I am not a shopper at home and even less when I travel. If I bring back any souvenir at all, it must relate to somebody I met, an event I attended or an experience that changed my life.
On the island of Ua Huka (Marquesas Islands) I bought a Tahitian ukulele. I met the old man who made it. He is the last one of the ukulele sculptors on the island. In Kenya I bought a beaded intricate necklace used by Masai women during their traditional dances. I bought it from a woman who comes from the village of Umoja Uaso ("unity" in Swahili, the Uaso Nyiro is a nearby river). The village, founded in 1990, is an all-female matriarch village located near the town of Archers Post in Samburu County, 240 miles from the capital, Nairobi.
Twelve years ago, I helped a refugee family from Myanmar to adjust to their new life in Salt Lake City. To this day they are still a second family for me, and I have a strong bond with one of the daughters. When I visited Myanmar, she asked me to bring her back a traditional Burmese wedding dress. Looking for the dress added a meaning to my trip.