their vehicle for frisking. While I didn’t have much time to mull over why I had made the perfect candidate for an extra pat-down at the screening yard, I suddenly became all too aware of the meaningless piece of fabric on my head that I often forget is there. Just like that, thanks to my brightly cloured, floral pashmina, I got suspicion. All of a sudden, I was a security threat.

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In the wake of another terror attack, I don’t pretend to not understand why security should be tougher now. As matter of fact, when passing through airport security all passengers should do what it takes to ensure they arrive safely at their destinations. Key word, “All” passengers. Pardon me then when I don’t seem to comprehend why someone should be singled out as “most threatening passenger” by virtue of what religiously affiliated attire they may or may not be wearing. Shouldn’t everyone be subjected to the same kind of security screening? This check, if you ask me, is so devoid of logic. To assume that only Arab-appearing, Semitic looking or hijab wearing individuals are a threat is dangerously naïve.

Focusing more on a profile only increases the risk of missing out on those who don’t match it. How does that make us any safer? What it potentially does, is it opens the door for terrorist groups to probe any profiling system and figure out how to beat the profile. It is seems that our security apparatus underestimates the ability of the perpetrators to recruit people who do not fit the “terrorist” profile. Don’t you think therefore that it is prudent for everyone to undergo the same scrutiny when it comes to safety measures? Haven’t we seen cases of explosives placed in the baggage of non-suspecting civilians? How many times have we thought that the perpetrators came from an obvious ethnicity, only to be surprised later when identities are revealed?

Photo credit: teachandlearn

Singling me out on the basis of my flimsy “radioactive” floral headscarf doesn’t make anyone else safer. Terrorism is a risk we are all exposed to; veiled, or not. And as such, everyone should be held accountable. Security scrutiny should apply to all regardless of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or even your style of dressing for that matter. Nevertheless, living in such a volatile time, one cannot control how people react or interact with you based on your pashmina or headscarf. What to do? Perhaps don’t wear anything that could possibly suggest that you are a mass murderer, like a scarf on your head for instance or better yet next time try to look as harmless as possible, which then again with my hulking 5’4” frame, and chubby cheeks, can be a very daunting task.

Never had I encountered veiled prejudice before nor have I ever felt the discomfort that comes with the simple choice of a pashmina over your hair in an airport. Boy, did I really feel it this time! As if air travel wasn’t such a drag already.

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Five Travel Ideas for this Easter Holiday

Fancy Food festivities in Mombasa, weekend long parties in the wild, a cool Easter city break to the countryside or Just some valuable family time? There is still time to book an Easter holiday getaway.

1. Party in the wild – Nanyuki

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Here’s camping with a twist. 3 days – 2 nights; Spectacular lighting Monstrous bonfires, Nyama choma spots, Quad bike competitions , Loud sound, superstar DJs and lots more!

The fifth edition of Party in the Wild is bound to make your Easter Holiday experience unforgettable. What’s more, this year you get to experience nature at its best in the amazingly beautiful, Storms Resort.

2. Hakuna Matata Festival – Olepolos Edition

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Looks like this year, Easter Weekend will be a weekend of fifths. The Hakuna Matata Festival will also be on its fifth edition this Easter, to be held at Graceland Olepolos, in the scenic Kajiado County.

You will be treated to an epic night of live Music and DJ perfomances, don’t miss out! On the decks will be; DJ Creme De La Creme, Dj Protege, DJ G-Money, Dj Crossfade, Dj Raj El Ray , and DJ Kace.  P-Unit will also grace the event as the Main Act. This is guarateed to be a night to remember.

3. Xtrym Mount Kenya Experience

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Climbing Mount Kenya may have been on your bucket list for the longest time and this is the year you finally get to tick it off. Thank God for this Easter. Xtrym Adventures, and hopefully you too will embark on a 4 day-3 nights (April 3th- April 6th) journey up Mount Kenya – Lenana Peak.

This creative climb joins two of the most scenic routes up Mount Kenya, Sirimon and Chogoria, producing a remarkably diverse and spectacular trek. Sirimon coming off the west of Mount Kenya passes through the dry side of the mountain with its giant trees and rocky terrain, and the descent onto the Chogoria path is exactly different with its lush bamboo and highland forests.

This is one adventure you cannot afford to miss!!

4. Family day out – Fam Fiesta

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Stuck for ideas on where to take your family this Easter? WestEast Entertainment has that sorted out. Mark your calendar for Fam Fiesta, April 5th, the ultimate all inclusive family festival.

Hosted by your favorite comedians, Fam Fiesta is a fun carnival style day out for the entire family with lots of food, drinks, entertainment and games for all. Your Kids shall have their hands full with mascots from their favorite cartoons, train rides, horses, cotton candy, bouncy castles, clowns and free face painting.

Just so you get to enjoy the festival as well, kids will be minded by a team of trained pediatric nurses so your mind can be at ease as you rediscover your inner child at the adult play arena or just dance along to the live band.

Activities in store for the parents include:  Foosball (table soccer), Pool,  Playstation & XBox Challenge,   Board Games (chess, scrabble, monopoly,ludo), Miniature Golf, and Darts. Aside from the games, you will get to enjoy some comedy, live bands, Dj music, & networking opportunities.

There will also be all inclusive inter-family competitions so bring your kids, nephews and nieces for a fun day out!

5. Savor coastal flavors – Mshikaki Street Fest & Lamu Food Expo and Festival

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Finally, we know Easter won’t be half as much fun without some lip-smacking food. This Easter the Coast serves you to sumptuous feasts, not only in one, but two counties; Lamu and Mombasa.

Foodies, heading down to coast this Easter should be the plan.

With both Lamu Food Expo and Mshikaki Festivals, you have no excuse not to feast. The first of its kind, Lamu Food Expo and Festival will attract an affluent audience with an interest in a rich culinary experience. This is a family-oriented, community-centered event that has been met with great excitement all over the County. What to expect: a street food bazaar, traditional dances, culinary experts including Chef Ali Mandhry, displays of foods and beverages, forums and workshops, visual art, cooking shows and competitions, and much more.

Mshikaki Street Festival on the other hand, is held every month at the Tusks Mapembeni but this Easter, it promises to be bigger and better! Performances from renowned musicians, and a vibrant array of mouthwatering coastal delicacies, from variety of seafood goodies to Shawarma, Kababs to Pizza, and lots more.

Kosa uchekwe!!!

You know you were born and raised in Kenya when…

Every friend of your parents who came to visit was “auntie” or “uncle.”

Eating at the neighbour’s was a punishable offense!

Soda in the house? Either your parents were in a REALLY good mood or there were visitors coming over.

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You’ve been told to stop crying or you’ll get something to cry about.

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Doing well in school is not an option. There should be no excuse as to why you were anything but “number 1” in class. Getting a test score of 98% is not that impressive, “What happened to the other 2 percent?” And why in the world should you get a B, “The person who got an A, do they have three heads?” (Just so you know, every parent was “number 1” in class and got a distinction during their time!)

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“In my days”, “When I was you age”, “Let me tell you a story”, “In my time”, and more similar phrases usually lead to a 2 hour lecture on how things were harder for your parents.

Your parents encouraged you to follow your dreams. But that dream better be to become a doctor, lawyer or politician.

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Your house is free for all. Relatives will be well some just gave the excuse of coming to stay for a day or two…a month later?! invited to stay for an extended-period of time.

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Your parents will call you from upstairs, downstairs, outside, etc., to hand them an item that is literally 10 centimeters away from them.

God help you if you’re living under your parent’s roof and you yell at them, slam a door in anger, and/or curse in their presence. Yeah, God help you.

You ask for permission to go for a sleepover or to visit a friend and the reply you get is “Must you be the one to go there? Why can’t they come to visit you?”

The youngest child will be blamed for everything….until he or she is able to talk and the oldest will be blamed for everything that the younger children do.

You will probably never meet all of your extended family because there are just so many of them.

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Your friends better greet your parents first when they see them or that friendship is pretty much over! RESPECT

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If you are called out by your full name, and your native language is also being spoken, the day shall not pass without tears.

Attending “SHOW” (Agricultural Society of Kenya Shows) was the thing!

Your mom had special crockery that you were not to touch! for guests only!

There was a list of neighbors and relatives where you were not to dare step into.

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The best time to ask for stuff is when visitors were around.

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These Striking Wedding Photos From Kenya Are Guaranteed To Take Your Breath Away

Wedding photographer Jonas Peterson has shot brides and grooms in all sorts of beautiful places around the world, but he says this recent wedding in Kenya might be the most spectacular of the bunch.

“I didn’t know Africa would touch me so deeply,” the Melbourne-based photographer wrote on his blog. “It sung to me in a way I didn’t know possible, found new chords and played on strings I didn’t know I had inside me.”

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Credit: Jonas Peterson

In late September, Nina — a wildlife photographer and senior marketing advisor to wild cat conservation organization Panthera — and her fiancé Sebastian tied the knot in national wildlife reserve Maasai Mara in front of their closest friends and family.

“The bride of the Maasai normally wear a lot of jewelry, and the necklace, called enkarewa, is especially important,” the bride told The Huffington Post in an email. “When I first told my closest friend in the Maasai community about our wedding, he came back to me with a necklace and bracelets as a special gift made for me by his family. The stick carried by Sebastian was also a gift from the local Maasai community.”

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Credit: Jonas Peterson

Over the last several years, Nina has spent many months in Maasai Mara following a pride of lions for a project about the world’s last wild lions.

“During this time, I have become very close friends and almost family with the Maasai, who have welcomed me into their lives,” she told HuffPost Weddings. “Because we were planning to hold our ceremony on the land of the Maasai, it was very important to us to incorporate some of the traditions of the Maasai culture into the ceremony…After the announcement [of husband and wife], a traditional Maasai song and dance followed according to tradition.”

According to the bride, the two cultures and nature merged “in the perfect moment and the best day of our lives.” We’ll allow the gorgeous photos below to do the talking.

 

 

 

Jonas Peterson 

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Jonas Peterson 

Jonas Peterson

Jonas Peterson 

Jonas Peterson  

Jonas Peterson  

Jonas Peterson 

Jonas Peterson

Jonas Peterson

In a blog post published on Once Wed , the bride detailed the many ways Mother Nature “was with [them] every moment of the wedding”:

Approaching the ceremony site in our safari Land Rover, the clouds were building up to an unusually dramatic storm, yet on the other side of the horizon, the sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining. As we walked down the aisle the white rose petals at the center of the ceremony had attracted a number of white butterflies that circled around us on the ground…At the end of the ceremony the sky was almost black. As we were walking back down the aisle and the Maasai started singing and jumping, a herd of wildebeest stormed across the savannah and the wind started blowing…Just as we got into our car, the sky opened and huge raindrops started falling. The groom wondered (as did some guests) whether the love of his life had made a deal with Mother Nature.

more incredible photos from the big day;

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How to make the most of Nairobi Restaurant Week

Nairobi Restaurant Week #NRW2015 kicks off today.

For the uninitiated, Restaurant Week is when hundreds  of establishments, from fine dining standbys to hip new eateries, offer special prix-fixe lunches and dinners to much enthused foodies.

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This event has been a proven tradition amongst many major cities around the World including Cape Town, London, New York and Tokyo to name a few and although it is still quite a new concept in the country, last year’s launch was a big success. This year’s NRW  will feature over 50 restaurants offering 2 or 3-meal courses.

Organised by Taste Events Ltd (A partnership between EatOut and
SHK Consulting), the event will run till 1st of February, giving food lovers an awesome 10 days to sample as many restaurants as they can. #NRW2015 is therefore bigger than last year’s encompassing two full weekends.
Menus will cost Ksh1,500 or Ksh2,000 depending on the establishment. Some establishments will be offering a 2 course selection from the same menu at lunch time for a reduced price of Ksh Ksh1,000 or Ksh1,500, again depending on the establishment. This will however not include a complimentary cocktail.
This year’s title sponsor, Magnum Cream Liqueur from Liquid Africa  will be offering a complimentary Magnum cocktail, or a glass of Magnum on the rocks; for those who prefer theirs served plain on the rocks. Magnum is a luxurious cream liqueur which has tantalizing hints of caramel, chocolate and rich toffee making it perfect for anytime of the day even as dessert after a hearty meal.
Some of the best fine-dining restaurants on board this year include; Soaring Eagle Spur, Secret Graden, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Bhandini, Mambo Italia, Artisan at Sankara,DusitD2 Soko, amongst others.
Whilst you should look forward to having a great experience, it’s important to take a step back and see if you’re actually getting a good deal. A lot of people are going to restaurants they wouldn’t go to because it’s Restaurant Week, which is part of the idea, but they’re less in tune with what those restaurants are doing.

Are you being served a raw deal?

At first glance, Restaurant Week seems like a win-win for both restaurants and guests. Customers pay a fixed (and ostensibly lower) price while getting to try a new restaurant and its specialties.

For all its benefits,  Customers, rightly, want a good dining experience and a good deal. Restaurants on the other hand, rightly, want to fill seats during an otherwise slow month—the original purpose behind the promotion—and satisfy guests without losing money.

But here’s the thing: a ton of people turn out for Restaurant Week. “Amateur eaters” are seduced by the seemingly low prices and a desire to experience the new culinary fad. As a result, wait times can stretch on, and service may lag due to the sheer volume of orders and tables.

The premise of restaurant week is that restaurants you may not normally visit will lower their prices and offer their best dishes or most creative items in order to lure you back in the future. This is however not the case for all establishments involved.

You might find restaurants that don’t take the event seriously and serve extra-small portions. With menus being extremely limited, the value just isn’t there.

The quality of food often drops, too. Cheaper options that may not otherwise appear on the standard menu show up on the prix fixe as a way for owners to save money with the “special” menus. There are restaurants that normally have very particular ingredients and offer really outstanding quality products, and then you come into Restaurant Week and it’s all very conventional. The meal should at least be representative of the kitchen’s style.

Taking all of this into consideration, those prix fixe costs suddenly don’t seem like the best deal in some establishments.

Still, some eateries use the program to deliver great value. There are a few places out there where the special prix fixe is as good a deal as the regular menu. It’s the delight in discovering those that keep many coming back for more.
It can be bad (sometimes) for restaurants too!!

Restaurant Week can certainly be great for restaurants — it amps up exposure and brings in new customers during an otherwise slow month.

It is also a good opportunity for restaurants to showcase to people who may have otherwise not dined with them.

But it can also have the opposite effect. Dining out during Restaurant Week doesn’t necessarily offer a true glimpse of what a place is actually like. Crowds and long wait times annoy a restaurant’s best customers, and those deal-seeking diners are not necessarily going to come back. Which is really bad, given that increasing repeat business for restaurants is one of the main goals of a publicity program such as Restaurant Week.

It can also be rough on the servers leading to a subpar service. When you get down to it, the waiter isn’t making as much money.”

Ultimately, Restaurant Week can turn out to be a pain. But if you do decide to go, here are some tips for doing it right:

  • Do your research — some menus might be dumbed down, especially the higher cost ones. Try to find restaurants that stick as close to their main menu as possible. If the regular menu, and what they’re offering you doesn’t match up, then you’re looking at a place that’s faking you out. There are also plenty of restaurants where you actually pay more during Restaurant Week than you would a la carte.
  • Make a reservation, especially at your favorite spot. Restaurant Week is always busy, and you might not be able to get in.  The menu is limited to the first 250 patrons at each outlet so the earlier the better!
  • Chances are many of the best restaurants were booked weeks ago. Don’t be afraid to call if a restaurant is booked  to see if some tables are unloaded last minute by reservation hoarders. Sometimes, restaurants will extend their promotions after Restaurant Week (or offer the prix fixe year round). Plus, it never hurts to make sure there are no cancellations!
 
  • Be Nice – If you do go out late, realize servers have likely been running around more than usual by the time you get there. A little extra kindness can go a long way — not being snappy is a good way to increase your chances of getting your food quickly and accurately, something that holds true no matter what time you dine.
  • Do Lunch – If you’re able to make time in the middle of the day, lunch is a good option. Not only are the the courses cheaper, dining rooms are less likely to be jam-packed, and the service and kitchen staff will both be fresh. It’s a good chance to try places you might not venture during the evening.
  • Branch Out – Sure, everyone wants to go to the hot spots of the moment, but you might get better service (and find out about a fantastic dish before your friends do) if you try some of the older, more established restaurants on the list.
  • Tip Well – Do tips actually act as incentives for good service? Not exactly, since your server won’t know what you leave until your meal is over, but if Restaurant Week patrons decide as a group to leave better gratuities, it could put an end to the front-of-the-house griping that traditionally comes with the promotion. Happier servers = happier guests, simple as that.
  • Don’t Double Book – If you can get them, it can be tempting to book several reservations for one evening, and then choose whichever one you most feel like on the night of. This is definitely not cool, since it leaves restaurants on the hook with empty tables and lost revenue. See “Tip Well” above; making the promotion smoother for servers and managers ends up making it smoother for everyone.
Last year, four days into the weeklong culinary experience,  restaurants registered a significant increase in patrons wanting to take advantage of the unique experience with establishments like Bamboo, Zen Garden and Jiko at Tribe Hotel selling out their 250 limited-edition offering within three days with several others such as About Thyme and Pablos, Best Western recording similar numbers as well.

Whether you plan to sample the finest food the city has to offer or not, it’s  a given that Nairobi Restaurant Week is growing up to be the biggest culinary event in the country (if it isnt already).
If you do get to attend though, Good meals? Bad meals? Tell us about them in the comments.
Check the participating restaurants and their menus here.

13 travel resolutions you need to keep in 2015

13 travel resolutions you need to keep in 2015How many times have you broken a New Year’s resolution? If your answer is all the time, here’s one to try for 2015: Travel more.

Instead of shooting for the stars, or trying to right a habitual wrong, make a promise that you have every incentive to want to keep.

The below jet-setting guide contains feasible, affordable and do-able goals that are sure to skyrocket the quality of your year (and overall number of Instagram Likes).

Because, who doesn’t want to scratch off a once-in-a-lifetime destination, have an epiphany during a walkabout, or make a spur-of-the-moment decision that ends up being unforgettable? No one, that’s who.

Check a trip off your bucket list

Whether it’s conquering Machu Picchu or witnessing the spectacle that is the Northern Lights, chop your bucket list by one item. These dream trips are no joke: They require some heavy lifting before they can become a reality.

Start hoarding vacation days and putting aside paychecks so you have enough time and money saved up before the end of the year. There are a handful of apps that can easily help you manage and help to reach your goals, like iWish and Bucket List Pro.

Invest in chic luggage

Why does it feel so great to update your Facebook profile photo? Because sending a message to others that you look good, feels good. Like any other hobby, traveling is an extracurricular activity that begs for you to look the part, and owning must-have travel gear will motivate you to use it.

For women, Vogue and Refinery29 cull super-cute accessories, and for men, Details has everything from stylish clothes to sleek and necessary gadgets so you both can travel in style.

Explore your own city

No one is a tourist at home, so it’s common — and somewhat embarrassing — to have major, must-see sites in your own city that you have never actually set your eyes on. The next time a friend or family member comes to town, have yourself a tourist day and keep your secret safe by doubling as an educational host.

Once the mainstream attractions are out of the way, head off the beaten path for urban hidden gems. From an outdoor bike racing track in New York City to an abandoned Nazi camp in Los Angeles and a Technicolor church in Washington, D.C.’s arts district, reference Thrillist for city lists of creative things to do that you didn’t even know existed.

Travel with a close companion

You and your best friend aren’t getting any younger. If you’ve been brainstorming co-trip ideas for years, there’s no time like the present. From girlfriend getaways in Charleston and Miami to mancations in Las Vegas or Montreal, turn your best pal into a travel buddy.

After spending 24 hours together in uncharted waters, you might want to kill each other, you’ll certainly learn something new about one another, and no matter what, you’ll emerge with an even stronger bond.

Unplug for a week, or weekend

Leave your phone at home. In today’s day and age, everyone is so reliant on mobile and technological devices that a weeklong rejuvenating spa retreat might not be enough relaxation to steer you back to center.

Digital detoxes” are leading the growing unplugging trend by stripping participants from any connection to the outside world, and that includes social media. When you quietly camp in Big Sur, watch real birds chirp in Chile and graduate from a Stress Release & Burnout class in Thailand, that vibrating urgency of your smartphone will be a distant need.

Set out on a road trip

A rocking playlist, a full tank of gas and the right passengers are the only components you need to have a successful road trip. Whether driving across the country or down the coast, hitting the pavement as the wind blows through your hair is a rite of passage that every American should experience at least once.

If anything goes wrong during your travels, it’s sure to make for one helluva story when you reminisce about the adventure. For bucket-list drives, here’s a list of 10 that take the tank.

Take a walking, hiking or biking tour

Active travel companies like Backroads, Butterfield & Robinson and National Geography offer guided excursions where you can truly take in the sights. The mantra of these groups is that by seeing less, you will see much, much more. The organized journeys take travelers across continents for an up-close-and-personal cultural adventure.

When you’re pedaling through the countryside of Tuscany, coming face-to-face with elephants during a Tanzania walking safari, or boarding a junk cruise through Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, you aren’t just seeing the locales, you’re living them.

Go to a new U.S. city

You don’t have to spend a fortune or hop continents to soak in a spectacular sight. Have you crossed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, earned a necklace made of beads in New Orleans, or skied down Aspen’s Colorado Rockies?

What about listening to the sound of Niagara Falls, kicking up pavement through Badlands National Park or waterskiing across Lake Tahoe? There’s no shortage of homegrown lore in the U.S., so go ahead and pick one.

Plan a solo trip

When the “Eat Pray Love” wanderlust won’t quiet, it’s time for an introspective adventure. Budget Travel has a list of 35 destination recommendations and Condé Nast Traveler narrows theirs to 10.

No matter where you go, do the research. Since traveling alone can up the risk ante, you can also hook up with groups of other solo travelers through communities like the Travel Buddies app, which gives users profiles and filters to find others with shared interests.

Brush up on a language you learned in school — and use it

It’s time to break out the foreign language textbook. If you learned Spanish or French in high school, college or while studying abroad, take a refresher course, and then travel somewhere that will have you using what you’ve re-learned in the field.

The best way to experience another culture is by immersing yourself in their ways and customs, but language isn’t exactly like riding a bike. Use Duolingo, which is a free app and website that will have you conjugating verbs again soon with their video game-like approach.

Check out a festival

From music to food and wine, there are enough festivals across the country to keep you busy for the entire year. For tunes, kick off the music circuit with Coachella in April, followed by Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza in the summer months, and then head down to Austin City Limits for the closing set in October.

On your nibbling and imbibing menu, the appetizer is the New Orleans Food & Wine Experience in May, the main meal is the Aspen Food and Wine Classic in June and for dessert, devour the savory treats at the NYC Wine & Food Festival in October.

Use all of your vacation days

Most people are guilty of telling a vacation-day white lie. This year, throw down the gauntlet and promise yourself that binge-watching, staycationing on the couch and being hung over in bed are no longer reasonable uses of this valuable time away from work.

Instead, vow to actually take advantage of the desk freedom and spend it the way it’s intended: outside. You’re sure to squeeze in an extra trip or two a year.

Book a last-minute trip

When it comes to last-minute travel, Groupon, Living Social and JetSetter are your best friends. Sign up and you’ll be privy to deals that can often be too good to turn down.

Lastminute.com is another one-stop shop where you can grab an entire travel package, including cars and hotels. Be flexible, impulsive and spontaneous, and the result will be you living a little.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.

-By Jackie Strause, Yahoo Travel

‘Kenyans don’t know what a beautiful country they have’

It is 1.15pm, and before I have my sumptuous lunch at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa, I decide to put down a few thoughts of my six-day visit to three different parts of Kenya with a Ugandan delegation.

“This is a beautiful country,” I remember my colleague Edgar Batte saying earlier. Abu Mwesigwa had chimed in: “Unfortunately, some Kenyans don’t know what they have and that is why they let outsiders disrupt their peace.”

Here were Ugandans enjoying what God gifted Kenya.

This was a dream holiday coming true. However, I could have freaked out had I been fainthearted. A day before my flight from Kampala last Saturday, a bomb had gone off in Nairobi.

A few days earlier, British tour firms had evacuated their clients fearing for their safety after some Western governments issued travel advisories, especially against travelling to the Kenyan Coast.

It is some of these places that I was due to visit on invitation of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), who are now looking to Uganda to boost the number of foreign tourists.

On May 17, I boarded a Kenya Airways flight from Entebbe and landed at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a 50-minute journey.

The Immigration officer allowed me a six-month stay in Kenya despite my telling him that I was spending only six days.

During my stay, I have spent nights in four hotels: Stanley in Nairobi, Sarova Mara in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Swahili Beach in Diani, South Coast and the Whitesands from where I am working now. From the four hotels, Whitesands seems to have the highest number of guests, and guess what, the majority are Africans.

The friend who had warned me on Facebook about travelling to Kenya would certainly have been put to shame by the number of visitors.

He had seen my photos as I enjoyed swimming at the grand Swahili Beach. Cowardly attacks would not stop me from visiting the Mara, the beautiful beaches in Diani, and enjoying swimming, scuba diving and watching dolphins in the Indian Ocean at the reef near Wasini Island.

Now at the mainland in Mombasa, I cannot imagine fear would deny me such an experience.

And forgive my language, only stupid Kenyans could collaborate or allow foreigners to deny them to enjoy this immensely endowed country.

On Saturday, together with six colleagues from Uganda, we spent a night at Stanley. The attention to detail of the staff was my highlight.

I was in a beautiful room facing Kimathi Street. I later ventured into the night, starting out at Mojos and Tribeka, just opposite Nation Centre. I later relocated to Club Rumours on Tom Mboya Street. It was full-house in the entertainment spots as Arsenal fans celebrated their first trophy in nine years.

We danced to local music, and Ugandan artistes like Jose Chameleone, Radio and Weasal also played through the night. I walked back to my hotel room at 3.20am and slept for two and half hours before I was woken up to catch a flight at Wilson Airport.

Our flight on a Safarilink plane to the Mara was filled with foreigners. A few Europeans I spoke to dismissed the travel advisories and said they were having fun in Kenya.

SUNDOWNER IN THE WILD

Kenyans have heard so much about the Mara and I am the wrong person to talk about it. But it’s good to note the sundowner in the park, dinner in the wild in the dark night, the tent bandas at the Sarova Mara Lodge, and the animals that were kind enough to come out to be seen.

Uganda is increasingly becoming Kenya’s friend in deed. Even as the tourist industry is getting a beating from travel advisories and terrorism threats, Ugandans have not stopped visiting.

In fact, more are arriving, not for business or jobs but for holidays. According to KTB statistics, Ugandans have overtaken South Africans as the continent’s top visitors to Kenya with Nigerians coming second.

Last year, Ugandan tourists arriving by air numbered 47,398, South African were 36,409 and Tanzanians were 28,561. Ms Ann Kanini, the public relations officer for KTB says they have rolled out marketing programmes in Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, China and India because those markets are “less sensitive” and can take advantage of the low seasons to enjoy Kenya’s wonders.

“Most Ugandans who come to Kenya for honeymoon or holidays largely go to the beach,” says Ms Kanini.

Now Kenya wants to increase awareness of more destinations they can visit such as the marine parks in Wasini, the luxury beaches in the South Coast, Nakuru, Naivasha, and parks like the Mara.

“Cooperation between Uganda and Kenya is picking up well and in the last two years, Kenya has engaged more than 10 key tour operators from Uganda,” Ms Kanini says.

Kenya wants Ugandans to visit more than the regular sites. When I arrived at the Coast through Ukunda airport, a flight that took one hour and 20 minutes from Nairobi, we checked into the Swahili Beach Hotel near the airport.

The hotel can easily be mistaken for a traditional structure plucked out of the 18th century Arabic-cum-Indian epoch. The rooms give a feel of the life of sultans of yesteryears and the swimming pool stretches down to the beach.

On our fourth day, we drove 70km south, stopping at Shimoni in Kwale County. Here, we passed the slave caves, and boarded the Dolphin Dhow. We headed into the ocean, towards Wasini Islands, a land of 3,500 residents. The island sits on a coral reef with mangrove trees as vegetation.

In the middle of nowhere, we saw light blue water and our guide, Hamis Ali — a young man who speaks Arabic, German, French and Spanish in addition to English and Kiswahili and his local Digo language — told us we could swim. “What?” I asked. Here, he said, are beaches in the middle of the sea because of the coral reef that rises and it is gifted with sands like you find on the main beach. As we swam on a reef in the Indian Ocean, we could see the Tanzania mainland in the distance. Not far from where we were swimming, we saw three pairs of magnificent dolphins.

Our guide told us that the Digo, the small tribe on the island, look after the dolphins. “We don’t swim with dolphins but dolphins are allowed to swim with us,” he said.

It is here in the middle of nowhere — but feeling like I am living in paradise — that I looked around and the only Kenyans on board were the dhow captain, our two guides and KTB representatives. Down in the reef we saw all kinds of fish, and the corals which are soft unlike the rocky ones on the mainland. Ms Kanini could only ask, “do you see what Ugandans who end their trips in Mombasa miss?” She was right.

As the sun went down, we rushed back to Shimoni, but not before visiting Wasini Island. We walked through the coral park that is under the care of a women’s group on the island, where a wood bridge stretches through the mangrove forest and connects two villages. We were warned not to walk barefoot on the island because the corals were acidic.

At Shimoni, as darkness approached, we entered the historical slave caves from where those captured from the hinterland, as far as Uganda, were detained in a warehouse and shipped to faraway lands. That broke down my spirit but I appreciated it as part of East Africa’s history.

We later returned to Mombasa. As I signed out on Friday, the front desk manager at Sarova Whitesands told me that many Ugandans have spent nights at the hotel.

“And they know how to spend their money,” Jayne said.

Ms Kanini only wishes Ugandans who come for wedding and honeymoons at the Whitesands venture into places like Wasini and experience the marine parks.

With my flight only two hours away, I tell my friend on Facebook, “What travel advisories were you talking about?”

-Mike Ssegawa

Daily Nation

Paintings on the wall: Kenyan street-art graffiti culture

Not so long ago, several anonymous graffiti artists caused a great hullabaloo on the streets of Nairobi. Their mission, to mobilize Kenyans for change in last year’s general elections. The Ma-Vulture graffiti revolution hoped to encourage Kenyans to ditch politicians widely viewed as corrupt, ineffective and divisive.

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The political murals, all done in the dead of the night, painted Kenyan politicians as Vultures; describing the scandals that have engulfed Kenya and the political mischief practiced by Kenyan politicians among other shoe-pinching-political issues.

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Despite being popular in some Kenyan neighborhoods, graffiti culture has often not been appreciated by the public, viewing it as vandalism and a symbol of rebellion but this is slowly changing.  From featuring in small kiosks/shops and neighborhood walls, graffiti artists are now making a name for themselves doing bigger and better things.

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“Mathare Wall” by Bankslave

Along with the Ma-Vulture revolution was the Peace Train Project which yet again, saw graffiti artists come together in partnership with the Kibera Walls for Peace team to create a HUGE peace mural along the entire side of a 10-car commuter train which passes by Kibera. This project was especially vital as Kibera is where rioters tore up the train tracks during the 2007 post election violence. The artwork featured messages of peace for the upcoming election with the main phrase, “Tuwache Ukabila, Tuwache Ubaguzi, Tuishi Kwa Amani”

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Then there was the spray for change Project with Basco Paints. The manufacturer of Duracoat worked hand in hand with top Kenyan graffiti artists to create images of a New Kenya on ‘canvas’. The canvas, being the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, was an ideal backdrop to showcase a new Kenya to Kenyans from all walks of life, as well as international visitors. This project served to promote the artists, our country and the voice of a new generation to Kenyans and the world at large.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya 20Spray for change additionally, hoped to drive urban art to become a way of beautifying neighborhoods and a form of sustainable income generation for up and coming artists. Delivery trucks for Basco Paints were commissioned as canvases for these artists to showcase their work, creating “mobile” art galleries for Kenyans to experience.

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The artist that received the most votes for their New Kenya art piece, Swift9 walked away with a cash prize and paint for a community initiative of their selection, totaling Kshs 250,000.

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Swift9 (center) next t his winning piece of 800m Olympic champion, David Rudisha, with Basco Paints MD, Kamlesh Shah (right) and Head of Marketing, Altaf Jiwa (left)

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“Rudisha represents Kenya’s sports and athletics. Everybody rejoices when Kenya wins, no matter where you are in the country. It unites us.” Swift9

Swift9

painting on the wall zuru kenya swift9 My style is Urban Ethnikk.  I’ve been involved in numerous graffiti projects and workshops in Kenya and around the world.  I want to bring graffiti art to the mainstream audience in East Africa and the global graffiti community. My portfolio encompasses exhibitions and collaborations, group and live demos that I have been a part of locally and globally.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya swift9

painting on the wall zuru kenya swift9other renown Kenyan Graffiti artists include;

Tyso

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I learnt different art forms from watching art students when I was younger, but my true love for art was born at Words and Pictures (WAPI) when I touched on graffiti. With my high school deskmate J Kello, we formed our crew and the next thing we knew we won a prize for the best graffiti piece at WAPI. Since then doing graffiti and design became my livelihood.

painting on the wall zuru kenya tyso

painting on the wall zuru kenya tyso painting on the wall zuru kenya tyso painting on the wall zuru kenya tyso

Bankslave

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My preferred medium of expression is spray paint. As part of the Nairobi underground scene, I have done massive murals all over Nairobi. I’ve  collaborated with 60Nozzles, Gas Crew, Spray-Uzi (Kenya) and Ghetto-Pimps Crew (Germany). I just came from completing the Kibera train graffiti project where I painted the first graffiti on a train in Kenya, if not Eastern Africa.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

painting on the wall zuru kenya bankslave

Esen

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My style is 3D graffiti. My drive is to put the East African graffiti scene on the world map. I’m in one local and two international crews, 3WG (3rd World Graff) which I co-founded with my fellow crewmate Wise 2,  TPA (The Public Animals),  runs with SC (Silver Caps Worldwide) which started in Barcelona.

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Wise Two

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My art is a fusion of stencils, and psychedelic and African graffiti patterns. Through showcasing my art in various international exhibitions and events, I’m working to create awareness of the Kenyan graffiti art movement amongst the global graffiti community and play an integral part in bringing graffiti art to the mainstream East African audience.

painting on the wall zuru kenya wise2

painting on the wall zuru kenya wise2

painting on the wall zuru kenya wise2

painting on the wall zuru kenya wise2

painting on the wall zuru kenya wise2

Kerosh

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Graffiti has to be relevant, aesthetically appealing and full of content that is thought provoking .This form of art requires a very conscious mind, concrete research, daring charm and guts.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya kerosh

Shan

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I have worked and been a part of G.A.S- Graffiti Artists and I.C.G- Intense Cities Group. I’m part of a crew called Banditry Unlimited Customz (BUC) who deal with customizing items through art. Graffiti is the future of ART, and with avenues and platforms such as the one accorded by WAPI, its acceptance and growth as an art form is solely inevitable.

painting on the wall zuru kenya shan

painting on the wall zuru kenya shan

painting on the wall zuru kenya shan

Smokilah

painting on the wall zuru kenya smokilah

I’m a professional graffiti artist who specializes in mural art. I’m part of Spray Uzi, one of the most prolific graffiti Crews in Nairobi including members such as Swift9, Uhuru Brown and Bankslave. We are responsible for splashing Nairobi with beautiful graffiti Murals that you see all over. Currently, I’m stationed at Pawa254 Hub.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya smokilah

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painting on the wall zuru kenya smokilah

Uhuru B

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A mixed media and graphic artist, my name Uhuru means freedom and stands for (Upendo, Halisi, Undugu, Riziki, Utu) translated to “The importance of love and the brotherhood of our well-being“. My own story manifests confluence and the idea of people coming together as one. I promote messages of truth, emancipation, spirituality, and freedom through my art.

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painting on the wall zuru kenya uhuru

painting on the wall zuru kenya uhuru

painting on the wall zuru kenya uhuru

painting on the wall zuru kenya uhuru

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons graffiti is misunderstood as an art form is because it is often done illegally and the artists are often secretive about their real identities. In fact, getting a graffiti art trainer is not easy and one ‘has to know someone who knows some’ to reach them, as most of them do not use their real names to tag.

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Kenyan artists are using this expressive form of art as a medium to spread positive messages. Street art is about the message behind it. Its not about what they are doing but the point they are trying to bring across.

There will never be a stop to graffiti, it is an epidemic. Cannot be stopped. No matter what there is no cure.

“Street art is about the message behind it, it’s not about what they’re doing but about the point they’re trying to bring across,” – See more at: http://www.monthlymortonian.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/01/13/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/#sthash.BBA87y1n.dpuf

Still many think it is not criminal, but a way to spread a positive message.

“Street art is about the message behind it, it’s not about what they’re doing but about the point they’re trying to bring across,” senior Eddie Lopez said

Street art is a big thing in Chicago. Especially in the more urbanized areas like Pilsen, North and South sides. It is so popular because there are many communities who do support graffiti because it keeps the youth busy. They think of it as art.

“Street art brings out the culture in the community, it is beautiful if you ask me,” senior Alexander Herrera said

“Graffiti is art because art comes in many different perspectives, it’s awesome,” sophomore Ericka Bucio said

It’s free and it’s important.

“Graffiti is art because graffiti isn’t sold for millions of dollars, its out for everyone to see. It’s not in a gallery for certain people to notice and pay millions of dollars for it. Graffiti is free for everyone to see,” senior Kimberly Rodriguez said

Art comes in many different shapes and sizes. Art is what comes from one and expressed onto something else. “The art of being Art”

“Graffiti is too powerful, it cannot be stopped. Art can’t be stopped,” senior Eddie Lopez said.

The city does almost everything to stop graffiti but do we see any change? They can enforce laws and it might sleep for a while but graffiti will always find a way.

“There will never be a stop to graffiti, it is an epidemic. Cannot be stopped. No matter what there is no cure,” former Cicero graffiti writer Slite One said

Graffiti is seen as become to be intertwined with hip-hop culture and modern styles derived from New York city subway graffiti in the 1980’s and 90’s. It was on trains for everyone to see. “Train Bombing” it trended as. The meaning was “Bombing the system” they were rebellious. Eventually became a problem that New York was trying to avoid. Trains will be clean at the end of the day but at sunrise these trains were filled with colors again. The city never slept. Writers never gave up; they had to then take drastic measures. Graffiti on trains was dying. Graffiti on train carts would cost the city thousands of dollars to clean. Later they started protecting the train yards more.

“Having a different name gives you a feeling of freedom. You can say what you please and do what you want to do without anyone knowing who you are. You have a different identity. Like having a second life, some of us like our second life better,” former Cicero graffiti writer Slite One said

– See more at: http://www.monthlymortonian.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/01/13/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/#sthash.8tcOmD4g.dpuf

Still many think it is not criminal, but a way to spread a positive message.

“Street art is about the message behind it, it’s not about what they’re doing but about the point they’re trying to bring across,” senior Eddie Lopez said

Street art is a big thing in Chicago. Especially in the more urbanized areas like Pilsen, North and South sides. It is so popular because there are many communities who do support graffiti because it keeps the youth busy. They think of it as art.

“Street art brings out the culture in the community, it is beautiful if you ask me,” senior Alexander Herrera said

“Graffiti is art because art comes in many different perspectives, it’s awesome,” sophomore Ericka Bucio said

It’s free and it’s important.

“Graffiti is art because graffiti isn’t sold for millions of dollars, its out for everyone to see. It’s not in a gallery for certain people to notice and pay millions of dollars for it. Graffiti is free for everyone to see,” senior Kimberly Rodriguez said

Art comes in many different shapes and sizes. Art is what comes from one and expressed onto something else. “The art of being Art”

“Graffiti is too powerful, it cannot be stopped. Art can’t be stopped,” senior Eddie Lopez said.

The city does almost everything to stop graffiti but do we see any change? They can enforce laws and it might sleep for a while but graffiti will always find a way.

“There will never be a stop to graffiti, it is an epidemic. Cannot be stopped. No matter what there is no cure,” former Cicero graffiti writer Slite One said

Graffiti is seen as become to be intertwined with hip-hop culture and modern styles derived from New York city subway graffiti in the 1980’s and 90’s. It was on trains for everyone to see. “Train Bombing” it trended as. The meaning was “Bombing the system” they were rebellious. Eventually became a problem that New York was trying to avoid. Trains will be clean at the end of the day but at sunrise these trains were filled with colors again. The city never slept. Writers never gave up; they had to then take drastic measures. Graffiti on trains was dying. Graffiti on train carts would cost the city thousands of dollars to clean. Later they started protecting the train yards more.

“Having a different name gives you a feeling of freedom. You can say what you please and do what you want to do without anyone knowing who you are. You have a different identity. Like having a second life, some of us like our second life better,” former Cicero graffiti writer Slite One said

– See more at: http://www.monthlymortonian.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/01/13/graffiti-art-or-vandalism/#sthash.8tcOmD4g.dpuf

This year political activists have gone creative: etching their messages on walls, lamp posts and even roads. – See more at: http://www.internewskenya.org/article.php?id=267#sthash.ge8w1iq7.dpuf

Kenya at 50: Stunning photos celebrate country’s culture

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kenya celebrates its 50th year of independence from British rule
  • A photography competition celebrated the country’s heritage and history
  • Outstanding images show people or places with historical and cultural significance

Turning 50 is a major milestone in a person’s life — and a country’s history.

Kenya is celebrating  its Golden Jubilee year following 50 years of independence from British rule.

To commemorate the event, Nairobi-based photographer Mutua Matheka teamed up with Samsung  to launch Picha Hamsini, a photo contest celebrating the East African country’s heritage from past to present. They asked photography enthusiasts from across Kenya to submit images of people or places with historical and cultural significance and explain why these were relevant to them or the country.

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A photography competition is celebrating Kenya’s 50th year of independence from British rule.
Kelvin Shani said of his image capturing a sunset at the Rift Valley: “It was photographed at the viewpoint on the way to Mai Mahiu. I see it as a very welcoming picture showcasing the raw beauty of Kenya with its vast landscapes.”
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Peter Ndung’u said of his photo: “Every Kenyan can relate to a Maasai as being part of the Kenyan cultural groups and traditions. Local tourists and international tourists are familiar with them and their popular dance that involves high jumps. They, in my opinion, form a strong part of the culture of our national heritage.”
Ken Mwaura said: "Machakos Bus Station, also known as Masaku Airport, is one of the busiest and largest bus terminals in the country. The bus terminal has been passed down generations as a link for upcountry bound passengers traveling from Nairobi to other provinces in Kenya."
Ken Mwaura said: “Machakos Bus Station, also known as Masaku Airport, is one of the busiest and largest bus terminals in the country. The bus terminal has been passed down generations as a link for upcountry bound passengers traveling from Nairobi to other provinces in Kenya.”
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Photographer Abdul Mutuma said: “Like the mountain rises above the clouds, we have risen adversity and trials. We celebrate our heritage that is the beauty of our great country and the strength of women in society who are the hands that moulded us into who we are.”

“The goal of the contest was to see and show Kenya from the eyes of Kenyans,” says Matheka. “(To) use images to celebrate our country and get people involved in that celebration. We have a lot we are not happy about as a country, but I believe we also have a lot to celebrate and I feel photography is usually a tool to further and foster that.”

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Photographer George Kanyingi said: “Many times we have sat down around a fire and this lady had told us stories of how things were before, during and after independence. Her stories of how much things used to cost really intrigued us and I just wish she had a camera those days to capture all of it.”
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Sarah Maries said: “The famous tusks on Moi Avenue, Mombasa, are symbolic of entrance into the heart of Mombasa town. They were built to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth (II) to the town in 1952. Coincidentally they also spell M for Mombasa.”
The goal of the contest was to see and show Kenya from the eyes of Kenyans.
Mutua Matheka, photographer

The organizers received more than 2,000 images submitted via Facebook, Twitter and Istagram. In the end, the 25 best were selected and featured in a street exhibition in the center of the Kenyan capital, alongside some of Matheka’s photos.

Mutua Matheka says this image was: "Photographed inside the gorge at Hell's Gate National Park in Naivasha."
Mutua Matheka says this image was: “Photographed inside the gorge at Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha.”
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David Ndirangu said: “The Mwea Irrigation scheme is known as the largest producer of rice in the country.”
Sebastian Wanzalla said his photo showed: "Boatmen in a dhow heading home after collecting building stones from the neighboring island Manda next to Lamu Island."
Sebastian Wanzalla said his photo showed: “Boatmen in a dhow heading home after collecting building stones from the neighboring island Manda next to Lamu Island.”

“The images we received were fantastic,” says Matheka. “Some celebrated people, others celebrated our activities, others celebrated beautiful places,” he adds. “The winners were mostly amateur photographers.”

Mutua Matheka's photo showing "General Kago Street, looking up at the Eco bank towers."
Mutua Matheka’s photo showing “General Kago Street, looking up at the Eco bank towers.”
Boniface Mwangi said this photo showed: "The Kenyan flag flying high during the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution on August 26th 2010. It was a historic ceremony, thousands of Kenyan's gathered to witness the establishment of a new constitution."
Boniface Mwangi said this photo showed: “The Kenyan flag flying high during the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution on August 26th 2010. It was a historic ceremony, thousands of Kenyan’s gathered to witness the establishment of a new constitution.”

With celebrations underway across Kenya, many believe that this is also a time to look back and learn from the mistakes of the past.

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Sebastian Wanzalla said: “The Maasai are pastoralist and they have for centuries maintained their culture. And if you ask any foreigner anything about Kenya apart from our athletes and the wildlife the next thing they will mention is the Maasai people. They play a major role in the heritage of our country Kenya. Even the name Nairobi (meaning a place of cool waters) is a Maasai word.”

Matheka says the overriding message of the celebrations is that “we have moved quite a distance in democracy, value of life, ability to make a living in this country from 50 years back to now.”

Mwangi Kirubi said:' "Kenya's athletics team has always galvanized the nation behind our national colors. Whenever they take to the track, we forget our differences and remember we are one."
Mwangi Kirubi said:’ “Kenya’s athletics team has always galvanized the nation behind our national colors. Whenever they take to the track, we forget our differences and remember we are one.”
Peter Ndung'u said: "These people build homes, churches, schools and monumental sites and buildings. Yet most of us do not know how important they are in our lives and building our nation. Kenya is growing and it will grow with our collective effort."
Peter Ndung’u said: “These people build homes, churches, schools and monumental sites and buildings. Yet most of us do not know how important they are in our lives and building our nation. Kenya is growing and it will grow with our collective effort.”

He adds: “A lot has changed for the better and a lot has changed for the worse too. I celebrate the progress and keep track of it so that for the next 50 years we try to avert from the former mistakes and progress as a nation.”

-Teo Kermeliotis,

Source; CNN

Fashion High Tea 2014

A highlight for fashion enthusiasts, the Fashion High Tea is not only touted as one of the most glamorous fashion events in the country but is also the most anticipated annual charity event in Nairobi’s social calendar.

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Hosted by Zen Garden, these  events known to feature high-profile guests and personalities boast rave reviews on pizzazz, style and execution. This year’s Fashion High Tea held on Saturday 8th of this month was no different albeit bigger and better.

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The fourth edition, Fashion High Tea 2014 was a buzz with fashion, shopping and lots of socializing activity. Aside from the glamorous fashion show that featured top Fashion local and international Designers – Shenu Hooda, Kooroo by Hebret Lakew and Enid Lanez, Masaba, Njema Helena, DivaBag by Kenneth Chiaji, Suave by Simi Sethi, Mini Boutiques were at hand showcasing and selling an array of fashion garments, shoes, accessories and jewelry.

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As is the norm with this event, an elaborate High Tea Menu is not to be a miss. Zen created a lavish menu that included, Delicious Pastries, Muffins, Cupcakes & Cookies. There was also a Sushi Bar on Ice, Burger Stations, and Cheese Corners. Guests munched on savory selections  passed around while they mingled. The Beverage Bars at the event are also always a treat…there was unlimited Cocktails, Beer, Spirits, Wines, Soft Drinks, Tea and Coffee throughout the event.

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Just like previous editions, this year’s event was also for a worthy cause…Fashion High Tea 2014 was in support of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero campaign launched to raise funds for purchase and deployment of mobile clinics across the country in order to provide better prenatal, delivery and postnatal services to the underprivileged.

For further information on the campaign: Beyond Zero

Some of the Showcased Designs (source; Replay254):

Njema Helena by Cecilia Ostman & Annika Ostman, whose collection dresses the young and daring as well as the classic and timeless brought together vibrant prints and bright colors of African fabrics.

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Divabag by Kenneth Chiaji was a beautiful fashion-utility first for the Zen Catwalk. This handbag-only collection featured chic and functional designer-inspired handbags perfect for any occasion; made from high quality genuine leather with creative design work patterns on them.

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Suave by simi sethi which is just but a year old strutted fashionable pieces unique to her personality while catering for the 21st century woman.

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Shenu Hooda whose exclusive designs comprised of semi-formal and bridal outfits that drew inspiration from both Pakistani and Kenyan prints, brought out an amazing colorful touch on the runway. She has an amazing upcoming fashion portfolio having recently showcased her work both at the Kenya and Tanzania Swahili Fashion Week not forgetting previously featuring in various several private shows.

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Kooroo was one brand that really wowed the crowd with their unique pieces. Their collection’s inspiration was drawn from Africa’s rich cultural lifestyles integrating African prints, silks, jerseys, cotton and linens to create pieces with exceptional global appeal. One unique touch on the Kooroo collection was the exquisite usage of original craftwork i.e beading and embroidery used to embellish simple silhouettes on the pieces.

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Also on the runway was Masaba by Masaba Gupta whose designs encompassed vibrant colors fused with beautiful patchwork grafted from Indian ensembles offering the Indian consumer, Indian fusion wear that’s edgy yet rooted to its culture at affordable prices. She has even designed outfits for Bollywood actresses i.e. Sonam Kapoor, Kareeena Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez.

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aadc901916b291b054624e88cb7c4c5e_originalMasaba’s designs

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Masaba Gupta, Fashion designer

The Fashion High Tea dress code was highly respected and perfected having been associated with elegance and sophistication. Ladies adorned big hats and sundresses – although the weather didn’t behave so well, whereas the gentlemen were in slim-fit suits and well-tailored custom outfits.

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With so much glamour and pizazz, The Fashion High Tea is truly an event in a league of its own.

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KissFm, XFM, Couture Africa, Eat Out, Heineken, Slater & Whittaker, Prosecco Blu, KWV Wines, BullDog Gins, Campari, Dewars Whisky, Nomadic Tents, Majestic Printers, Executive Water, Mi-Fone, Mi-Card, Roc Nation, The Berry Company, Subati Flowers & Suzie Beauty are among the sponsors that support the event.

Photos courtesy: Zen Garden, Nick Klaus

 

Designer Boutiques include:
Masaba (International – India) – also on the catwalk
Kastur Jewels (International – London/India)
Pink Savannah – (Kenya)
Njema Helena (Kenya) – also on the catwalk
Sangsang Fashion House (Kenya)
Suave (Kenya/India) – also on the catwalk
Kooroo (Kenya) – also on the catwalk
Neha  (Kenya)
House of Hadassah (Kenya)
Lali Heath Millinery (East Africa)
Zuri Beauty (Kenya)
The Amazing Bazaar (Kenya)
Tara Jewels of Tibet (Kenya)

– See more at: http://lifestylespread.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post.html#sthash.7mfPaF0B.dpuf

The High Tea dress code
High tea gatherings dress code has historically been associated with elegance and sophistication. Back then, it was compulsory for high society ladies to wear dresses, gloves, hats and gentlemen had to wear jackets and a tie. They are requesting the ladies to come wearing big hats and sundresses. Gentlemen will be requested to come in Jackets.

– See more at: http://lifestylespread.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post.html#sthash.7mfPaF0B.dpuf

The 2014 High Tea, promises to raise the bar even further. The Runway setup is going to be unique, with intimate table seating for all the guests to enjoy. They will be sourcing gorgeous models showcasing unique collections from local and international designers.
As usual, Zen will be creating an elaborate High Tea Menu. The lavish menu will include, Delicious Pastries, Muffins, Cupcakes & Cookies. There will also be a Sushi Bar on Ice, Burger Stations, Cheese Corners and Savory Selections being passed around while the guests mingle.
The Beverage Bars are always a treat, as there will be unlimited Cocktails, Spirits, Wines, Soft Drinks, Tea and Coffee throughout the event.

– See more at: http://lifestylespread.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post.html#sthash.7mfPaF0B.dpuf

The annual Fashion High Tea event is hosted to support various charitable causes. The 2011 High Tea event raised money for the women in Pumwani Maternity Hospital and in 2012 they raised money for children suffering from cancer at Kenyatta Hospital. Last year they raised money for Therapies for Kids, Funds were raised for full therapeutic care for children with special needs for a defined period of time. – See more at: http://lifestylespread.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post.html#sthash.7mfPaF0B.dpuf
Zen Garden will be hosting its annual most fashionable 4th FASHION HIGH TEA celebrating Haute Couture in Kenya on Saturday 8th February 2014 from 2:00pm – 8:00pm.
The previous three Fashion High Tea events boast rave reviews on pizzazz, style and execution. We’ve had sell-out crowds consisting of high profile guests and personalities. The events have received extensive media coverage both locally and abroad.
Their 2014 Sponsors are:
KISS FM, XFM, Couture Africa, Eat Out, Heineken, BullDog Gin, Campari, Dewars Whisky, Slater & Whittaker, Prosecco Blu, KWV Wines, Nomadic Tents, Majestic Printers, Executive Water, Mi-Fone, Subati Flowers & Suzie Beauty
Love for a Cause
The annual Fashion High Tea event is hosted to support various charitable causes. The 2011 High Tea event raised money for the women in Pumwani Maternity Hospital and in 2012 they raised money for children suffering from cancer at Kenyatta Hospital. Last year they raised money for Therapies for Kids, Funds were raised for full therapeutic care for children with special needs for a defined period of time.
What to expect this year
The 2014 High Tea, promises to raise the bar even further. The Runway setup is going to be unique, with intimate table seating for all the guests to enjoy. They will be sourcing gorgeous models showcasing unique collections from local and international designers.
As usual, Zen will be creating an elaborate High Tea Menu. The lavish menu will include, Delicious Pastries, Muffins, Cupcakes & Cookies. There will also be a Sushi Bar on Ice, Burger Stations, Cheese Corners and Savory Selections being passed around while the guests mingle.
The Beverage Bars are always a treat, as there will be unlimited Cocktails, Spirits, Wines, Soft Drinks, Tea and Coffee throughout the event.
 
Fashion High Tea 2014 Beverage Bars:
THE AMAZING BULL DOG GIN & CAMPARI BAR
Sip on BullDog Gin & Campari Cocktails all afternoon
CHILL AT THE DEWARS WHISKY BAR
Enjoy Dewars Whisky Cocktails!
PROSECCO BLU BAR
This is going to be the ladies Sparkling Heaven!  
KWV WINES & BRANDY BAR
Enjoy Brandy cocktails & exquisite red and white wines
HEINEKEN MENS LOUNGE
This is the place to be & be seen!!!
EXECUTIVE WATER BAR – Hydration Lounge
Even their water at High Tea is Chic & Fashionable! Enjoy Executive water & soft drinks at this super cool Hydration Lounge.
 
As well as a glamorous fashion show from top Fashion Designers, there will be Mini Boutiques at the venue showcasing and selling an array of fashion garments, shoes, accessories and jewelry. They have an amazing line up of local and international designers this year.
Designer Boutiques include:
Masaba (International – India) – also on the catwalk
Kastur Jewels (International – London/India)
Pink Savannah – (Kenya)
Njema Helena (Kenya) – also on the catwalk
Sangsang Fashion House (Kenya)
Suave (Kenya/India) – also on the catwalk
Kooroo (Kenya) – also on the catwalk
Neha  (Kenya)
House of Hadassah (Kenya)
Lali Heath Millinery (East Africa)
Zuri Beauty (Kenya)
The Amazing Bazaar (Kenya)
Tara Jewels of Tibet (Kenya)
**
The Fashion High Tea 2013 Production Team
Shivani Radia – MD Zen Garden & Fashion High Tea Proprietor
Payal Radia – MD Zen Garden & Fashion High Tea Proprietor
Dorothy Oliech– Model Casting & Fashion Show Choreographer
Smita Radia – Fashion High Tea Creative Director
Reema Patel – Fashion High Tea Graphic Designer
**
Check out previous High Tea Event Details
The High Tea dress code
High tea gatherings dress code has historically been associated with elegance and sophistication. Back then, it was compulsory for high society ladies to wear dresses, gloves, hats and gentlemen had to wear jackets and a tie. They are requesting the ladies to come wearing big hats and sundresses. Gentlemen will be requested to come in Jackets.
Ticket Information
Advance Tickets to attend the event cost 5500ksh/per head (Inclusive of ALL food, drinks, entertainment & fashion show)
Tickets at the door to attend the event cost 6000ksh/ per head (Inclusive of ALL food, drinks, entertainment & fashion show)
 Advance Tickets available from Zen Garden. They will also be able to deliver tickets (minimum 5)
Following their sell-out show, tickets will be limited due to capacity and sold on a first come first serve basis.

– See more at: http://lifestylespread.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post.html#sthash.1xXb1t3t.dpuf