JT. Foulds Photography
JT. Foulds Photography
~There's beauty every time I turn my head...sometimes I have a camera~

Erin’s African Adventure:  17 Days of Close Contact

Scanning the Serengeti (Erin Hayman) - 28 July '18 - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Serengeti National ParkSerengeti National Park

I documented Erin’s love of Africa in so many ways but always, the sight and close proximity to the elephants would lift her beyond it all…

 Erin loves elephants but it's more than happiness when she sees them...it's utter elation. She's not connected simply by her attraction or even perceived kinship to these breathtaking souls...she is deeply linked to them. In 2016 she VolunCationed in Thailand and spent most of her time at an elephant sanctuary...paying to be their caretakers and friends. During this latest journey I documented her love of Africa in so many ways. Through interacting with the people of Africa, the communities, the vast blankets of migrating animals...but always the sight and close proximity to the elephants would lift Erin beyond it all. Over the next 2 weeks I would witness near-literal levitation in her desire to meld with them. I hope you enjoy this limited insight into my time with Erin.

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Elephant Elation - The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi

Fostering a new baby (Kiasa - born 15 April 2017) - The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi, Kenya

She was still strong, but little time was wasted while they prepared the stretcher and tied her legs so that she could be safely loaded into the helicopter and flown directly to the Trust’s Nairobi Nursery.
— The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, on the rescue of the orphan Kiasa

Erin literally interviewed Kiasa’s keeper Yusef...

For Erin, being on the way anywhere means being on the way to see, and in the greatest of chances touch, elephants. Life does not pass her by otherwise mind you, but while globetrotting…there had better be elephants. During her chapter involving The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Erin did not solely focus on the beautiful pachyderms. She was extremely interested in how all the orphans were captured, under what conditions they were deemed to have been orphans, how they were being cared for, the specific caretaker and most importantly…at which point they would be released to their natural habitat. Erin literally interviewed Kiasa’s keeper Yusef, and was instantly envious that he lived with her. To be clear, I feel she’d have stolen Yusef’s job and walked away from everything else if it was possible. 

Maxwell - 12y/o Black Rhino, blind and orphaned at birth - The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi, Kenya

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Educational and a little sketchy - Touring Mombasa

Tuk-tuk transport from the Ukunda Airstrip, Kwale, Kenya

Erin receives a local brief during the stroll along Diani Beach in Ukunda, Kwale, Kenya

Erin not only listens during her cultural tours, she engages and studies as she is being educated during the Fort Jesus tour - Mombasa, Kenya.

Erin admires the Fort Jesus displays - Mombasa, Kenya

If the background image isn't clear, the aluminum  tusks from Moi Avenue are enormous...and easily the one attraction most mentioned during her time in Mombasa. Some admiration, a few camera clicks, a few blocks of looking for a taxi and opting for a tuk-tuk...and she was back at the Mombasa airport for her trip back to Nairobi. There, she was greeted by first a little kitten, then mom and pop showed up to feast on her snacking leftovers. Before turning in for the evening, I presented Erin with my musings from her first day in Nairobi. 

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Giraffes, crocodiles & kids…oh my - Touring Nairobi

Erin wants to connect with every environment she visits and occasionally, the inhabitants would like to connect with her as well - Giraffe Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.

Erin becomes the attraction as she stops to engage with the children on a school outing - Giraffe Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.

Erin stops for a quick photo during her tour of the Karen Blixem Museum - Nairobi, Kenya.

A school Trip to the Crocodile Park - Nairobi, Kenya.

Erin loves the animals & children that wander the Crocodile Park - Nairobi, Kenya.

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Setting the Stage - The Road to Lake Nakuru National Park

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Erin can’t get enough of Africa’s beauty and when she’s not simply enjoying it, she is trying to capture it - Great Rift Valley, Kenya.

The bar was set very high for her first intro into game drives for this adventure - Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

Erin alerts to the fact that the women on the safari, really like animal butts - Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

Kill Shot - Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

I like to call this the kill shot. Cause you’re trying to convince Antonio that not only do we need to get closer to the lions...but you’re describing just how we can do it to get a great shot of the killer cats. Your plan, if successful in convincing our new staff to take leave of their senses...would invariably have gotten us killed as we got just close enough for the lions to get spooked and decide to enter the bus through one of the several open windows. Look at your emotion. You know full well that your plan would work. It was a great plan Wile E. Coyote!!
— An excerpt from a conversation between Erin and I after the safari.

Hidden Treasure - Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

Nightcaps after a crazy, amazing day - Baruti East, Nakuru, Kenya.

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Homes and Habitats - The Mwareki Village to Lake Naivasha

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Erin learns how the local women are rolling waste paper into attractive beads to bring income which is in turn used to purchase water cisterns for the Mwareki Village in Baruti East - Nakuru, Kenya.

Here, it is the actions of the Hut-to-Hut women that benefit of the community as a whole - Mwareki Village, Baruti East, Nakuru, Kenya

The women are the teachers, the cultural leaders and the keepers of their history - Mwareki Village, Baruti East, Nakuru, Kenya

An adolescent hippo breaches the surface as it stands on the back of a parent - Lake Naivasha, Kenya.

From the Intrepid Travel guide Antonio, to the local guides that drove the trucks and boats, Erin is consistently getting as much information as they can fit into each trip on the local flora, fauna and environmental scene.

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Amongst the Wildlife - Lake Naivasha to Crater Lake Game Sanctuary

Close Contact - A road-side viewing as Erin travelled to the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya.

"Tell me you got that" directs Erin - as the group travelled to the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya.

Baboon Troop - Game Walk, Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya.

Social and inquisitive, Erin never shies from an opportunity to interact with everyone - Game Walk, Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya.

Ensuring every moment was well documented, and of course the giddiness of discovering the babies - Game Walk, Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya

Flora, fauna or environment...Erin misses very little. Even a Dung Beetle fails to elude her - Game Walk, Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, Kenya

Late meals were not uncommon and Godfrey (the cook) was always on hand to ensure the travellers wanted for nothing - Lake Naivasha, Kenya.

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Social Awareness - From Lake Naivasha to Dancing with the Maasai

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Always with a keen interest in the cultures she visits, Erin engages a Maasai wife - Loita Hills Maasai village, Kenya.

The trek to the Loita Hills Maasai village took a decent amount of time and afforded us an introduction to the Swahili word for what is basically a picnic...Bush Tuka. It was also at this location that Erin bought her ticket for a balloon game drive over the Masai Mara National Reserve that wouldn't take place until  the morning of 24 July. It wasn't long after arriving at the camp outside the Maasai village that all would be informed that, as per Maasai culture, the men were in charge during the visit. That is why, in the last photo, you're only seeing the women in motion. Except for Vivian of course...blending in to cultural misogyny isn't her forté...even if it is temporary and mostly meant to be an amusing break from the norms of everyone’s modern cultures.

The women of the village welcomed the group with a beautiful, and eventually interactive, song and dance...followed by a village-life brief from within one of their homes - Loita Hills Maasai village, Kenya

The Maasai would be on duty all night to keep everyone safe from any animals that may want to snack on them during the night - - Loita Hills camp, Kenya.

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Erin’s Intro to the Great Migration - Loita Hills Maasai Village to the Masai Mara National Reserve

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Erin is a shutterbug but when elephants are near, soaking them in is what comes natural to her - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

An early morning and we're met by the Morani (Maasai Warriors) who introduce everyone to their pre-hunt/war dance ritual, the Morani are introduced to Canadian levitation...and the women are invited to more dancing - Loita Hills Maasai village, Kenya.

A market is laid out for us followed by some survival training (spear & club throwing with fire building) and one Maasai makes everyone cringe by being keen on Erin pulling his ear loop - Loita Hills Maasai village, Kenya.

Upon entering the Masai Mara National Reserve Erin is greeted with a host of animals and amongst them, much to her delight, elephants - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

The group was either about to be late to leave the park...or be on time. The decision was easy when, as the race was on to meet the park-imposed departure timing, the group came across a spotted hyena as it attempted to stare down a wildebeest protecting the herd - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

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On Top of the World - Masai Mara National Reserve

The group departed for the balloon launch site at 4:45am so if most of those in the picture look a little underwhelmed...be assured they're freaking out on the inside - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

A view so awesome it can only be truly experienced first hand. The sights, the sounds, the aromas of even the wind itself…amazing - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Erin, full of envy, scorns the lucky adventurers within breathing distance of a beautiful parade of elephants - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Erin enjoys a lavish breakfast hosted by the balloon agency - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

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The Journey to Tanzania - Nairobi to Kisii

While the image of a long journey might seem uninteresting and meaningless, it is valuable to capture those moments and interject some reality into the otherwise fantastic adventure.

During the long trek, Erin and the group become guests of a small village for a short lunch and, as always, an educational presentation on the local region.

As with most of the passengers, Erin is not naive as to the social climate in the less prosperous regions of Africa and is conscious enough to be respectful of each local society she enters. She is not an oblivious wanderer as much as she is an aware witness to the struggles of the less fortunate.

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 Art & Wildlife - Kenya to Tanzania

Erin begins the day visiting a local gallery and curiosity shop as part of the journey to the Kenya/Tanzania border.

While Erin is attracted to the plethora of items within, in that any of them could be added to her collection of tangible reminders, she also studies the practices of these environments and is keen to engage those within.

Try as one might, when surrounded by such beautiful and authentic craftsmanship, you’re bound to find your wallet a little lighter.

As she arrives at the 2nd layover destination of Musoma, Tanzania on the shores of Lake Victoria, Erin takes some time to enjoy the water, wildlife and to appreciate opportunity to mingle with the new travellers that would become the “Tanzania Crew”.

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 The Stunning Serengeti - Musoma to Serengeti National Park

Erin, unless deathly ill, does not waste her time. Whether absorbing special moments of solitude or recording scenes which capture her heart, she’s not going to miss a thing - Lake Victoria, Musoma, Tanzania.

The journey to Serengeti wasn’t a short one but to be able to witness what most will only view on tv or in magazines, is never lost on Erin. The culture, the wildlife and the possibility of sharing those moments with new friends and fellow globetrotters…that is what the adventure is all about.

Erin was always driven to never miss a scene…almost competitive to be the first to recognise a moment. This wasn’t unusual to those others onboard mind you, but Erin brings her military awareness to the fight and she does not reserve her “1000 yard stare” for mortal threats. She is driven to have her heart stopped by the beauty she encounters - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

“Serengeti Sunset” - Ending Erin’s first day within the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

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 The Serengeti National Park

A lone hyena out for a morning stroll…much to the elation of the group - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

A variety of beautiful scenes within the Serengeti.

A young girl is fascinated by the feeding frenzy of a gang of Ring Tailed Mongoose…and one is fascinated with her as well - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

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 From Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Erin’s long journey was coming to a close and in fine fashion…an amazing finale it would be. An entire day was spent travelling from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and the group would arrive at the camp with just enough time to pitch the tents before getting to work on preparing the evenings feast. Because soon after, many other groups would start arriving to claim their own plots of land.

The scenic journey from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation area - Tanzania

“The Tanzania Crew” poses at the entrance marker overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. New friends from all walks of life.

Erin does not sit idly by when there is work to be done…she is not built that way. Especially when those who support us need support, she is always on hand to do far more than her fair share - Meserani, Tanzania.

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 The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

This is an ecosystem within an extinct volcanic crater and it is like no other place. Not enough to make a “world wonder” but from the breathtaking sunrise, to the cobblestone exit road and the heaven in between, it contains endless amazement for all.

I simply could not decide on which sunrise image to include - Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania.

The level of amazement at what the group was witnessing was too awesome to not capture as they slowly entered this amazing environment - Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania.

Some scenes, like this cloud waterfall, were beyond comprehension to witness - Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania.

The close proximity to the animals that have become so accustomed to human visitors, is beyond breathtaking - Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania.

Even at a distance, Erin would be consistently in awe at the beauty and diversity of this ecosystem - Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania.

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 Erin’s African Adventure Ends…?

The morning she was departing nairobi, me to Canada and Erin to an operational environment somewhere in the world, a few moments were spent discussing the adventure and her take on the new world she had merely a tourists view on. Erin isn’t a novice traveller by any stretch. She’s travelled before her time in the military, she’s been to some of the world’s most inhospitable places at the behest of those who have called on Canada for help, and she has continued to travel the world to broaden her own soul.

During the interview she started by discussing how awkward she felt at being interviewed on a passion such as it is, but it wasn’t all about being friends and how she was gracious enough to afford a photographer the opportunity to shadow her during this very personal journey. The conversation was all encompassing; from the animals and the beautiful children, to white privilege and abject poverty. She discussed how it was that the children of Africa today were getting the opportunity to discover their own country in ways their parents may never know…and how wonderful that was. The topics ranged from the amusement of listening to some of the fellow travellers as they pouted about the horrors conditions of “roughing it”(them not knowing Erin is a soldier), to her real concerns on how some of the animals ended up in the sanctuaries…and how/when/if they would be released to the wild.

Erin is a beautiful soul and it is clear she is well placed in her life as a soldier who provides for others in the military. She is not a caregiver, not merely a provider, Erin is a protector. She exists for others but more specifically, she exists to stand tall for those that cannot stand for themselves. She stands for the innocent, for those struggling to merely prove they have the right to exist and survive…even thrive. She is easily more a fan of animals than people, but when it comes to those in need, especially the innocence of children, Erin is steadfast and true.

I had the audacity to accept the gratitude of this person, for sharing in her adventure. The honour was all mine.

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