What’s on Kenyavision?

I stepped off the plane into the Nairobi night, expecting to be hit by a wall of heat, like I’d read in books. I was waiting for something akin to opening the door of a blast furnace and stepping inside, the cool, air-conditioned plane switched for a boiling inferno in spite of the late hour.

It was warm. Pleasantly so, but only warm.

I confess, I was the tiniest smidgen disappointed, but thought to myself that I would nonetheless make the best of things. I snuggled my jacket closer around me and descended the stairs, lugging my bag at the end of my tired arm. Walking across the tarmac, I breathed deeply – great lungfuls of warm air that smelled of heat and dust and fuel and…something almost spicy; an underlying, faint but very distinct difference to the air in England.

I grinned widely in spite of my tiredness. I could smell AFRICA!

At about that point, I noticed the crescent moon lying on its side in a bright, shining smile, and decided I was going to enjoy Kenya very, very much.


I travelled to Kenya thanks to my work, which allowed me to join in the tail-end of an existing project aimed at instigating and improving methods of infection control in four eye-care hospitals near Mombasa. Several nurses from Kenya had come to visit our hospital in May 2016, and I had made friends with Lillian, who was trying to set up a diabetic eye screening service in the district of Kwale, where she worked. We emailed back and forth from that visit onwards, and I was invited to come and see the setup she had got going. News of the project which had enabled their initial visit was sent to me, and I admit I did everything in my power to ingratiate, inveigle, and otherwise insert myself into the workings and hopefully a trip out there.

Ten days before we flew, I was given the official thumbs up. I was GOING!

There ensued a huge scramble to get ready, have the relevant injections, find suitable clothes, take insurance security quizzes and wonder what the likelihood really was of being kidnapped by pirates.

Somehow everything lined up, and on the day, I was set – ready to meet my colleagues and companions for the trip, and tasked with the job of data collection for the entire trip, as well as providing some evaluation of the current provision of diabetes care, particularly retinal screening (my field).

I had an AMAZING week – utterly incredible, mind-blowing, life-changing – indescribable.

Except I want to describe it. I want so very much to share some of the stories from that week, and explain some of the things I saw and the thoughts they inspired. I am so looking forward to it. But here’s the thing – I don’t want to do it for free. I want to ‘sell’ my stories in return for donations to the eye centre where Lillian works, because I want these stories to do more than just share my viewpoint and bring you a vicarious Kenya-flavoured thrill – I want them to achieve something. I want them to save lives.

Because in the region of Kenya where those hospitals are, there is a poverty level of about 70%. People live hand to mouth, and if they can’t work and there’s no-one to take care of them, they die.

If they’re blind, they can’t work, and in that region of Kenya, where blindness is a death sentence, roughly 80% of it is preventable.

And the cost of commuting that death sentence e.g. with cataract surgery to restore sight, is roughly 7750 Kenyan shillings – about £60, or $75.

For me, that’s about a day’s wages, give or take. For someone with no money at all, trapped in a system which keeps them dirt poor, it’s an impossible amount. For Kwale Eye Centre, it’s a pie-in-the-sky number which comes through donations or not at all, as they refuse to turn people away for lack of funds – they treat them anyway, sometimes in exchange for a goat or a chicken…sometimes just for a smile. But they are committed to combatting preventable blindness. They are saving lives.

And I want you to help me do that, too.

As a writer I’ve always believed that words are live-saving. I hope you’ll help me prove it.


Here’s the list for Kwale Eye Centre’s ‘Eye Give’ online shop, where you can donate a specific amount, with examples of the difference it can make.

The following stories were sold in return for donations to Kwale Eye Centre, and now I am going to post them here, and hope you might continue to support their wonderful work.

The Kenyan Can-Do Attitude

A Glorious Speech

The Colours of Kenya

Sheer Desperation

An Evening Out (with an Alarming End)

Oh The Disparity

Thanks for tuning into this very first post in my exciting new series. I hope you like the stories to come.

Kenyavision OUT!


*I *will* send it, promise, in as timely a manner as I can, especially if all my stories sell out at once!** It will be first come, first served, okay?

**Might as well be super-hopeful, right? It’s for a good cause, after all.

116 thoughts on “What’s on Kenyavision?

  1. HI Lizzi,
    Thank you for sharing your gift! I just nominated you for a new award I created called, The Growing Self Blogger Award. Thank you for “Being the Change…” Roda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats, Lizzi. Mathair and I have never been outside the states, really have never been past the Mason Dixon line, but your story has given me the travel bug. And to travel for such a good cause, how inspirational. It’s so sad to hear how easily these things can be prevented if we were all just to take some time out of our day and give some love to those less fortunate. We’ll definitely be getting the word out about Kwale Eye Centre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this and for offering to spread the word about Kwale Eye Centre. I so want to help them in what they’re doing and I feel very…limited…in how much I can realistically achieve.

      Travel is something I came to really quite late in life. I have always been content to be a homebody, and live vicariously, but travelling to America to meet my blogging friends was the key which unlocked the travel bug for me, and I can honestly only recommend it! I think you find more and more about yourself once you start to see your world through the perspective of foreign contexts.

      Big love to you. Hope you’re doing well xo



  4. Pingback: The Colours of Kenya #Blindness #Travel #TravelTuesday | Her Headache

  5. Pingback: What’s on Kenyavision? — Considerings – PATRICK TINDI

  6. How wonderful you had this experience! For so many reasons. I can’t imagine the veritable thrill of helping someone to see – to SEE – to give them a life-saving chance to keep on living and being and doing and…and…
    As someone who’s partially blind (I’m not legally blind, but I am blind in my right eye), blindness and its possibility have always been a part of my life. I try not to think about it much, but I’ve often thought how it would be easier to be deaf than to be blind…but that’s neither here nor there.
    Kenya keeps coming up on my horizon. I have a friend who recently returned from there. I also have another friend who’s getting ready to go. My nephew is in Benin, Africa and I once had a dream about going to Zambia. Honestly, I didn’t know the place existed before I dreamt about it and then thought, “Does a place called Zambia exist?” Indeed it does and I’ve always wondered if I should make my way over there sometime. 🙂
    Eh…I ramble. I just got so thrilled reading about your experiences and can’t wait to see the stories. I will set aside monies now so that I can help donate. Looking forward to it! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your ramble a LOT and I hope very much that you go to Zambia one day. I will have to look up where Benin is. It’t not a place I’ve heard of. What does your nephew do there?

      I didn’t know you are partially sighted! It’s more prevalent than I ever realised, and I think working in the field just keeps me ever surprised. I am SO glad if there’s anything I can do to make a difference to those for whom it makes ALL the difference.

      I was SO lucky to have the experience…and the first of the stories has been shared on facebook – check my timeline. I shared it!


          • Hehe…yes, and you write AMAZING stories! I’m sorry I missed them. Right after I found them, I had to head to work, and THEN I was getting ready to drive across the USA to visit family. So, yes, after two days of driving, we’re here and hangin’ out. 🙂 Keep on shining, you beautiful soul, you. Love your “considerings.” 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Because the investment of the rich is to ensure they remain rich. The lot of the poor is to survive. The unwanted, untenable responsibility then falls on those with bleeding hearts and a little money to spare.


  7. Done! I’m happy to donate to such a wonderful cause, particularly because it means so much to you, Lizzi. It’s easy to take our healthcare for granted, but to hear that it takes so little (from my perspective) to provide medical care and a new lease on life and employment…how could we not give?

    Can’t wait to hear of your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh THANK YOU my Dana ❤ It really is a wonderful cause…I know there are millions of worthy ones out there, but I feel strongly about this one having been there and seen it in action (or, as much action as it can afford to be in, due to lack of almost everything!)

      The relative little it takes to provide a new lease of life is ASTONISHING. Really truly astonishing. I think a lot of the costs are lower because there isn't all the health and safety/policy/extra extra extra that we have in the west.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh WOW! Did you? Where did you go? I wonder how similar our experiences were! It’s such an incredible country. I hope I never ever forget my trip…and I hope it’s the first of many!

      Liked by 1 person

      • We went to Ngamba, about 2 hours outside of Kenya with a organization called the 410 Bridge. We hosted a summer camp for the kids there – I met a lot of young girls who wanted to be doctors or engineers. Hopefully, you can find one to mentor while you are there!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s amazing! What a lot of fun you must have had. I love that the girls have such strong ambitions. I hope they achieve them. I was only there for a week but I so hope there are future trips. I didn’t meet any kids there, just doctors and nurses.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Fabulous. Love it. I’m so proud of you for going and I just love that this experienced touched and inspired you in the ways that it has. You are lovely and this project is exactly the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from your heart. Looking forward to see your experience take shape on the page…screen…whatever. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: What's On KenyaVision? - Unfold and Begin

  10. Pingback: TToT: Great Grey Elephants On A Cool Grey Morning – Look Up, Not Down #10Thankful | Her Headache

  11. Reblogged this on Unfold and Begin and commented:
    This is the first time I’ve ever reblogged a post from another’s blog, but I think that this is important. Helen Keller said, “There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Okay, I’m back and I donated! *throws confetti* This is such a gorgeous cause and I’m so proud of you and honored to be involved in my tiny way. I’d love to hear about the “glorious speech”, thank you. No rush. I know you’re good for it. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehehe AWESOME my BW! I was really hoping someone would buy this one, as it’s one of my favourite moments we had there – it was HILARIOUS! Thank you so so much for being involved and for donating ❤ ❤ You're wonderful 🙂


  13. Reblogged this on Meeka's Mind and commented:
    A bird with a broken wing will die. In the poorest areas of Kenya, a person who can’t see can’t work, and if they can’t work, they die. A ridiculously small amount can make a HUGE difference. The price of a latte…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awwwh THANK YOU my lovely. I’m so glad I actually DID it, and thank you for all your you-ness and being with me even when I haven’t been up to anything at all. I’m excited about this.


    • No, I don’t think so – Paypal takes care of all the conversions, which is awesome! And YAY! Thank you! Let me know which story you’d like and I’ll start writing. THANK YOU for being my FRIST taker ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Her Headache and commented:
    This was a tad painful for me to read, hearing what blindness is for those living in a different country than my own, but what a thing she’s doing here. I was travelling in Mexico the same week she was in Africa. I know our stories are so much different, but travelling truly opens your eyes. It’s what you allow yourself to see next that is up to you.u

    Liked by 1 person

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