“My trip will always be a part of me and I believe that my experience there will shape the rest of my life."

Alice Dawson

Epsom College, 2015

Alice Dawson

Epsom College, 2015

During her three months in East Africa, Alice Dawson spent two months living with locals in an orphanage in the small, rural village of Yala. Alice taught Maths, English and Science for her stay as well as enjoying the local cuisine and their way of life; Alice soon felt that she had become apart of the community. 

“I learnt how to cook their food, collect water and even slaughter and gut a chicken for our dinner. My friend and I went to a cow market to buy a cow for our Kenyan Father and Mother as a thank you present. We walked the cow home for about forty minutes through the heavy rain like a true Kenyan.

I became well accustomed to the public transport: tuk tuks, picky pickys (motorbike taxis), matattus and coaches. We bought all our clothes and food at the local markets, attempting to haggle in Swahili and more often than not, succeeding. “

“My time in Kenya and Uganda was the best three months of my life so far and has shaped me in a much better way. ”

                                                                      — Alice Dawson

She experienced so many wonderful things living in the local culture; even attending a wedding, but unfortunately she also experienced a great tragedy. Twenty-one-year-old David, a young man living in Rianna’s children’s home died of AIDS during her second month there.

“This exemplified the reality of where we were living and I was able to see how beautifully the Kenyans deal with something so tragic by singing and dancing to celebrate his life. It was a harrowing time but I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to support the community during it.“

After her time in the orphanage she was lucky enough to do a safari in the Masai Mara and trek with wild Gorillas in Uganda. Trekking with Gorillas led her to further research about the magnificent primates and she intended to volunteer with them in the following year.

The trip inspired her creative practice hugely and allowed her to realise that her greatest desire was to become an artist. During her time there, she kept a sketchbook, took many photographs, and purchased traditional fabrics which she later used to create works with.

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