Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Students have arrived at JFK
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!
Flight into JFK
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
Monday, July 26, 2010
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
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
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.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
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.
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.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
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!
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
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
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
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
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
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Group in Shompole
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
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
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
Friday, July 9, 2010
Where Are We Going?
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
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!