The indomitable spirit of Kenyan women and the irrepressible joy of the children

Posted in John's Musings by john
Tea picking, Kakamega forest, Kenya

Tea picking, Kakamega forest, Kenya


Winnowing corn, (maize), Luhya woman, Kakamega forest, Kenya

When I traveled to some of the poorer parts of Kenya for the first time recently, I was immediately overwhelmed by the problems people face when compared to the lifestyle many of us lead in the developed world: poverty, lack of properKibera, Africa's largest slum, near Nairobi, Kenya

sanitation and housing, rampant alcohol abuse, horrendous driving conditions… the list goes on. It was hard for me to put a positive spin on my experiences at first. After the dust of my initial impressions settled, I clearly saw two almost universal beacons of goodness: the hard-working, spirited nature of the women and the constant playful joy of the children. At Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, I saw women carry their children with a palpable dignity that shone above the squalor of their surroundings. In the country, women carried massive logs, to be used for firewood, on their heads for miles. Others picked tea until their hands turned green.That was only part of their day. There were still the children, the cooking, tending the crops and an unlimited number of other chores that awaited them at home. The mothers did their best for their families, but despite heroic efforts the children were often poorly clothed and hungry. Yet these same children were almost always smiling, laughing playing and always ready for fun. Many that I encountered had never seen a mzungu, (white man), before, so I would often start chasing them, monster-style, to the sound of uproarious laughter!

I loved photographing the women and children of Kenya and I hope that their goodness shines through in my photos.