Lisa Underwood

LikingHikingLisa

Lisa Underwood

I’m Lisa from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, UK.

I've set up this blog for my family to keep track of my volunteer work in Africa over the next 6 months.

I love to travel and gain new life experiences along the way. I like meeting new people from all walks of life and enjoy different foods and cultures. I’m not really into beach holidays and so any travel destination will have plenty of activity whether it be mountains to climb, hikes in beautiful countryside, or a busy sightseeing itinerary. There's a big wide world out there!

Thanks for reading my blog.



Africa » Malawi » Lake Malawi March 28th 2014

Arriving in Malawi was an experience to say the least! Firstly, the Travelex at the airport didn't take card payments for currency and my visa debit card didn't work in the ATM's outside. Whilst trying several times at the ATM, I had 5 or 6 taxi drivers all shouting asking where I want to go. I'm trying my best to ignore them as I have to unpack my rucksack to get to my credit card to see if that works in the ATM. Thankfully, it did and I've got in the first taxi I see. Then there's a big argument lasting up to 15 minutes, pushing and shoving, and taxi drivers doing tug of war with my rucksack all arguing as to who is going to take me. I took a taxi to the nearest town ... read more
Tikawande school
Children from the orphanage
Local kids playing basketball

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng » Pretoria March 10th 2014

The last few days of my stay in Kenya I spent in Niarobi. The first day I visited kibera which is a slum just on the outskirts of Nirobi town. I could only view it from a distance because I'm told it's not advisable to enter without a guide and I hadn't got time to arrange one. The sites of the slums even from a distance were a shock. Their homes, the overcrowding, the rubbish and the smell was discussing. Really hard to imagine living in such squalor. The following day, I've visited an elephant sanctuary set within Niarobi national park. I managed to find a motorbike taxi who took me. Asking each rider for a price to take me ranged from Sh5000 £35 to my eventual acceptance of Sh500 £3.50. It's approximately 20 mins from ... read more
Kibera Slums
Kibera Slums
Elephant sanctuary

Africa February 13th 2014

The water tank I bought Isaac and Josephine had now been delivered and installed just in time as it has rained very heavily over the last couple of days I was hoping to see water come from the tap before I left. The tank that I decided on in the end was the largest which once full, will keep the family supplied with water for up to 5/6 months. A great relief to Josephine. Sunday 2nd February it's Isaac's birthday. They don't acknowledge their birthdays and some (the older generation) don't even know when it is or how old they are. I've bought a birthday cake from town which is iced beautifully but unfortunately the icing did not survive the very bumpy motorbike journey. Nevertheless, I've used the Christmas candle that I brought with me ... read more

Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province February 10th 2014

The water tank I bought Isaac and Josephine had now been delivered and installed just in time as it has rained very heavily over the last couple of days I was hoping to see water come from the tap before I left. The tank that I decided on in the end was the largest which once full, will keep the family supplied with water for up to 5/6 months. A great relief to Josephine. Sunday 2nd February it's Isaac's birthday. They don't acknowledge their birthdays and some (the older generation) don't even know when it is or how old they are. I've bought a birthday cake from town which is iced beautifully but unfortunately the icing did not survive the very bumpy motorbike journey. Nevertheless, I've used the Christmas candle that I brought with me ... read more
Birthday Cake
Isaac cutting the cake
Kids enjoying birthday cake

Africa » Kenya February 1st 2014

Isaac and Josephine (my host) at the age of 25 and 22 are the same age as my own children so our relationship is somewhat strange because I am automatically mothering them and they are also doing the same to me. I'm given a sunset curfew and have to telephone ahead if I'm late. When I ask to go out walking on my own I'm told if I can go alone or not, if not then Isaac accompanies me. It's very sweet of them but it's also strange having this role reversal. I'm yet to meet Josephines family, as the women are not allowed to see their families once they are married without special reason. I'm hoping I get to meet them before I leave. Josephine was brought up much like a slave. Her mother left ... read more
leaving my mark!
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My Artwork

Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province January 22nd 2014

The orphanage project is now complete with all but the ground to clear. It's been very slow process and frustrating at times not being able to have any input on the organisation or the buying of materials. One day we waited 6hrs for a delivery of materials. All they arranged was delivery, nobody thought to ask what time it would arrive and nobody thought to order it earlier so we still had some work to do in the meantime. Then when it does arrive, they decide to have a break! A whole day wasted sitting around. The orphanage build could have easily been completed in 2 weeks but due to the lack of organisation and the unwillingness for the locals to work, it's taken almost 6 weeks. Isaac my host is keen for me to move ... read more
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Build complete
stones collected for the floor

Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province » Masai Mara NP January 11th 2014

What an amazing few days. I think this is the first time I have not seen the new year in with a few drinks, and also a first to be tucked up in bed before 10. New Year's Eve is not celebrated here but New Year's Day is, much the same as Christmas Day, it started with the slaughter of a goat and then the food prep by the women. This time I opted to go with the men and see what they get up to whilst all the hard work is being done by their wives. We visit approximately 5 houses throughout the day to wish the families Happy New Year. There is goat potatoes and rice offered at each house and the men take a plate at each one. I managed 2 potatoes and ... read more
Sunrise
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Africa » Kenya » Nairobi Province December 28th 2013

I'm getting used to the daily life and routine here now, up with the cockerel, 6am, and greeted by a chicken on the bed. Breakfast is a slice of bread and chai (tea). Fetch water which is heavy work. An apple or banana for lunch at 2 and then we have dinner at sunset at 7ish. Dinner is usually cabbage tomatoes and onion cooked in loads of oil served with either rice maize or chapattis. Apart from the oil, it's actually quite nice. Our evening meal is eaten in torchlight only which is hard to get used to. I did try and cook an early meal one day so we could eat in the light but they prefer to eat at sunset. I'm usually in bed after a thorough bug search by 9pm exhausted but still ... read more
Me and Josephine
Kids and presents I bought them
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Africa December 19th 2013

Arrival was a little hectic to say the least after almost missing my connecting flight. I am met at the airport by 2 African men. I think this has to be the most terrifying point in my whole life, I am about to get in a car with 2 African men i have never met before, who are going to drive me to a remote area in pitch black at 4 am in the morning. One is the driver and one is Masai Mara and he will introduce me to my host. We drive for about 2 hours of which the last hour is a dirt track and very bumpy and uncomfortable. We arrive at a school in Olasiti in daylight approx 6am and I am told we have to wait for help to carry my ... read more
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The lounge
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Europe » United Kingdom » England » West Midlands » Sutton Coldfield December 4th 2013

Nerves are setting in fast now as the enormity of what i am about to embark on is realised. I am leaving everything i know and everyone i love. Travelling alone, not knowing where i'm going, who i will be met by nor who i will be staying with and when i will have voice contact with my loved ones. I have never left home for more than a few weeks before now so 6 months is seeming much longer than i imagined. I know in reality i will be fine but it all seems a bit daunting for now.... read more




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