These journal pages come from Kathleen Steeden on a trip to East Africa.

About the journal, Kathleen notes:

“This trip to East Africa was actually the first time I’ve taken a journal away on a trip. I found the book at the bottom of a drawer as I was finishing off some last minute packing. It was a gift from my mum years ago and it makes me smile that its pages are finally being used for something other than shopping lists.

I’ve always been into documenting my travels through photography or collecting ephemera but I haven’t picked up a pen to drawer anything since I left school! Once I started I just couldn’t stop, I think it gives you a different way of looking at things. Where I was in Africa in particular people often wanted money if they noticed you’d taken their photo. On the other hand, nobody minded if I sketched them as part of a scene.”

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drawing of adolescent kids running across Bhutan

1."The landscape of Samburu National Reserve is beautiful and boring. The parched ground is only broken with thorny acacia trees, termite mounds and spiky shrubs. When the sun rises it is larger than I have ever seen it and the whole sky reflects the dusty red earth."

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drawing of adolescent kids running across Bhutan.

2."Bird Walk: 10am 22 July 2009 Samburu Game Lodge: An ornithologist named Jacob led us on a guided walk around the entrance and grounds of Samburu Game Lodge. We saw so many beautiful birds including mourning doves, hornbills, ibis, mousebirds, weaver birds, a vulture, and my favourite – the ‘go away’ bird. He lets out an alarm call that alerts animals when a predator is snooping around. We also saw a heart lops [sic], a rare black bird with brilliantly red-tipped wings. Mainly though I just enjoyed the opportunity to walk around and gaze at the trees. (opposite page, selection) “The April rains haven’t fallen in this part of Kenya for 2 years. People working at the lodge and our driver Martin say that they have seen the effect this is having on the animals of the reserve. The river that once flowed by the lodge is now an expanse of parched earth.”

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drawing of adolescent kids running across Bhutan

3."26 July 2009 Keekorok, Masai Mara The landscape has changed again. I expected the Mara to look a lot like Samburu but instead of thorny bushes and dusty ground the vast plains are covered with long golden grasses. There’s more evidence of rainfall here in the south too – small pools and occasional palms. The lodge, Keekorok, is fantastic. There’s a bar overlooking a pool where hippos wallow and no fence! Roachy is our new adopted pet. He gave Alan quite a fright this morning when he was hiding in his shorts. (NB drawing to scale.) (Not to scale. Roachy was BIGGER – Alan.) "

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drawing of adolescent kids running across Bhutan

4."Sunday 26 July 2009 It’s the last night at Keekorok. I’m not quite ready to leave Kenya. It feels like we’ve only just started to understand this country. This evening was beautiful, after dinner we stood and looked at the stars over the Masai Mara. There were so many and with no light pollution they seemed impossibly bright. For the first time in my life I saw the centre of the Milky Way – beautiful."