Faces of Kenya
I just returned from a trip to Kenya. My main goal was simply to get away from it all and relax at Diani Beach.
I got to know Richard. Richard works at the beach and sells the typical wooden figurines, necklaces, etc. At first appearance he is one of the slightly annoying guys trying to make you stop and buy stuff your hotel guide suggests you to avoid.
During my stay I met Richard more often, and he started to explain to me the way he lives and how much he depends on tourists buying his stuff. One day he asked me if I could come to his house and take pictures of his family. I agreed, and visited his little village near Ukunda.
This is Richard and his wife. They live in this single room together with two children. No water, no electricity.
This is his son who just came home from school.
Very quickly other villagers, mostly kids, joined. Everyone was very friendly and invited to enter.
We went outside the building, in which several of such rooms are rented to families.
More and more kids joined.
I promised Richard to send him the printed pictures and we left his village again to return to the hotel – my luxurious residence, and his daily workplace. At the end I was very happy to have agreed in leaving my secure environment. Even though these people live under these very simple circumstances, they somehow did not appear as poor. The atmosphere was very hearty and welcoming. His wife told me that she would like to work, too, but they do not have the money needed to open a little shop located opposite to their building. Around 300€ are needed to get started here, way too much. And Richard can only work during the summer, when tourists are around. The rest of the year he and his family have to return to Nairobi, where finding work is much harder. That is why they must also save money for the winter.
Next time when someone wants to sell me something at the beach I will remember Richard and his family. And maybe buy one of these overpriced wooden figurines, again.
See the full set of pictures here: