Tag Archives: LAMU

BLONDEVOYAGE!

my *new* travel blog!

i am *so* excited to share my new travel blog BLONDEVOYAGE – which will chronicle my adventures for the next few months, while i’m based off the coast of kenya, in the village of shela, on lamu island!

i leave in just a few hours (woo!) and won’t arrive on the island until tuesday afternoon (!!), where i will be greeted with sunshine, white sails, and the gorgeous smiling faces of the people who live there! for the next three months i will have the privilege of calling this beautiful island my home…i am so looking forward to relishing in the simplicity of village life. along with photographing an amazing wedding on the island at the end of the month, im looking forward to spending the next few weeks focusing on writing (my first love) and photography (my passion) in this incredible environment. in all my travels around the world this is the *first* time i have ever returned to a place i have traveled previously! my plan is to update BLONDEVOYAGE often with news, stories, and photos — so stay tuned!

also, i *just* posted FIVE blogs from my travels to this very place earlier this year, so if you are curious as to where i’ll be, what i’ll be doing, and why i absolutely love this island so much, check it out!

enjoy!

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lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * *

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lamu :: shela village.


a dhow rests on a sandbar just off the coast of shela beach, lamu island, kenya.

the lamu archipelago lies two degrees south of the equator, just off the coast of kenya, surrounded by the indian ocean, yet protected by coral reefs and mangrove forests. lamu is the main island in the chain, and is both a UNESCO world heritage site and the oldest living town in kenya. lamu town was one of east africa’s original swahili settlements, and a bustling port city on the arab trading routes. there is a well-preserved swahili culture and a strong religious community. shela village, just a few miles from lamu town, is the second largest settlement on the island, and in stark contrast to lamu town — with stretches of sandy beach, white-washed houses, and relaxed atmosphere. dhows and fishing boats rest along the shore line and donkeys meander through the narrow streets. there are no cars on the island, and a generator supplies power (most of the time) and it’s pretty much always hot and sunny, and the water is always clear and cool. for me, and for many who visit this beautiful island, shela is a perfect, and unexpected paradise.

* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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lamu :: maulidi.


maulidi celebrations in lamu town, lamu island, kenya.

maulidi is a religious festival and annual celebration held in lamu during the third month of the muslim calendar to commemorate the birth of the prophet mohammed. this year marked the 121st celebration on the island, which attracts faithful celebrants from all over east africa and the middle east, as well as tourists from around the world.

maulidi is lamu’s unique and purely east african version of the religious festival, milad-un-nabi. centered around religious celebrations and the riyadha mosque, the festivities last for several days, featuring an array of cultural activities throughout town. there is elaborate drumming and dancing, and competitions that honor traditional culture — bao games, dhow races, swimming competition, and the donkey race, as well as poetry and embroidery. the festival is a source of great pride for the entire community, and the festivities truly ignite the island with excitement. it is amazing to witness such appreciation and devotion from such a united and connected community.

on the last day of maulidi, all of the men of gather at the town cemetery to pray and begin a procession into town. the procession is unreal — endless rows of men in white kanzu and kofia march through the streets, holding hands and dancing and singing in loud celebration. they move along the seafront towards the centre of town, accompanied by drums, and greeted by throngs of people on every corner. i wandered through the streets looking for a good spot, and was welcomed into a doorway on one of the good corners, which gave me a perfect view as they moved from the dock and into the streets of town. rose water is poured and splashed on everyone, including bystanders, and at the end i was completely drenched in the sweet smell, my ears ringing with the sounds of their singing, and absolutely in love with maulidi.

* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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lamu :: shela primary school.


school children at shela primary on lamu island, working with polaroid film.

ive said it before, and ill say it again — i love polaroid cameras!

i absolutely love working with children, and while they are always very excited to learn about photography and love to have their photo taken, nothing beats the added joy of instant gratification with polaroid film! they loved posing, helping set up shots, and then handling and shaking the prints while they exposed right before their eyes. after every child had a photograph, they went back to the classroom and placed the photos in their notebooks, writing sentances in english describing where they were and what they were doing in the photograph  — love! i spent most of my time with the first graders who were so energetic and eager to learn and talk with me. at times they were totally giddy, but their teacher — the amazing miss grace — handled them perfectly, firm but kind, and with breaks for recess :) it was a wonderful experience, and i cant wait to see them again next week! enjoy!

* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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lamu :: dhow races.


lamu dhow racing, maulidi 2010.

lamu island is renowned for its annual dhow races which occur during major festivals and celebrations throughout the year. earlier this year, during maulidi – the multi-day celebration of the prophet’s birthday – i was fortunate to be on the island during the races and aboard the magnificent dhow felice chasing the racing dhows! it was exhilarating to watch the dhows tack back and forth through the channel, and crazy when one capsized — there are so many men on the boats, it’s amazingly controlled chaos!



* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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kikoy.


lamu town dressmaker stitching a kikoy – lamu island, kenya.

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shela on my mind.

when i close my eyes i am still…


…sailing past the mangroves aboard felice.


…approaching the village of shela, lamu island.


….watching the dhows glide through the water.


…looking up at the rooftops in the village.


…watching the sun set on the indian ocean.

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Filed under africa, POLAROID, travel