Susan Wood, daughter of British missionaries in Africa, was born in 1918 in a mud hut in the Belgian Congo. Her parents moved back to Britain for a few years and she and her siblings were enrolled in boarding school there after her parents returned to Africa.
During World War II she was studying nursing in the UK and met her future husband, Michael Wood, then studying medicine. Married in 1943, they moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1947. After many adventures, that included meeting Alfred Schweitzer and setting up AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation), they bought a farm in Tanzania. Susan tended to the farm and ran a small nursing clinic for local people as her husband was flying to tend to the needs of patients and of AMREF business farther away.
After Tanzania repossessed their land, the Woods returned to Kenya, where they settled on the farm made famous by Karen Blixen ("Out of Africa"). In her backyard, she set up the first bead making studio. The two tourist sites are now in close proximity and can be visited together. Both have coffee shops in their pastoral environs.