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A Shot of Adrenaline

By Tamu Bakery, Jan 22 2016 03:43PM

"Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare. I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see"

- Angelina Jolie

My mum says ever since I was born I just couldn't keep still. I didn't like sleeping either. Always on the go, always socialising with people. She says I have the genes of my grandmother, who like me likes to travel and needs to always be with people. Maybe that explains why at the age of six I left my grandma’s house on my own and made the journey across our large town to see my other granny. My little sister kept asking me along the way "What if we will get caught?” and “What if both grannies get scared we got lost?". My reply was firm "We are going to have an adventure. Don't worry. Besides, I have packed us some biscuits for a picnic". Do I need to spell out the kind of ‘shot of adrenaline’ I received when my father jumped on the first plane from Kiev (where he was training to become a police officer) to talk to me about the dismay I had caused in the community when we had been reported missing for a few hours?!

The desire to have big adventures continued during my school years. Organising trips to neighbouring Moldova to sell vegetables (which my grandma was growing simply for family use) or begging my dad (and once he gave in) to take me along to a police operation to catch contraband smugglers. As soon as I started university, I become a reporter at one of the local TV channels. Once I helped an elderly lady by taking the local council to task over her leaking roof. The following year I spent filming all sorts of social and community problems in the big city of Odessa. TV viewers even called me and my cameraman "Chip and Dale to the rescue"!

During the Orange Revolution in Ukraine I would spend seven days a week on the road filming political rallies, recording people's hopes and the birth of a new Ukraine. I remember the day when during one of the press conferences all the journalists were prohibited to leave for a day until the politicians had decided what we should say in our reports. And again the adventures that I got myself into by deciding not to follow that order!

Tamu has taken my adrenaline need to the whole new level. Kenya. My first ever experience of seeing soldiers with guns on the streets during an ordinary lunch break. My first ever experience of being the only "muzumbu" on the village street. The list goes on…

I have no idea how to explain to someone why I go to such ‘dangerous places’ on my own and work with vulnerable women, putting myself potentially at risk. I would be lying if I said I had never been scared. Then why? Because I believe in humanity, I believe that a shared problem is half a problem.

Someone recently told me that the area of Tanzania I am off to very soon is potentially a place of unrest. Maybe. But people live there too. Women bring up their children there. The sun is rising there too. And as usually happens, in the end all the places I visit end up taking a huge part of my heart because of the beauty of the people and their lands.

And Angelina is so right. When I feel lost, I stare at my map of the world and choose the next destination. There are so many places to see, so much to do to help others...