Bat Mitzvah in Kenya
Updated: Oct 30, 2018
In my opinion, people tend to plan and celebrate Bat Mitzvah's in a much less exciting way than for a Bar Mitzvah. But when you have a crazy, and cool Israeli mom who loves to spoil her kids on their special day, you end up with a MONTH LONG TRIP IN AFRICA. ALONE. Well, not completely alone... So here's where it all begins. My aunt has been living in Africa (more specifically the Maasai Mara in Kenya) for a majority of her adult life. If you're interested in knowing more on how that came to take place -- the what's, how's, when and where's -- you can read her book. But this blog post is about me and my celebration of becoming a 'woman'. So my aunt has been living in Kenya and was (now retired) a tour guide in and around many countries of Africa. After I'm sure what was several conversations over a long period of time, it became decided that I would be gifted with a truly unique experience for my special day. A month long trip to Kenya, Africa unaccompanied by my parents but rather an aunt I had still yet to get to know. These pictures were all taken by 12 year old me by my Costco graded digital camera, unedited and unfiltered. If you came for ideas on the perfect African Safari outfit or Insta shots, this is not the post for you. This post is share my experience of being in such a far and exotic place (much different from the world I knew) at such a young age and the impacts it has had on my life today. Maybe if you have a young son, daughter, sister or brother coming up on a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or birthday this will encourage you into looking into giving an experience as a gift.
My trip was filled with watching migrating wild animals, riding hot air balloons, seeing lions pounce on gazettes, playing with kids in fields, milking cows, taking showers in the river and swimming in water holes in the middle of the desert. Like.... what?!?!? Did I fall into a National Geographic magazine?!
Although I had traveled a bit beforehand with my family in Europe and the Middle East, this trip was one that completely changed my perspective on "the world outside my bubble". The way they live, the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the games they play and the way their days are spent are so far different from any young American girls'.
I came home enriched with the new experience. I gained an appreciation for all of the things I have and the life I live. To be clear, this wasn't because they had so much less than us (although, also true), I saw how much those kids had SO much fun and never seemed to feel like they were missing something or needing anything more. I realized that I was always getting excited about the 'next thing' rather than letting myself soak up the 'now' and the 'present'.