Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kenya: Chapter 1 (and some big news!)

Last year, I was reading one of Cjane's blog posts as I so relish doing in the mornings. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest when I read one particular morning that she was to be making a journey to Africa with Basa Body.

"TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!" I swiftly typed into the comments section next to 334 others with the same plea.

I'm not sure how it all went down after that, but I do remember a phone call where I begged one more time.

"Let me see what I can do," the Ceej replied.

Really? She's actually going to see if Basa Body would let me tag along? I wished hopefully, not ever really thinking she would take me seriously. But in my past experience, Cjane has proven to be a grantor of many wishes for me, so why should I have been surprised at her generosity? I do love that girl. Anyhoo, it seemed that months had passed until I heard from her again on the subject. I received an unexpected call from her one afternoon. She explained that Basa Body was going to Kenya in August 2011 and she didn't feel right about going because she and Chup were feeling it was time to try for a baby again.

"Would you be interested in going in my place?" she queried.

YES. YES. YESSSSS!!!! My joy could not be contained.

Not more than a few weeks later, I was very surprised to find out that I was actually expecting a baby myself; a baby that was due in August 2011. With mixed feelings, I called Cjane to tell her that I could not go to Kenya anymore. BUT, by some great fortune, Basa Body changed the trip to April 2011 and invited us to both come. Once more, my joy could not be contained.

THEN, Cjane found out that she too was expecting. She had been very sick and I believe that she still is, the poor dear. You will send a prayer her way, won't you? So, sadly, she is not here with me now. But I am thinking of her and want to express my gratitude towards her and her wish-granting ways. Hence, although I still don't fully comprehend how or why I was chosen to come on this trip, I can definitely trace much of it back to my dear friend. Thank you, Courtney!

So, without further ado, I'll give you my first day here in pictures. Tomorrow, I'll tell you about these sensational people and what I am learning from them (with new and improved pictures!).

P.S. When this trip is through, I will be exactly 6 months along.

P.P.S. If you are reading my posts, then Basa Body would like to offer you 10% off on any purchase that you make with them online. The redemption code is : mindy. If you live in Utah County, you can buy their products only through Cherry Lane Boutique on 500 N. and University Ave. in Provo. Tell them I sent you. Trust me, you will die for their lotion and you will feel good knowing that your money goes towards providing the people here with sustainable jobs, not just a one time hand-out.

Mombasa, Kenya, Day 1

My morning walk on Diani Beach where I observed fishermen casting their nets and collecting mussels in the tide pools. (Side note: I ventured out into a wasteland of seaweed, washed up on the shore that I somehow got stuck in. Yes, I walked through rotten seaweed up to my knees for 200 yards. Don't ask me how.)

Played with the children of the workers at Shamba La Salama.

This is Clinton. Too bad I didn't get a shot of his brother, Nixon. Honest.

Visiting the Coast Coconut Farms factory where the coconuts are pressed into oil.

A woman cuts open the coconuts with her machete.

The coconuts are pressed into 100% organic, virgin coconut oil and stored in drums.

We visited some of the homes of the factory workers and met their families. Meet Monaisha and her new baby. Isn't she gorgeous?

A typical home of a villager. The interior is dark (no light, no plumbing, no water) with dirt floors. Seeing the way these people live and observing how loving and happy they are makes me question whether or not it matters that they go without the creature comforts I have come to expect in my life.

A village woman weaving a mat.

The lovely Page Checketts, walks with the village grandmother. Page is ready to give up everything and transport her family here to live in the village.

Page and I have had many discussions on whether or not people from developed countries are helping or harming these villagers by bringing "relief" to the people here. They seem so incredibly happy. While I think that providing clean water, education, jobs and some basic health care needs are valuable, most everything else seems unnecessary. More on this tomorrow. I'm curious as to what you think . . .

Kwaherini! (Goodbye, everyone!).


  1. First, CONGRATS MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited for you and this newest little songbird you are cooking ;)

    Second, I love that you are there, right now.

    Third - I think that giving people education, and ways to be healthy is a very good thing. I also think that helping them to get their products into the hands of many ultimately helps them. So, I think that we can help villagers by bringing their issues to the forefront. But, I think it becomes a hindrance when we try to make them a more developed society like our own. Does that make sense?

  2. Congratulations on your expected new little one! I have to tell you that if you/someone you know has eczema issues (and no coconut allergies!) The coconut oil stick is the way to go. Have fun and I can't wait to live vicariously through you in the next posts! ;)

  3. Congrats!!! :o) Love the photos!

  4. Oh, Mindy - congratulations on the new little one you're growing! And I am looking forward to reading more posts about your trip.

  5. Congratulations! Beautiful photos & such an awesome trip. These days, I would like to leave all of the extraneous stuff behind & live simply, and happily, like these folks seem to be doing. Thanks so much for sharing...

  6. Finally! Now I don't feel like I'm going to let your cat out of the bag accidentally! And can I just say again how fun it is that you're going to have another babe?

    And keep these Africa pictures/posts comin' ... I'm loving it. :)


  7. Congratulations on the baby! I'm due in July...which I know is totally irrelevant to the coolness of the fact that you have managed to NOT have any belly pictures yet. How ever did you keep this a secret? I'm due in July and have been as big as a house forever! Have so much fun. This could definitely explain some of the swelling you posted on your facebook. Perhaps you should have your bloodpressure and urine protein levels checked to be on the safe side. And have your husband rub rub rub your hands and feet!

  8. oh and I should reply...going to a lot of third world countries as well, I have the same conflicted feeling regarding potential harm or good. It is such a balance and who knows which way is right? And each place is so different from the next as well...

    I went to Kathmandu during their festival of lights, had a dinner "feast" with the locals and experienced poverty in a way so different from Egypt or Bali - it devastated me and all at once made me so grateful of what I had...and of my own ability to help. Suddenly it didn't seem like I could do enough...but what was really enough? What was/is appropriate? What help is REALLY needed or wanted? I'm definitely interested in somehow making a difference and I know lots of people who have/do and I have contributed in ways that I feel comfortable...but I never ever know if it was the right thing. It is an intriguing question and there really isn't a simple answer, is there?

  9. This is amazing!! I am so glad that you and page are experiencing this most wonderful journey together!! And congrats on the baby!!! so excited for you!!! lots of luv
    Tifani Cluff

  10. I am so happy that you got to go and help the women there. I think teaching basic health and providing a way for people to sustain themselves could never do harm. You are serving as Christ would want you to serve. Wish I was there.

  11. Yea! I'm so happy that you got to go - and super excited that you've "offically" announced your pregnancy!
    I think what you're doing is a wonderful, Christ-like contribution to our brothers and sisters in Africa. I agree that there is a point when "help" becomes hindrance when we try to strip people of their native (primitive) ways and "modernize" their society - THAT is a problem.

    Enjoy this experience!

  12. Wow! Congratulations on the new little one on the way! That is exciting! I hope you are feeling well - especially while traveling!

    As far as what help is actually helpful: I agree with you that helping with some basic necessities, and education that will help them to improve their lives in ways that THEY want, and not necessarily in the ways that we might think they "should". What an incredible opportunity - I've always wanted to go to Africa! Enjoy this time!

  13. CONGRATULATIONS!! I had to go back and re-read it a few times to make sure I got things right! How exciting!
    What an amazing journey you are on! (Both your new little one and they actual trip you are experiencing right now!)

  14. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos with us so we can enjoy your journey! And can you explain to me how you do NOT look pregnant:)? Congrats!...You know, your tender "Hourglass" song makes me tear up every time I listen. My youngest is almost 12 (and she is a big fan of yours.) They do indeed grow up too fast. Enjoy these lovely years.(We are very excited that you are singing at the Rooftop Concert Series.)

  15. Amazing, mindy! I'm thrilled and envious and inspired. Happiness is so misunderstood by most. I'm anxious to learn the wisdom you glean from these happy people! I'm sure you've got lyrics dancing in your head from these experiences, can't wait!!!

  16. Enhorabuena mi amor!!!! I´m sooo happy! and soooo proud of you! Have an amazing time, give lots of kisses to all those little angels you´re coming across. I agree with you, if they´re happy the way they are we should just let them be, its just so hard for us to imagine living without basic needs like water plumbing and electricity...we, the developed world have sooooooo much to learn from them!!!
    Un beso gigante, cuidaros tu and your angel in your belly!!!

    Maria Coloma

  17. I am currently taking an Organizations and Social Change class here at USU and we talked about that very thing the other day; how helping people really can be hindering them. We discussed that most people want to go in and change every; for example, we want to get children out of working in factories... but we don't realize that a family may only be surviving because that child is working. We decided that it is best to go in and make sure the working conditions are safe and fair and let the child keep working instead of shutting down the factory and letting the children loose into the streets where they can get into who-knows-what kind of trouble, and losing all stable income for their family. In your case however, you're not trying to change how people are living in Kenya... so I think it is a fabulous cause!!!

  18. Congratulations on the new baby!

    I'm glad the scheduling worked out so you could go. I'm sure it's an amazing experience and can't wait to read more!

  19. Considering that you are a musician, you should have them sing for you. It is breath taking and pure.

  20. Congrats on your news that you're expecting!! That is WONDERFUL! Looks like you are having the trip of a lifetime! Love all your pictures! xoxo

  21. Beautiful and amazing! Thanks for sharing. :)
    Congratulations beautiful Mommy!!!

  22. What an amazing opportunity. It's a very fine line of improving one's life and completely changing the way they have done things for thousands of years. If it improves their health and living conditions and they are willing to try it, then great. Congratulations on the new baby!!!!!!

  23. oh congrats!!! that is so exciting!

    and how about I "swiftly say" TAKE ME WITH YOU! for next time? ;) tee hee hee

    maybe I girl can be so lucky :)