My name is Recho Omondi, and I’m currently living between NYC and Nairobi for work. Most of the photos were taken on the coast in Mombasa, Kenya.
What was the purpose of your trip and what drew you there specifically? Did you have any expectations?
My family is Kenyan and still lives there today, so I've been in and out of Kenya my whole life. Now a days I go back mainly for work, but also to see my family. Kenya is an extension of home for me, so I didn't have the expectations that you would as a first time visitor.
What do you want people to know about Kenya that the media does not show?
I am surprised by people's expectations of African nations in general. They come here expecting to see famine, war, AIDS, and flies on children's mouths, as presented by the media. But that's bad branding. Africa is too often associated with philanthropy or missionary work, which I find incredibly patronizing. Africa holds the majority of the world’s natural resources and some Africans have become billionaires as a result of it. Yet you rarely see Africans in Range Rovers with 6 bedroom homes. Rarely is it represented in a context of modernity or wealth. It's something you'd have to see for yourself to believe.
Do you have any advice for anyone traveling to Kenya?
I recommend that people should travel to Africa in general, and to travel with humility. There is so much beauty to observe, it's overwhelming.
Editor's Note: As a fellow African (Douala, Cameroon to be exact), I can't help but mirror Recho's sentiments. All too often, the media chooses to only show Africa as a wasteland for disease, violence, and poverty. While this may ring true in some cases, what is missing is balance. Yes - there are rural tribes whose customs are "exotic" and therefore, appeals more to the western world. But the vast majority of Africans live a modern life. Why don't more people know about the beautiful white sand beaches in Mozambique, Zanzibar, or Seychelles? The extensive vineyards in Cape Town or that you can Skydive in Namibia? At the very least, it should be common knowledge that majority of Africans do not live in trees.
There are booming tourism industries within numerous nations within the continent. Do yourself a great service and find out for yourself.
Images Courtesy of Recho Omondi