Exploring Lalibela with Mika

In May we decided it was time to take on our first real adventure as a team – Mika and I. We headed to Lalibela, Mika in the backpack, for a long weekend with a friend visiting Ethiopia, Jenn, who I had taught with in India and Chris a friend and colleague from school in Addis.

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Standing in front of St George Church

It was certainly a different experience for me and I was grateful to help friends to help us out along the way as I developed my new skills of how to travel rough with a baby. Lucky for me Mika is such a social wee girl, loves being in the backpack and is up for as much as an adventure as I am.

 

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Mika sitting in the entrance to one of the churches

It was a great weekend exploring the city and churches and I was glad for the company and support to help carry Mika around in the heat. She loved the priests and their crosses.

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Making friends everywhere

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The markets are always one of my favourite places when I travel. I love seeing what is for sale, how people go about their sales and trades, the movement and conversations. This market did not disappoint it was bustling with so much activity and friendly faces welcoming us.

On Sunday morning Jenn and I got up early to head down to one of the cluster of churches to see how busy it would be when service was happening. We weren’t disappointed, around every corner there were floods of people praying, priests blessing people and movement in and out of the churches.

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Young girl we met outside one of the churches

 

We had a great weekend exploring the town, churches and markets — this girl is always smiling, always waving, always happy… thank you Lalibela for your warmth and beautiful people just like my little Habesha.

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When your friends have kids…

I love having friends/ family to shoot spontaneous pictures of their children for them. I have no ability to direct a photoshoot so pretty much gave up on that idea after one attempt of that. I do love it when friends are just playing and enjoying their kids – thats when the magic appears!

P.S. I love B&W

Growing up on  a farm in New Zealand is the life

Growing up on a farm in New Zealand is the life

Family fun

Family fun

Bubbles & Mum - bliss!

Bubbles & Mum – bliss!

Water play in the Philippines... its hot outside

Water play in the Philippines… its hot outside

The best smile in the world... this guy

The best smile in the world… this guy, Rwanda

This boy has some serious style

This boy has some serious style, Mr Rwanda

Heroes come in all sizes

Heroes come in all sizes

At the beach in Hong Kong

At the beach in Hong Kong

Windy Hong Kong day

Windy Hong Kong day

Musicians in India

Musicians in India

Fun on the farm, New Zealand

Fun on the farm, New Zealand

A kiwi summer

A kiwi summer

Meeting the children of Wolisso

Last week I traveled with High School students from my school in Addis out to Wolisso a town about 2 hours west of Addis Ababa. We spent some time at a small rural school that our school has been working with for the past few years helping to build more classrooms, provide resources and connect with the children.

We were greeted by smiling faces, a lot of energy and children full of life! Our students started building relationships with the Wolisso students who they will spend more time with over the coming year. Here are a few of the beautiful faces & connections being built…

Curious

Mr Curious

This wee guy was popular

This wee guy was popular

Friends

Friends

Cheeky

Cheeky

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Huge smiles doing art

Huge smiles doing art

Meet my goat

Meet my goat

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Making soccer friends

Strength comes in many forms

Strength comes in many forms

Outside the school - skipping fun

Outside the school – skipping fun

Beauty

Beauty

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FAMILY focus for March!

For those who don’t know I made a Calendar for 2014. The Calendar was raising funds for a rebuild in the Philippines… each month I provide a little it of information about the image for that month on the Calendar… Don’t want to read my babble? That’s cool skip straight to the video… here  or scroll down on this page to the image.

FAMILY… you can’t choose them!  Or can you?

My blood family live in New Zealand – I love them dearly, I miss them daily and when I am home it feels like home. We have fun, we laugh, we fight but we love each other. However, I have lived and spent time in a lot of places and connected not just on a surface level with many people. I travel in a different way to many which I feel allows me to understand a country and its people on a different level. I have been welcomed into so many homes and shared so many memorable moments, days, weeks, months with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. Yet they have still become become family whose homes I could easily walk back into and be welcomed with open arms… why is this?I truly believe family is about connection.This Calendar was created for a cause… to raise money to help rebuild families homes in the Philippines.  so they could restore their lives and get on with living. Sometimes people just need a small hand up to get back up and going. Little did I know that when I went to the Philippines I would find a family in another country who I would feel completely at home with and deeply connected to. I miss them dearly. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed and embraced by Marie Ann Corsino her mother and extended family and leaving was hard.

Family isn’t always blood – who you choose to connect with and who you choose love.

BEHIND THIS MONTHS IMAGE…. this video shows you what was going on… and  really speaks for itself.I was up in the North of Rwanda shooting a video to tell the No41 story (you should check them out!). Alison and I had taken mottos to shoot some footage of the countryside to potentially use in the video to show ‘Africa’ is not the image of starvation, poverty and mud huts that people envision. I was trying to unsuccessfully shoot footage from the back of the moto around Lake Kivu when Alison suggested we go check out the hot springs. The video & image below are who we came across there!
I spent a lot of time with the No41 ‘family’ in Rwanda and they certainly became one of my families. The family spreads from Rwanda to the USA and even further. They are amazing… they make cool bags, the girls are super fun, cheeky, opinionated and feisty but in a good way, and to top it all off they give back to their community through a school feeding program! Seriously check them out – #shopwithpurpose and give back this MARCH!
FAMILY

FAMILY