Kenya

I fidgeted with guilt as I consumed the remaining scraps of my sea bass and peered over my sunglasses at the procession of neatly dressed Kenyan orphans trotting round the hotel pool.

Jacob Matunga, a large, austere volunteer from the local orphanage had been invited to our hotel resort to talk about his wonderful work. He took the microphone and used harrowing facts and figures to explain the horrific situation in Kenya. There are 2 million orphaned children in Kenya. 2 million.

300,000 of them have HIV.

Thirty or so silent Europeans creaked uncomfortably on sun-loungers. After his brief speech the children sang a song so sweet I had to sink into the pool to hide my tears.

If I was going to experience the real Kenya I needed to visit the orphanage. Was it morbid curiosity, a desire to help or just a chance for some photographic bragging rights back home?
Honestly - all of the above.

Regardless, I knew this voyeuristic human safari around the back streets of Ukunda would be as affecting as any wildlife experience I’d enjoyed in Amboseli.

That’s how my lovely wife Asliza and I came to visit the Kaya Academy in Ukunda, just outside Mombasa, Kenya.

The photos describe the place better than I ever could. How did we help? Although I contributed my photos to help them promote themselves, this was one of those occasions where cold hard cash was called for.
The all-you-can-eat buffet felt shameful that night.

It turned out we were the only guests at the hotel to visit the orphanage following their visit. That helped my digestion slightly, although it didn’t do my trust in human nature much good. Was no-one else affected?