Building a Boys’ School and Attending a Maasai Wedding in Kenya | Travel Diary
Our series about wanderlust-worthy vacation hotspots, with local picks (and gorgeous pics) from our intrepid Nordstrom crew.
Who: Alison Burckhardt, Brand Manager, Nordstrom Product Group
Why did you choose this destination?
When I was planning my 6-week work sabbatical, I knew I wanted to incorporate doing something in which I gave back. I would be traveling with my husband and 16-year-old twins, so beyond just having an amazing experience seeing the sights, what could we do that would leave a lasting impression and give to others? We already had spent time with WE (WE.org), participating in WE days and camps and knew that they have WE villages where you can volunteer. So after browsing their website, we settled on Kenya.
What did you wear there?
Since we were working on building the first all-boys high school a good portion of the time, anything that we didn’t need to worry about getting filthy was our clothing choice! We needed a good sun hat that protected face and neck—it was full sun during the day.
Was there anything you wished you’d have packed but didn’t?
I think we all wished we had brought proper work boots! After many mishaps with cement, water, rocks and dirt, our sneakers were trashed.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at Camp Bogani, which is run by the WE organization, in a beautiful three-bedroom hut. There were also luxury tents that families stayed in.
Favorite meal/place to eat:
The food at Camp Bogani was amazing! Three meals a day, all organic fruits and vegetables that came from a massive farm. We tried goat for the first time!
Favorite nightlife venue:
Every evening they supplied entertainment for the families in the camp. What still gives me chills is the night the Kenyan Boys Choir came–voices of angels.
There are so many. How can I choose? I can’t! So here goes: Sunset Safari, watching the animal migration, beading with the mamas, morning hikes with the Maasai Mara warriors, going to the mamas’ home, doing the ‘water walk,’ carrying 50 pounds of water up from the river on our backs, visiting the primary schools and meeting the children.
Participating in WE co-founder Craig Kielburger’s Maasai wedding.
What’s something cool that you learned?
My kids are amazing! My son quickly learned Swahili. We can make a difference. We can be the change!
Did you meet any interesting locals?
We had several Maasai warriors as guides: Peter, Jackson and Wilson. Also our village guide and friend Tobi, and Mary, who ran the meal service.
If you were to move there, what do you think you’d do for a living?
I would live in a house on the beach in Kilifi!