Winter Holidays in Africa: Family, Soccer and Surprise on the Beach

My family and I just got back from visiting relatives in Kenya during the Christmas break. We had a great holiday but it’s also good to be back in Vancouver!

The Kenyan side of my family is relatively new to us. I found my biological father and relatives there only about 7 years ago. Since then we have kept in touch, and this trip was our third visit to Kenya as a family of four — myself, my husband and two sons. Each time we go back we get to meet more family members.

Meet-the-FamilyAbove: Meet my family in Kenya.

This portrait is of my father’s side of the family. These are all cousins, aunts and uncles who are all descendants of my great-great-grandfather.

Our Kenyan relatives had a big lunch to welcome us into the family. They are of the Luo tribe, the same tribe as Barack Obama’s father. It turns out that my father actually knew Barack Senior at school!

They all speak Luo as their main language. Although we didn’t understand alot of the conversations, we knew they were very happy to welcome us into the family.

Delivering-Balls-and-Cleats-to-Bodi-SchoolAbove: Donating soccer equipment and clothes to a local school.

Our main mission this trip was to bring soccer equipment to a school in the small (very small) village near my father’s home. We collected four big bags of equipment, including a full set of team clothing, from my sons’ soccer teams in Vancouver, B.C.

Mr. Seth Ondulu was on hand to accept the gear. Unfortunately the children were on their holiday break so we did not see them, but we hope Seth will get us some photos once the kids return and start playing soccer.

Kids-at-SchoolwsAbove: Kids at School 2011 with Mr. Ondulu (these are the kids).

View-from-the-schoolAbove: View from the school of Lake Victoria (somewhere over there).

We also spent some time in Zanzibar. We saw Stonetown which is famous for its sad history in the Slave Trade. We spent most of our time on the beach though, and oddly enough at one point, all these cows came down to the ocean to take a walk. They were not with a herdsman or anything. They came down an alley way and just started walking. It was a really lovely sight — a stream of cows walking freely on the beach at sunset!

Zanzibar cow walkAbove: Braden on a beach in Zanzibar with cows walking by in the background.

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  • Louise Baker-Griffiths


    This is terrific. The information is so warm and interesting. I had no idea that you had only found you Kenyan side of your family 7 years ago, wow! My daughter was in Zanzibar in August, but, unfortunately, there where no cows on the beach (fun photo)!


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