Friday, March 14, 2008

African Adventure

While we do our best at Bridal Bar to keep our blog purely professional, I can't resist sharing with you my recent journey. I travelled with twelve of the most amazing people, many of them event professionals, to Kenya with an organization called Heart 4 Africa. The non-profit group, founded by Mike & Annette Biggers of Triplecord Photography, invited me to travel with them to assist in working in the orphanage they sponsor and support. What a honor! And what an experience!

Without rambling on with too many details, and believe me, I could go on forever...we did manage to change the lives of twenty-six children and they most certainly changed ours.

Annette & Mike Biggers, along with their photographer son Colin got together a group that consisted of some of the most amazing people and amazing talents.

Mike, our fearless leader worked night and day to make things happen for the kids in Kenya (which is not an easy task), and still found time to be a dad.Annette, the mother of all of us kids, took such amazing care of the little ones!! She gave them their first showers, fed them dinner, laughed with them, cried with them, and made sure that they had a roof over their heads (but more on that later.)And Colin, well, he goofed around with the locals.Brooke Keegan, from Details Details planned an un-birthday party for the kids, complete with cupcakes, costumes, and crepe paper. A bounce house was brought in to the local church, along with stations of face painting, coloring, story-telling, snacks, and so much more. It was probably the most fun these kids had ever experienced. The giggling and laughing seemed like it would never end. The party, unfortunately had to, but not without Brooke handing out presents and goodie bags to their smiling faces (lit up by massive amounts of sugar no doubt.)Tina Cochran, a college student wise beyond her years, should get credit for much of the production of this trip. Her passion (travelling to countries where children are in need), brought her to Kenya and Uganda this time around; where she not only loves these children like her own, but sponsors many of them and helps to facilitate much of their ongoing relief efforts. Travel-size Tina as she is called, left a big imprint on these kids.Kady Dunlap of Kady Dunlap Photography also made the journey, all the way from Texas. While we put up with her endless laughing and jokes, she managed to take time out from fun to take some incredible portraits of these even more incredible children (see her pro pix.) While she never, ever blogs, she's still a talented photog. And she was loved so much by Big Mike that we are wondering if he made it home in her luggage.Rhea Mattson, a kindergarten teacher from the OC spent the week teaching the kids songs, dances, and hosting an array of arts and crafts projects. Too many to complete in our time there, so the kids will have countless hours of fun long after we settle back into our now-seemingly boring lives.Tyler Griffin, Rhea's brother, and owner of Tyler Griffin Productions caught the entire experience on tape. And thanks to him, the organization will be able to raise awareness and future support for many more kids in Kenya. He was also a big hit with the boys, a few of these photos courtesy of Dennis, a very curious eleven year old, and future wedding photographer.And finally, some of my favorite, non-pro pix. Specifically of the NEW HOUSE we got the kids on the very last day of our stay!! With all the amazing support from people in the States, we were able to give the kids a real home, complete with running water, electricity, and safe shelter (what a concept.) WAY more photos to come from the pros, but just a not-so-quick peek at this amazing experience.


P.S. I love this... said...

What a fantastic, life changing experience. Thank you for sharing... I hope to be able to participate in an effort similar to yours soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow....that must have been an absolutely amazing trip....unforgettable....

Simply Modern Weddings said...

What a life changing journey! Great shots of the kids...I love the un-birthday party. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful experience!

Teenietinyt said...

Aren't our kids LOVELY!!!!!
Harm, when are you coming down here!!!! My girls are here from Uganda, and I want you to meet them so next time we go I have more leverage over your heart to make you come!!!!!