Saturday, July 2, 2011

Final Blog

After two incredible days in the Masai Mara, we are back at the Masai Lodge for quick showers, an early dinner and then off to the airport to catch our 10:50pm flight to Dubai.
But travel talk is not nearly as interesting as what we experienced in the Mara. It was an eight hour drive from Nairobi to the Mara and on the way, one of the Land Rovers broke down. The drivers worked hard to fix the problem, but it was not before we got behind the car and gave it a big shove. That did not work either. Somehow, the drivers resolved the problem after a hot hour in the midday sun and we were on our way.
 It is hard to capture the sky, the sunrises, the sunsets, the animals, the cool air at night and temperate weather during the day. We took game drives in the morning from 6:30 to 9:30 and then again at dusk from 4:00 to 7:00. We were exceptionally lucky. We saw lions, lions with their cubs, lions mating, a cheetah lounging in the early morning sun, some jackals, Impalas, grand gazelles, elands, water buffalo, a hyena, zebra, wilderbeast, warthogs, ostriches, giraffes, dik-dik,  topi, hippos, a 12-foot crocodile, baboons, hyrax and an enormous owl to name a few. The pictures you will see when we return will tell the rest.
We gathered around the campfire last night under a full, clear sky of stars and shared our most memorable moments in our two weeks here in Kenya. This has been an amazing trip. We have many stories to tell and cannot wait to see you all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Farewell, Oloika

The students are busy, so Mr. Clarke is posting today's brief update. We're currently back in Nairobi at Masai Lodge, getting a good night's sleep before heading down to the Masai Mara early tomorrow morning.

Students at Oloika Primary, Team Berkeley Carroll, and a table we built.
After a spectacular sunrise and breakfast, we walked the now-familiar quarter mile stretch from camp to Oloika Primary School for a formal send off. We gathered in the dining hall with community leaders, teachers, and all 500 students (!!!). There was some singing, exchanges of thanks and warm wishes, and leaders from the women's community presented each of us with beaded necklaces and bracelets. The ride back to Nairobi was mostly quiet, and after settling into our rooms (and taking a dip in the pool!), we pulled together for some reflection before dinner. Everyone was eager to share, and students spent an hour discussing their homestays and impressions of the community in Oloika. It was clear the experience had made a deep impression on everyone.

Tomorrow morning, early, we will load up and head to the Mara. We happened to cross paths with the group from the Ensworth School, which is headed to Oloika tomorrow after a few days in the Mara; if we have their luck, we're going to have some National Geographic-worthy sightings!

Christopher, Brandon and Robin. These guys, from Westminster Safari, are the BEST!
Finally, as one of the group leaders, I just want to say what a terrific group of students this has been to work with. They were enthusiastic and perseverant doing masonry and carpentry on the work site, open and warm while engaging with Kenyan students, and a lot of fun hanging out back at camp. They make Berkeley Carroll proud!

- B. Clarke
Quite possibly the cutest kid on earth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Last Day in Oloika

Sopa America!

Today was our last day in Oloika. We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise, which was a good indicator that today would be very hot. We decided at breakfast to channel our inner carpentry skills and make the most of our last day at the work site. Finally after all of the spackling, hammering, and sawing, we put the final touches on our benches and table for the dining room. Although at times we felt frustrated, looking at the final outcome reminded us that our hard work does pay off, and maybe we do have careers as carpenters after all.

The kids at Oloika were allotted an hour during their school day to play organized games with us. However, we had to think of a game that accommodated 506 kids. We came to a consensus that duck-duck-goose would be the best, and I think the kids would agree that it was! After this very tiring game we ate lunch and returned to the work site, where Shani had arranged for local Masai women to sell beads that we could purchase for our souveniers, and Ms. Fogarty and I taught an English class. Before our day came to an end, we said goodbye to our friends at the Oloika school. We exchanged friendship bracelets and took some final pictures, and although our language barrier seemed intense at times, goodbye is the same everywhere. We have all made connections here and are very sad to leave, but the Masai Mara awaits!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday & Sunday

On Friday night, Sam, Becca, and Ms. Fogarty went on the first homestay of the group. Shauni brought us to Loosela’s boma, and we met his family, including his first and second wife and his six children and his brother and his family. Before sitting down to dinner in a traditional Masai hut, we unsuccessfully milked goats.  The children managed to fill the cups much more quickly than we did, but we tried. Before the delicious meal of rice, potatoes, and cabbage, we drank tea and looked at a photo album from when Loosela was becoming a Masai warrior. This process is called a maran. In the morning he showed us his bow and arrow which he claims can reach over a kilometer. A group of five, six, and seven-year-olds sang and danced for us in the dark and so did the women later.  His first wife laughed at us when in response we sang “Yesterday” by The Beatles. After a long day of work we went to our bed consisting of a cowhide on top of sticks looking up at the stars. We were woken up at 6:30 to an angry papa goat. Again we drank tea and then exchanged gifts with the instruction of Shani.  Each of us received beautiful beaded jewelry and we gave Loosela a pocket knife, his first wife fabric, and his children bracelets. They then left to herd their goats and we headed back to the work site. Brandon, Katie, and Josiah went to their homestay on Saturday night at Simon’s boma.
On Sunday, we went on our first game drive in Shompole Conservation Area.  We saw all sorts of animals from zebra and gazelle to baboons and giraffes. We stopped by a river and enjoyed lunch. After munching down some sandwiches we looked at the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and tried to prioritize them in order to create a utopia.  It was challenging and thought provoking, and even now we cannot completely agree upon what is most important to solve (disease prevention, economy, child mortality rates…). As you can see in the pictures, those of us riding in the open land rover were caked in dust by the end of our adventure, but nevertheless a good time was had by all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

second day of work

Dear America,

Today was very similar to yesterday: we worked during the day doing various things such as sawing and hammering, and flicking cement on to walls. So far our stay in Oloika has been really special. Out tents are really nice and the food really good. The kids here are amazing. Yesterday all of us pooled some shillings together to help the school’s dance troop get the funding needed to get a bus to go to Eldoret to compete in a country-wide dance competition. Tonight the first home stay is happening, with Sam, Rebecca, and Suzanne (Ms. Fogarty). The rest of the home stays will take place this week. This Sunday the group will go on a game drive (no work because Sunday is Oloika’s day of rest). Emmett has also been playing his ukulele nonstop, so none of us miss our iPods too much.

Katie & Emmet

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Work Day Update

Quick blog update: Yesterday was our first day of work in Oloika. We cemented the outside of the dining hall (mixing cement by hand) and sawed wood for the tables and benches inside the dining hall. It wasn’t too hot outsid, but we were all exhausted by the end of the day. We got to take a break in the middle of our work day to eat lunch and water-up in the afternoon. After 4.30, we finished work and got to spend some time with the kids in the school. They taught us a game, some Maa, and even sang “Waka Waka” by Shakira for us. All the kids at the school are really cute and speak really good English and they have offered to help us write down some Maa in our notebooks today. Tonight is the first night of homestays, so we’re getting excited. The view from our camp is incredible. We are having a great time in Kenya. We are learning a lot and we are excited to see what the rest of the trip brings.
LOVE Alia and SamBam

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lake Magadi and Oloika

Sopa! (This is where you’re supposed to say Epa)
We have finally arrived in Shompole! We left the Masai lodge and began our somewhat long and bumpy road to Oloika. During our drive we began making friendship bracelets to give to the kids at school. We also got a chance to take a lunch break at Lake Magadi, which was actually one of the locations where the Constant Gardener was filmed. About ten minutes later we began seeing children running and smiling as they saw our van arrive. I think collectively, we all began to feel that at this moment why we are here. We then walked towards the school with children grabbing at our hands and playing with our hair which is different from their shaved heads.  The older students performed a dance and song in the dining hall, in preparation for their competitions next week. The children love saying “How are you?” and teaching us how to count in Maa.  Tomorrow we will begin our work building the live fence and painting a mural. We are all having a great time!
Molly and Becca
P.S. Bobby and Josiah wrote last night’s post.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kenya Day 1

Habari, New York!!!
                We have all made it to Kenya, after two long flights. The first flight, from New York to Dubai, was about twelve hours, but luckily there were a lot of movies on the plane. We stayed in the Dubai airport for about an hour, and we realized that the UAE has too much money. It is probably the swankiest airport on earth. We then boarded a flight to Nairobi, which was about four and a half hours. Because we were so jet-lagged and tired, most of us slept on that flight. Although most of us were sleeping, the people that were awake witnessed the most hilarious dance ever. The attendants began running up and down the aisles, spraying insect repellant, without telling the passengers. We then met Kristi, our “fearless” instructor from the WLS, at the airport. Then we drove from the airport to the Masai Lodge, a very nice hotel which was even more amazing than Mr. Clarke had described to us. On this drive, we saw what Nairobi was like, including some shanty towns. At the lodge, we got our rooms, which are some very nice bungalows. Because of the jet-lag, we all went to sleep pretty early. The next morning we had breakfast and then took a hike to a glass factory. On the way we had to cross a very rickety cable bridge, which made many people, including our “fearless” instructor, feel that they were about to fall off of. At the glass factory, we saw some amazing glass and metal works. We also saw some glass blowers in the process of making a glass crocodile. We also saw a bunch of hyraxes, which are very cute, rodent-like animals. After the glass factory, we headed back to the Masai Lodge and had lunch. So far, we are all alright and no one is sick, injured, dead, etc…, so you DO NOT have to worry.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Students are in Kenya!

Hello everyone! I just spoke with Brandon and the WLS instructor Kristi and the students are all happy and healthy at the Masai Lodge. They are resting a bit before coming together for orientation and a group dinner. They will be updating the blog later today. Please call 303.679.3412 with any questions!

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And away we go! Tomorrow morning we fly out of JFK, arriving in Nairobi on Monday afternoon. World Leadership School will post confirmation of our safe arrival, and we hope to begin blogging within a few days.

We look forward to sharing our reflections and photos with you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Friday afternoon, Alia, Sam and Molly scooped out almost 2 gallons of ice cream at the Berkeley Carroll Lower School to help raise funds for the service project. We've almost hit our goal of raising $4000!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Welcome to our blog! We look forward to sharing our experiences with you as we work with the Masai community in Shompole, in southern Kenya, and then continue on to the Masai Mara Nature Reserve. We plan to post reports, photos and even video every couple of days, beginning June 20. Stay tuned!