Q and A with Denise, Kiwi from New Zealand
“We should always be open to change and know that crappy things can also bring positive change and new beginnings, and it’s all part of our personal journey.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about Africa, the people, and their incredible resilience. I am also passionate about my school in a slum in Kenya! My hubby and I founded the school several years ago. Tamariki Education Centre is the name. I wrote my book, “I Share My Heart With Africa,” and from that book, I founded my tour company, Helping Hand African Tours & Safaris, hosting small group tours to East Africa. A visit to the school was on all my itineraries of course. I absolutely LOVED my tours and felt very blessed to be living a life that allowed me to showcase what I called “my” amazing Africa. Then COVID-19 hit…and everything came to a grinding halt! My tours stopped, school sponsorship dropped, and I struggled…for 2 years! Looking back, I think I went into shock! Then the anger set in, then the sheer frustration of it all, and then one day, I woke up, said to myself, “FK this shit,” and got myself together and moved on.
Somewhere during the last 8 months, I started designing a range of swimwear for “mature ladies” (me!). It was brought about by my own frustrations of not finding anything with good coverage and great support but was still fun, gorgeous, with a little bit of class and sass! Kailani Pearl Swim was born. Kailani Pearl Swim is my new#1 focus, and I am super excited about my new direction. I have opened one tour back to Africa for the New Year 2023, and I have decided I will just take one tour a year. My primary focus has shifted to my swimwear business. Our school is going ok, but we lost a lot of our monthly sponsorship, so it’s just simmering at the moment. I STRONGLY believe things happen for a reason. I believe in positivity and always look for the silver lining.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I had a wonderful childhood with fantastic parents and two brothers. At age 40, I learned for the first time in my life, about my African heritage (my grandfather was half-African). Learning this all made perfect sense as to why I was passionate about all things Africa since a little girl. The path I have been on was all “meant to be” and is what led my husband and me to meet our beautiful son, who we met in Kenya as a young man, and who we were instantly connected with. As an orphan at 3 years old, he has no family or doesn’t know of any (at least). So, we brought him into our family and welcomed him in as our son and brother to his siblings (our biological son and daughter). He is now an extremely important member of our extended family. He now has parents, siblings, a grandmother, aunties, uncles, and cousins, who love him.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: All aspects of our lives and the journey should be welcomed and embraced. We should always be open to change and know that crappy things can also bring positive change and new beginnings, and it’s all part of our personal journey. We should ALWAYS embrace whatever comes our way. Always look for that silver lining.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: I am quietly passionate about women’s rights and equality. It’s a fundamental right that women are treated equally all through life. I don’t go rallying or standing on soap boxes advocating women’s rights, however. But I believe in 100% equality, of course! My parents were traditional for their era. My dad was the “breadwinner” and mum was the “homemaker.”
MORE ABOUT DENISE: I am a Kiwi, living in New Zealand, but I love to travel extensively (when we can!).
Thank you for reading!
Let’s connect! Here:
My swimwear brand
My Helping Hand African Tours & Safaris: