Getting a taste of the Nairobi Art Scene and the Kenyan Coffee

Prior to moving to Nairobi, lots of Kenyan friends told me that the art scene was pretty vibrant here. And while sipping a latte in my local cafe, the rather aptly named Artcaffe, I flicked through the exhibition listings in one of the many what’s on guides to Nairobi and I felt fairly confident that there was indeed…

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining (sometimes even two)

I have been doing a lot of sitting down this week – and no, it’s not because I’m lazy, but for two reasons; because firstly I sprained my ankle and can’t walk and secondly I have been working on three paintings to enter for a competition. What I have learned from this week is that…

Matemwe Beach – Far Away in Time

At 31 degrees centigrade and with a hotch potch of people who frequent it, Matemwe Beach is a melting-pot in every sense of the word. Between sunrise and sunset the beach, situated on the northeast coastline of Zanzibar, becomes a hive of activity with scores of Zanzibari women wearing bright coloured kangas wading into shallow…

The dead cities of Syria

Scattered across the northwest of Syria, between Aleppo and Hama, are more than 700 abandoned settlements known as the Dead Cities. I visited these curious Roman and Byzantium ruins fourteen years ago, while I was living and working in Damascus. Little did I know at the time that Aleppo, the stylish and classical city where I was…

Every light carries the ray of hope

  Every now and then, something happens here in Tanzania which makes me stop for a minute and realize how fortunate I am and how easy life is and has been for me. One of those moments happened during the Isamilo International School in Mwanza Saturday School Christmas party. Halfway through my second teaching session,…

The journey is part of the experience

“So, would you recommend taking the train from Mwanza to Dar?” This is the question everyone has asked me and my husband since we returned from our recent holiday – travelling on the notorious Tanzanian trains. My answer is yes, providing you have plenty of time and you are fairly resilient, then the train is…

Broken Syria

I took this photograph of a group of school kids on a bus a number of years ago when I lived in Damascus, Syria. I remember thinking how unsafe the shattered windscreen looked, but that the children were completely oblivious smiling, laughing and waving at me like mad. When I used to look at this…

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream: Afloat

Every morning at sunrise hundreds of Hindus gather on banks of the sacred river Ganges in the city of Varanasi. Some perform puja (worship), some bathe and some simply do their washing – and the ghats, or riverfront steps, are chock-a-block full of pilgrims. This holy city is positioned on the west side of the…

Easter Resolution – getting back to my sketchbooks.

Over the last few months I have been so horridly busy, both at work and at home looking after my three children, that I have barely had enough time to sleep, let alone sketch. So I have set myself an Easter Resolution of doing more art work, initially in my sketchbooks and later moving onto…

Dancing For Equality

Today is International Day of the Girl Child, and to mark it female students and female staff members at Isamilo International School gave up their Saturday morning to help to empower disadvantaged girls from Mwanza. And I was among some of the staff helping out. The majority of the Tanzanian children who regularly attend the…