Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Students have arrived at JFK

Hello parents!

I spoke with Brandon Clarke at 4:15pm EST and the students were just getting off the plane. They still need to get through customs and immigration before taking the Super Shuttle from JFK back to Berkeley Carroll. We anticipate that the students will be arriving at Berkeley Carroll around 6pm/6:30pm. Thanks!

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Flight into JFK

Hello parents!

The student's flight left about 20 minutes late from Cairo but we anticipate that they will arrive on time to JFK as scheduled. They should arrive at 3:15pm. Please call the office with any questions - 303.679.3412

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Monday, July 26, 2010

safari photos

Hi! Waking up in our fancy hotel with some time to spare so I thought I would send some more pictures from the safari. See you all soon! Jess Smith

Layover in Cairo

Layover in Cairo
Dear Parents,

I just got off the phone with Brandon Clarke (7am our time). Due to the delay in Kenya, they did miss their connection in Cairo. Egypt Air put them up at a five-start hotel, the Fairmont in Heliopolis and they are scheduled for the same flight out for NYC tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:20am Cairo time. They will be arriving at JFK at 3:15 (our time) and will take the Super Shuttle to Berkeley Carroll.

Although a bit frustrated that they missed their connection, everyone is in good spirits, just had a big lunch, will take some r & r this afternoon, have an early dinner and then head to bed. As we have already learned from the posts, this was an incredible trip. Brandon confirmed this and I would have kept him on the phone for longer, if the minutes and dollars were not ticking away. They are eager to share their experiences and I know we are eager to hear all about them.
Brandon will contact me or Erin at World Leadership when they arrive at JFK.


Flight to JFK

Hello parents,

We just heard that the students did miss their connection from Cairo to JFK. I have not heard from Brandon yet about the plan but we anticipate that the students will be spending the night in Cairo and leaving for JFK tomorrow morning. As soon we get more information - we will update the blog. Please call 303-679-3412 with any questions.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Flight Status

Hello parents!

The students flight from Nairobi to Cairo was delayed by an hour and 20 minutes. There is a chance that they will miss their connection to JFK. Brandon is planning on calling me from Cairo and giving me an update. We have a general rule that no news is good news and we will assume if we don't hear from Brandon then the students have made their connection. I will update the blog as soon as I have any information. Please call 303.679.3412 with any questions.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Goodbyes Are Tough...

In a few hours, we'll leave the Maasai Lodge for the airport and begin our long journey home. We are scheduled to land at 3:15 pm; by the time we get our bags, clear customs and get our Super Shuttle ride, it will probably be after 4:00. I'm charging my phone as I update the blog, and will loan it to students to call parents with our ETA at 181 Lincoln Place.

We left the Mara just after 10:00 this morning, after competing in the Maasai Olympics. The Maasai guys who work for Westminster Safari brought out clubs, a spear, and a bow with arrows and challenged us to a friendly match. They beat us handily, but we didn't do so badly, considering none of us has ever had to throw a spear or club before! It was a fun way to spend time with the guys, of whom we've all grown really fond, before leaving for Nairobi.

On our way out of the Mara, we stopped at a rhinoceros conservation center. Rhinos are so endangered that there are really none of them left roaming in the Mara, so one doesn't see them on game drives anymore. We were excited to go see some before leaving Kenya. What we didn't realize is that we could walk up to the two year-old, Kofi, and even pet him! If you ever get the chance to scratch a rhino behind the ears, I highly recommend it!

Back in Nairobi, our incredible hosts at the Maasai Lodge gave us a terrific send-off, complete with Maasai dancing and a traditional blanket, worn tied over the shoulder. There have been a lot of goodbyes today: to the guys at the camp and our drivers; to Guy at Westminster Safari and his pal Sam; to Robin, who can spot animals from unbelievable distances; to the staff here at Maasai Lodge; and later to Rebeckah and Shani, who have become like family. I think I can safely speak for everyone here when I say this has been a transformative two weeks, and it has everything to do with the people we've been honored to meet here. We can't wait to show you our photos and share our stories!

- Mr. Clarke

More Photos!


Last Night

Hello family and friends!
Sorry we haven't been able to blog recently! We have been traveling around a lot and have not always had internet access. We just returned from our safari in the Maasai Mara and most of us saw all five of "the big five" African animals! Now we are back at the Masai Lodge where we will be staying up until we leave for the airport at 12 AM. We will call when we land from Mrs. Smith and Mr. Clarke's phones at JFK and you can pick us up at the school. Can't wait to see you all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some pictures to look at while our video and post load!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photos of our Mural!

This is us in front of the finished mural! Many congratulations to those who did the wonderful work.

Finishing the School! By Courtney, Tess, and Julie!

After many hard days of hacking the floors, mixing cement, painting the walls, and digging holes for seedlings, the projects that we set out to were finally completed! The unexpected project of painting a mural was also finished and very successful. Designed by the group, but carried out by Gilda, Emily, Vicky, and Kassandra, the finished mural consisted of two hands holding the world (with stars connecting New York and Kenya), a giraffe, an elephant, and hand prints with all of our names. The kids loved it and were really appreciative of all of our work. We were also able to plant 60 seedlings all around the fence! Hooray for digging holes in the blistering Kenyan sun! All the children ran to help us water the trees and it truly was a wonderful group effort by the Berkeley Carroll group and the Oloika students. During our last day of work, we drew maps of Kenya, Africa, the Great Rift Valley, and also filled out a full multiplication table for the students to hang in their new classrooms. All the teachers were incredibly generous towards us and we really appreciated everything allowed us to do. For example, over the last few days, students (like Julie and Courtney!), had taught certain classes such as English, mathematics, and, most importantly, reproduction to 8th graders (go Ms. Smith!). We said our goodbyes to the many cute and wonderful students and thanked them multiple times for their kindness, hospitality, and appreciation of our work. Ole cere Oloika! (Goodbye!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Day in the Life...

As our time at Oloika comes to an end we thought we'd post just to let everyone back home know what our daily life here looks like. A typical schedule looks like this:
6:30 AM WAKE UP! The guys around camp who take care us bring hot water to the tents everyday so we can wash up in the mornings. We have about a half hour to get ready and then...
7:00 AM Breakfast. A typical breakfast here at Oloika includes cereal, eggs, assorted breakfast meats, toast, peanut butter, and jam.
8:15 AM After breakfast we have some time to relax and finish getting ready for work, then we head off to the school.
8:30 AM Work starts.
10:30 AM The guys from back at camp bring chai and pastries to the school, and we have about a half hour break to chill out and eat until at
11:00 AM Back to work after chai.
1:00 PM Back to the tented camp for lunch and time to chill out.
3:15 PM We walk back to the school one last time.
3:30 PM Work begins again, and we work until
4:30 PM when we have time to chill out with the children at the school, or go back to the camps and take an early shower before...
6:30 PM Dinner. Dinner usually has a vegetable soup with bread, followed by a "main course" with meat, vegetables, and starch. Totally delicious.
AFTER DINNER we have what Rey calls "OHOT," or Official Hang Out Time. We play Uno, Apples to Apples, and some get-to-know-you games. But by 9:30 PM, everyone's in bed.

So that's a day in Oloika. Hope this gives you all a better sense of what goes on here.

Just a last note to everyone reading, it's SO AWESOME to hear from you all, so keep the comments coming please! Thanks.

--Marilyn and Julie

Early Morning in Oloika

Dear followers! It is 6:00am here and I thought I would grab a moment to blog while all the students are still sleeping. They are getting up soon as our day starts early! I just want to let all you parents know that you would be so proud of the way your kids have worked on this trip! They are even amazed with themselves at times with how they get out of bed so early and work so hard out in the hot sun. Spirits are good, new relationships have formed and it is quite a privilege to be part of it all. Ms. Smith

A quick message to Oliver and Eliza.......Yes! I saw 4 giraffes yesterday on my way up to the school. They were really far away but I spotted them because I've been determined. I have to thank Kassandra because she forgot something so I went back to camp with her to get it. Others have seen some animals on their way to the home stays. At our camp site we have really interesting bugs. You wouldn't believe how big the grasshoppers are. Also, we saw an ostrich on our way from Nairobi! Love you:) Mom.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Working in Oloika Primary School

Here in Oloika we have been working on a major construction project at the Primary School which teaches children who live all around. Our tasks have been to replace the floors in three classrooms, to replace and paint the metal sheeting on the outside of the same building that houses the classrooms, to make a live fence of trees, and to paint a mural on the outside of the school building depicting the world.

The jobs we've had to complete for these various projects have been strenuous yet fulfilling. We have had to shovel twenty-four wheelbarrows of sand at a time, carry numerous buckets of water, move six fifty kilogram bags of cement, then mix it all together into cement for the classrooms. We also have hacked away the old floor by hand in order to replace it with the new, we've dug holes with various large tools (pick axes, iron rods, etc.), and designed and painted the mural (a picture of which will be posted when it is finished if the chance arises).

Throughout the service project we've been up against constant obstacles that we have successfully overcome one by one. There have been inconveniences like water troubles when we needed to mix cement. The biggest obstacles however have been losing steam, fatigue, and temperatures as high as 98 degrees. However, we have pushed on through with great success.

The most exciting news that comes out of all of this is that today we finished laying the cement in the classrooms, and have dug sixty holes for trees to add to the ones left by our predecessors at Ensworth. We have also made great friends with the Masai workers who work alongside us all day. They are great group of guys who have made us feel very welcome and have taught us a lot about the culture and language of the Masai. We have gained a new found respect for manual labor and the fruits that can be born from it. As well as a respect for the showers that we are lucky enough to have here. And most importantly an even greater appreciation for the smiles of children.

Your reporters signing off,
Sage and Alex

Homestay: Vicky, Emily, and Alex

The night before last I went to stay with a traditional Maasai family with Emily and Alex. When we arrived we greeted everyone and shook their hands, remembering to say ashe oleng (thank you very much) for allowing us to stay with them. They took out short wooden stools for us to sit on outside the boma (hut) while we took tea. Soon, a baby goat wandered out of its pen and began crying for its mother. In a matter of minutes, all the adult goats, who had been grazing elsewhere, came running back home. We realized later that they separated the kids from the herd during the say so in the evening, the village could easily draw their goats back to the village.

A couple of the women took out cups and began to milk the goats, asking us if we would like to try. It was harder than we had anticipated. However, we all managed to get some milk. Afterwards we sat back down and had more tea. The sun fell and we found ourselves surprisingly comfortable with the darkness. From the lack of skyscrapers and brownstones, we could see the night sky from horizon to horizon. We compared names of constellations with our hosts. Before dinner at 10:30PM, we saw a herd of zebras, a hedgehog, and a poisonous beetle by means of flashlight.

We were told the children would sing for us. They were nervous at first. Everyone stood in a circle. One child sang while everyone else created a gutteral beat, bending their knees to the rhythm. The children would run to the center of the circle and jump as high as they could. In addition, after they jumped, some of the children would run towards one of us and turn around right before they touched us as a joke. Emily, Alex, and I joined in jumping and kidding around as well. After that, our translator told us that the children were going to sing a sacred song. We all jumped as we sang, laughing with bare-all smiles. After we were sufficiently tired, we had a delicious and very filling meal of beans and rice and then retired.

We slept under a mosquito net in a half-built boma, looking up at the stars. The bed, a hardened cowhide laid flat on the ground, was difficult to adjust to but we managed to sleep. In the morning, we took more tea and held adorable baby goats. At 8:00 am, our Masai leader, Shani, came to pick us up. We gave our host our gifts and then posed for pictures. Then they gave us each a Masai name. Mine was Naramatisho, meaning caregiver. Emily’s was Narana, meaning friend of the family. Alex got the name Orgassis, meaning wealthy man since he was accompanied by us two women.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Day in Oloika by Julie and Courtney

We drove for hours to Olokia. After stopping for lunch by the Mogadi lake we finally arrived where we will be staying for the next few days. Along the way we say flamingos, giraffe, zebras, and wildebeests. Driving through the the streets of kenya we waved at all the people passing by who were all friendly and excited to see us. The children's smiles were absolutely heartwarming. Finally we arrived at Oloika. The camp is pretty cool. There are about four people to a tent and four showers and outhouses for boys and girls. We eat all meals in the mess tent and the food is delicious. The staff is amazing and they bring us water to put in our water bottles. After stopping and dropping off our bags, we walked to the school which is like a ten minute walk. As soon as we walked through the gates, we were instantly surrounded by children. They were eager to shake our hands and ask us our names. Some even asked for our bracelets and none of us had the heart to say no! It was a wonderful welcome to the village.

Bryan--Kassandra wants to know where her headlight is!

Julie and Courtney

Friday, July 16, 2010

Messages to Family and Friends

Emily: Hi Mommy, Daddy, Claire, Jojo, DISHY, Ginger, and Olive. I saw baboons and warthogs and other animals including goats (that one's for you Nate). I love and miss you all and I hope you guys are having a good two weeks!

Julie: Hello Dad, Matthew, and Jawz. I crossed a scary bridge today. Love and miss you.

Sage: Mom, miss you a lot. Wish that I could see you. Love you a lot.

Courtney: Hey Mom and Dad and everyone else. I miss you so much. I crossed a small bridge that was so high. CRAZY RIGHT?

Alex: Hi parents and family and all the friends who I remembered to tell about the blog. Kenya's awesome and Cairo was amazing. I had an interesting run-in with a cop, but otherwise a lot of fun! Love you all, see you in a couple weeks!

Tess: Hi Mom and Dad! Addie, Maya, and Zoe! I love you all and I'm having a fantastic time. The pyramids were amazing and it's just getting better each day.

Anna: Hello family! Things are going good. I slept the whole flight to Cairo. You'd be jealous of all the things we did in ten hours. I'll tell you more about Kenya later. Love ya!

Marilyn: Hey moms. Cairo was crazy cool and Kenya is gorgeous. I love you. Did Christina pick up the cake?

Gilda: Hi Mom, Dad, Emma, Max, and Willa. Love you and miss you so much. I'm having the most incredible time! Happy almost birthday Maxy and Will in case I can't write to you later. xoxo

Kassandra: Hey Mom and Dad!! I miss you guys so much but I'm having such an amazing time and making such great friends. Can't wait to show pictures. Say hi to Sona and Lickey for me.

Rey: My dear loved ones, sending you smiles and lots of love.

Ms. Smith: Happy Anniversary Ryan! I miss you Oliver and Eliza. Love you all.

July 14th by Tess and Emily

*We had some problems with the internet and couldn't get on to the blog but now we can so we have a blog post from Wednesday, July 14th.

After another long flight from Cairo to Nairobi, we arrived at Nairobi airport at 3:45 am. When we landed we met our World Leadership School director, Rey, who led us through visas and baggage claim. We took a long, bumpy ride to the Masai Lodge on the outskirts of Nairobi National Park. We got the keys to our rooms at the lodge and went right to sleep until about 11:30 that same morning. When we got up, we had some breakfast and then a group meeting on the top of a hill at the lodge. Later that day, we hiked to a glass factory, BUT to get there we had to cross a very thin and shaky bridge, which was challenging for some who have a fear of heights. Once we were across, we explored the glass factory and saw many interesting pieces of art. On the way back, we were crossing the bridge once again when we suddenly were joined by some baboons in the distance, who eventually walked across the steps leading to the bridge that we had just crossed!

This picture is of Rey leading us through a bunch of icebreaking games and trust activities:

Jambo from Kenya! by Gilda and Kassandra

Jambo from Kenya! The 13 of us had two relatively easy flights in the past 48 hours. Some of us were a little insane due to the lack of sleep, but now we are settled in and relaxing in the Masai Lodge, 45 minutes away from Nairobi Airport. Before our five-hour flight from Egypt to Kenya we spent the day sight seeing in Cairo. We hopped on a bus with our tour guide Sue and zoomed off to the Egyptian Museum with incredible ancient artifacts. After this we traveled to a suburb called Giza where three gigantic pyramids stand (only three out of one hundred and eight in all of Egypt). After snapping our photos and climbing the two-ton bricks that composed the walls of the pyramids, half of us ventured on a camel ride. Casanova, Lawrence, and Mickey Mouse grunted and spit as they carried five of us around the pyramids. Next we went shopping at the Egyptian Cotton Shop, The Papyrus Institute and The Bazaar where people bought things like bags, jewelry and beautiful papyrus paintings. As the sun went down we took another bus ride to a lively and crowded bazaar where we sat down to a delicious meal of lentil soup, lamb, vegetables and rice pudding. From there a police car escorted our bus to the airport in order to evade the traffic and make our 10:45 flight to Nairobi. Once in Nairobi, at about 3:45 am, we were escorted to a bus and then taken to the Masai Lodge. After 45 minutes of bumpy, narrow roads, we finally arrived at the very quiet Masai Lodge. From there we got our beauty sleep, showered, and made our way to breakfast where Rae told us the plan for the day. We played group-bonding games and then headed off on a hike to the Glass Factory. But first, we had to face the challenge of crossing a narrow, rocking, high bridge (like the ones you see in movies). Although it was pretty intimidating, everyone finally conquered that challenge and moved on to see some really cool glass and ceramic pieces. We all were pretty scared to go back across the bridge to head back to the lodge but we all knew that 1. There was no way to get back to the lodge besides going over the bridge, and 2. Why else are we here if not to face some challenges? We returned to the Masai Lodge anxious to swim in the pool or face our jet lag with a nap. After dinner everyone was ready to say his or her goodbyes and go straight to bed. Can’t wait to journey to the Oloika tomorrow!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Group in Shompole

Hello everyone,
I just spoke with WLS instructor Rebeckah Johnston and she said the group has arrived in Oloika Trading Center and everyone is in high spirits. From Nairobi, the group dropped a few thousand feet of elevation into the Great Rift Valley. After passing Lake Magadi, where the group saw pink flamingos, they entered the Shompole Group Ranch and headed towards Oloika Trading Center. Upon arrival, they participated in a welcome meeting with the community. The group had their first meal in the dining tent and will sleep in the safari tents tonight. Tomorrow they will start their service projects and cultural activities. There is a lot of work to get done and the students are very excited to be on the ground. The group was unable to get the internet work this evening but hopefully should post tomorrow.
Thank you --

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Arrival in Kenya

Hello parents,
I just spoke to Rebeckah Johnston, the WLS instructor, and she confirmed that everyone arrived safe and sound, with all their luggage, to Nairobi and onto the Masai Lodge, which is on the edge of the Nairobi National Park. Students are currently showering and getting ready to take a early morning nap prior to starting their program in Kenya. Today the students will go through community orientation and visit the Kitengala glass factory, a fabulous artisan village that is within walking distance of Masai Lodge. Tomorrow the students head to Oloika Trading Center, the community where they will be staying in the Shompole Group Ranch. Their first blog post will likely be from Shompole. The adventure has begun!
Ross Wehner, World Leadership School
Hi everyone,

Berkeley Carroll/Kenya just landed in Cairo, 5:45 am our time and around 1:00pm their time. As Jessica Smith just texted, they are "off to find old rocks." Looking forward to hearing about all their travels in future blog posts.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Leaving JFK at 6:30pm today. Check out the students project on the google site: http://sites.google.com/site/berkeleycarrollkenyatrip/home. Be sure to look under each project page at the subpages. Nice work!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Where Are We Going?

For those of you following us from the states, here are some maps:

Shompole is in the south, just north of the Tanzanian border and Lake Natron.

Here's a capture from Google Earth. Notice how dry the region is. (Click to enlarge.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gearing Up...

Karibu! (That's Kiswahili for "welcome.") With our departure a little over a week away, we're getting very excited! We've been meeting twice a week for the past few weeks to learn about conservation biology, Kenya's distinctive biomes, Kenyan history, and a little about Maasai culture. Students are also working on research projects, investigating some of the animals of the region and how they've been affected by global climate change.

Students will be posting from "the field," beginning July 13th or 14th. Visit often to learn about our work!

-B. Clarke