Conde Nast Traveler Dream Trip

22 09 2009


Earlier this year I started receiving issues of the Conde Nast Traveler.  I had never subscribed to the magazine, nor do I know of anyone who has subscribed for me.  Its monthly arrival is still a mystery to me, but it has become my favorite magazine of all time (yes, even better than Metropolis, my ex-favorite).

July’s edition featured a Dream Trip competition.  $25,000 for five nights in Sardinia, why not?  So… I set the magazine aside and jotted down “send the Kenyan homie photo to Conde Naste” on my to-do list.  I tried to upload my photo to the website this evening, but the ten finalists have already been selected.  Boo hoo!  There goes my $25,000 dream vacation.

To see the finalists’ photographs, CLICK HERE!



18 09 2009

I woke up this morning and realized that my room looked like a Kenyan shrine!  I have a purple Khanga hanging on my wall, a mahogany carved elephant on my armoire, a safari painting on my shelf, and a giraffe bookstands holding my African themed books.

I miss Africa… and so I plugged in my external and browsed though 1000 pictures and a couple hundred videos.  Here are a few that I have FINALLY found the time to upload…  I leave for Ohio tomorrow morning to visit an underground home with my friend and colleague Hillary.  If I’m not too exhausted when I get back, I’ll post some of my most memorable photographs.

A Day in the Slums of Mombasa

15 07 2009

Today we visited the slums of Bangladesh, Mombasa.  We played with the children and kept them occupied as the adults got tested for HIV/AIDS. 


Our friend Jose took us on a tour through the narrow streets of the slum.  We were told that we would find a breathtaking suprise at the end of our tour.


We came across this… A little boy taking a bath outside of his home with just a bucket of water and a sponge in his hand.  He obviously didn’t mind me taking a picture.


We reached the end of our tour and were taken aback by the most beautiful view of the island of Mombasa, right from the slums of Bangladesh.



I absolutely love Kenya.

HIV/AIDS has no Cure

13 07 2009

Today was our first working day at the Child Development Center, a primary school in Kilifi, which is about 45 minutes away from our hotel in Mombasa, Kenya.


We are trying to accomplish two main goals by the end of our three-week volunteer program: construct a dining hall, kitchen and storeroom (that’s one goal) and teach a few classes that are not offered in the student’s primary education cirriculum (like art and first aid).

I was deeply moved by a student’s response to the first assignment I distributed in class.

To get to know the students a little better (and get a feel for their artistic abilities), I asked each one of them to complete the following sentence “When I grow up I want to be a…” followed by a quick sketch of themselves.  Doctors, pilots, teachers and drivers were amongst the most common career choices. 

This is one student’s elaborated response on her career choice:

“When I grow up, I would like to be a doctor, so that I can come and help other people in treatement when they are in troubles.  Or maybe they are sick some suffer from malaria, cholora and HIV/AIDS.  By the way, I will just be helping them with HIV drugs for some days, but HIV/AIDS has no cure.”


1 07 2009

The youth leader for K4K, would be proud to know that I took my Malaria pill at 8PM sharp, as ordered.  He would not be proud to know that I didn’t follow directions and downed it with a tall iced Chai from Starbucks.  I’m feeling a little sick.  If only  I had taken the warning on the translucent orange bottle a little more seriously.

I leave early tomorrow morning.  I’m so excited and a little bit nervous and am finding it really hard to stay focused.  It’s times like this that I have to create a checklist, or I’d seriously loose my mind.

A good book, or two, for the long flight to Kenya.  Check.

My Moleskine, a.k.a. “most favored white people journal”.  Check.

My funky, yet comfortable All Star shoes.  Check.

A grip of crisp white socks.  Check.

6 packs of mini hand sanitizers.  Check.

A sexy hardhat for construction.  Check.

Teaching material and lots of brilliant ideas for a creative writing class.  Check.

Passport, I-20 and I-94.  Check, check and check!

…and the most important of all necessities…

A big heart.  Check.

Custom Carpet and Water Purifiers

24 06 2009

The Masland Carpet representative came into our office this afternoon to drop off a custom sample I had requested for a Mexican restaurant remodel that I’m working on.  Our conversation drifted from types of carpet construction to bosses to “milking cows” – Dana’s type of cow – and I started rambling about my trip to Kenya, AGAIN!  I think I’m starting to annoy myself, really!  Anyway, we talked about Safari’s, which somehow lead to game hunting and trekking, and he suggested that I buy this nifty, and undeniably phallic looking device. 

It’s a portable water purifier that destroys waterborne microbes using an ultraviolet tube light.  Not quite as impressive as the LifeStraw, but good enough for hotel tap water I guess.


SteriPEN® is the only portable water purifier that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy waterborne microbes.Whether your source is a woodland brook or an overseas hotel tap, SteriPEN purifies clear water by destroying viruses, bacteria and protozoa—including Giardia and Cryptosporidium—in seconds. Carry a SteriPEN to disinfect water wherever you travel, hike, camp or trek. It’s the fastest route to pure, safe drinking water anywhere.

“Stop Milking this Cow!”

23 06 2009

In 9 days I’m going to board Phoenix and fly to London (via Toronto), hangout at Heathrow for 8 hours and anxiously wait for my flight to Mombasa (via Nairobi).  Yes, I’ll be in 3 continents in 1 day!  I can hardly contain my excitement… 

Preparing for this trip has been stressful, to say the least.  I guess I’m just used to Baba’s well planned summer vacations.  I’m also used to Kuwait’s free vaccinations and being able to ask Joe to drop off my passport at the Kenyan Consulate.  Here, there is no easy way out – I’ve got to do all the work, and pay for it too.

But I’m not complaining because I have had the honor to be surrounded by the most beautiful people on this planet.  Living through my first year of financial (and emotional) independence has taken a toll on me, but good friends and family have lessened the burden and opened my eyes to the kindness and unselfishness that continues to live in this cruel and nasty world.  When I’m sitting in my ten story office building overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, pushing papers to try to get the construction team to complete the Love Lina Orphanage Center in Malawi on schedule, I will look back and think of three people who have made it possible.  Airabin, Anna and Sal might not realize the impact of their generosity, but I treasure it and will forever be grateful.

I’m coming to the end of my post and you are probably wondering who’s cow I’m milking.  I was in Vegas this past weekend, visiting my cousins Dana and Ahmed, when Dana (with a little help from Fuzzy Navel and Scooby Snack) told me to stop milking this cow – the cow being my trip to Kenya with K4K (Kuwait for Kenya).  I guess I do talk about it quite a bit, and I’m sure it gets very annoying, but I’m excited and I can’t help it!  Dana then began to refer to her charitable trip to Costa Rica as C4C, Crack Heads for Costa Rica.  Good times, good times…

Stay posted… I will be documenting my adventures very soon.

Peace. Love. Hapiness.