For the past year, we’ve been planning, chatting, organising and thinking about every possible scenario for the first ukulele safari.

What we did not calculate was the emotional side of it and how this experience was going to change our lives forever.

On 10th November, 3 of the participants, including Boris, the ukulele teacher, arrived in Nairobi after several struggles due to the pilots on strike.

The first trip to the airport was uneventful, I had spent the night at a friend’s place to be closer to the airport. She was fostering 2 kittens which distracted me from getting too emotional and anxious.

At 4 am Smiley, the designated driver came to pick me and in total darkness, we went to the airport.

I was in complete disbelief. The same people I saw online every Sunday evening, were coming to Africa.

Julianne and Lawry were the last passengers to come out and when I saw them, carrying the trolley with big bags, many filled with goodies to donate to Kenyan children, I felt a sense of relief and happiness.

I gave them the biggest hug ever. It was like we’d been friends forever.

After starting talking at a speed of 210 bpm, crowding their brain with information and feelings (every sentence ended with “I can believe you are really here”,) we jumped in Smiley’s vehicle ready to go to our first destination: Nzuri house inside Manzooni Wildlife Estate.

We chatted no stop and I gave them the Ukulele Safari gift, a bag made with African fabric a Leolani Ukulele, the Ukulele Safari Practice book, the song booklet that Boris had put together and an Eclastic handmade necklace and keyring made with recycled compact disk.

They also had a surprise for me….the new ORBA 2 and a delicious piece of parmesan cheese.

One hour later I was again on the road to go to pick up Boris, that had spent one night in Entebbe due to the famous strike.

The trip should have been easy and fast, instead on the way to the airport, we found unusual traffic due to an accident. I was extremely nervous because I did not want to be late and leave Boris alone at the airport on his first day.

Somehow we managed to pass the accident and a few minutes later, on a long and empty road, we got a piece of metal on the tire…..

Somehow we arrived on time at the airport to meet Boris for the first time, that had sent me a photo to make sure I could recognise him.

Our stay at Nzuri house was simple. Everybody was tired but we managed to start composing what became the Ukulele Safari theme song.