Friday, June 29, 2012

Students en route to Dulles

Hi parents and friends. The students are on their flight to Dulles. The British Airway website says the flight will arrive at 1:23pm. Please let us know if you have any questions! We are very excited about how well this program went!

Erin Lasky

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homeward Bound

We are now at the Masai Lodge getting ready to depart for the Nairobi Airport.  Our plane should leave by 11:15 pm and hopefully we will arrive in London by 6:00 am.  We are so excited to come home, we've had an amazing time, and we're now ready to see our families and friends.  We cannot wait to tell you all about our trip.  XOXOXOXOXO

Saving the world one shot and one tree at a time

Jambo! Today the girls geared up to finish their work at the Emarti Primary and Secondary Schools. Half of the girls went to the primary school where they continued teaching classes and playing field games with several of the elementary classes. The other girls went to the Secondary School where they helped finish the plastering of the inside of the dormitory, began installing the windows, and even got to teach the Form 2 (10th Grade) English class.
After a delicious lunch, the girls began preparing for their performance at the farewell ceremony that would take place on Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the day was devoted to revisiting a “learnership” that was the most interesting to each girl. Five girls chose to return to the Emarti Health Clinic and had the opportunity to watch the nurses administer immunizations to newborn babies and infants. The shadowing experience showed the girls the ins and outs of the healthcare system in place in Emarti.
The rest of the girls remained on the farm where they helped plant sixty trees as part of the farm’s effort to conserve the land. When both groups finished their “learnerships” we joined together for a fun game of soccer.
The day ended with a nice dinner and a continuation of the performance preparation. Everything’s dandy on this side of the world! We are so sad our trip is coming to an end, but we can’t wait to see you soon and share our stories!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Perfect Leader

After an adventurous weekend the girls went back to the Emarti Primary and Secondary schools.  Some of the girls at the secondary school finished the walls of their ongoing project, the boys’ dormitory, and some girls had a chance to teach a Form 2 English class.  The girls at the primary school taught more classes such as P.E., Music, English, Math, and Science.  After a delicious lunch, the girls visited a Masai village, where they were received with open arms.  They were lucky enough to tour one of the houses and purchase beautiful authentic artifacts and jewelry made by the villagers. They also had the opportunity to witness traditional Masai dances and participate in them. Overall it was an exciting and eye-opening day that ended with Moses, our guide and Masai warrior, telling us about the main qualities of a leader in the Masai community and a quick ANCHOR meeting.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello America!

First off, apologies for our lack of posts has been raining cats and dogs here in Kenya and because of that we have not had internet access. Moving on. Saturday and Sunday were quite eventful. They involved an early morning, some cow milking, and most important: the game drive. On Saturday we had the option of waking up early to go cow milking or sleep in and wake up to a nice brunch. Eight girls had the will to wake up at 7 AM to milk a cow named Michelle, who somehow did not stop pooping for the entire duration of 8 milking sessions. There were also lots of horses and other animals on the farm that were an exciting sight to see. Needless to say, the girls got several funny pictures to show you all when we get home. After that morning excursion, those girls arrived back to camp to meet the rest of the group for our 11:30 meal to gain as much energy as possible for our evening game drive. Saturday afternoon we put on our safari hats and pants on and set off to the game drive in the Masai Mara Reserve. This was our most successful period of animal spotting. We saw everything from zebras and giraffes to dic diks (We know..strange name, right? But they’re the most adorable creatures). It was a lovely evening with beautiful weather and a beautiful sunset. We finished the day with our usual dinner and meetings, and of course an early bed time. Sunday morning we had a 5 AM wake up call to get out on the Mara in time to see the most breathtaking sunrise followed by a breakfast picnic in the unfortunate rain. While it rained on and off, we ventured around the rest of the reserve searching for the animals we had not yet seen. With a little luck, in the sunny part of the morning, we spotted a leopard, a baby giraffe, and a large group of gigantic and intimidating hippos all before lunch. Later in the day, the rain began to pour but we did not give up hope to find the one animal everyone was dying to see: an elephant. And we did! We found one! Obviously the group did not let what seemed to be a monsoon get in the way of our once in a lifetime safari opportunity. We even were fortunate enough to spot a family of lions on our way back to camp, and with that we all enjoyed a satisfying ending to our game drive. See you in a few days!!

To Bee or not to Bee

A nice night of rest gave way to a peaceful breakfast before heading out for our morning projects. Some of the girls went to the primary school where they helped introduce the students to new and fun activities like blowing bubbles. The girls who helped out at the secondary school continued to help construction of a new boys’ dormitory by mixing cement and supplying the workers with water to speed up the building process. As a fun mix-up, some of the girls at the secondary school got to teach an English class on the irregular past tense to students to the first class (what we would call high school freshmen). After a hard day’s work, we headed back to camp for lunch and some relaxation. The afternoon activity planned was to learn about beekeeping, but it did not go exactly as expected as all of the girls got stung by bees… just kidding!! We enjoyed a small hike through the woods boxes stacked on each other a few yards away. The guide gave us some interesting facts about beekeeping, but unfortunately there wasn’t much else we could do there. To take up our left over time, we found a field in which we could play some games but ended up taking lots of pictures with our new friend Moses instead. After learning Moses’ real Masai name is Titimet, we asked him to give us all Masai names that matched a dominant characteristic of each person. With 7 days down and 7 days to go, the girls can’t wait to see what else Kenya has in store.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Teaching & Healing

                Today we had a very eventful day.  After breakfast, the entire group piled into one Land Rover and made the journey to the Emarti primary and secondary school.  Half the group went to the Secondary school and helped to cement the boy’s dormitory wall.  The other half went to the primary school and taught classes.  Some students were able to play sports with the children and others taught classes such as Music, Math, English, and P.E.  Next we all went back to the Olerai farm and had a relaxing lunch and rest time.  After our much needed rest we made our way to the Emarti Health Centre.  At the clinic we toured the facilities and the owner told us about all the services they provide.  We learned that the clinic does not have electricity, which makes it difficult to perform necessary services and work at night.  Next, we all were able to take some nice, warm showers and rest before dinner.  After dinner we all sat around the campfire and had a fun ANCHOR meeting. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Building and Herding

Today the girls ventured off into the community surrounding the Olerai Farm. Half the group visited the primary school where they assisted teachers by proctoring and grading exams. The other half worked at the secondary school by helping to finish the construction of the boys’ dormitory. After a few hours of hard work the group came back for lunch and had a well-deserved rest time where they caught up on sleep.  They then learned about sustainability and the environment by planting trees and by making charcoal. Along with this, the girls herded cows with their Masai guide, Moses. The end of this afternoon adventure led to dinner and an evening meeting. After their exciting day the girls began to learn how privileged they are to be a part of such a wonderful community.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Place for all the Senses

A door unzips. There is a scratch on the door, a low voice calling us to wake. Smiling black faces, red cloth, white teeth. The day extends in senses. Songs vibrate, linger, and fade. Sand, stone,brick, cement – carefully quartered. Tires rumble, cement rooms stand black against the sun, black like the faces, and just as full. We are quiched for lunch.
                Then there is a zebra. Striped pearl against a green ocean, uncut yards away. We close the gap, like the Masai boy who chased our tires. Corn stalks bleed gold into the breeze, swept against our skin. Sun settles, skin sweats. Seventeen pilgrims cross the Mara, record the zebra in film and mind and heart. Soon, beyond the fence there are many zebras, protected. Among them is a donkey, adopted, accepted, and bred into the tribe. And suddenly we realize we are that donkey, newly dull and plain against the wild, rough stripes of the animal world around us. We return breeded, melded, a new creature affected by the unbridled Beauty we absorb. We are affected – we are the effect. We sit cotton on nylon, boot on boot in a truck that’s not meant to fit but does. These are the safari steps of life: taking the judgments, the prejudices we pack and realizing there is Room.
                Then we shower. Mouths filled with salty water, we let the grime of misconceptions wash off, shed the skin of what we thought yesterday. The kids we visited, the Primary and Secondary Emarti schools, sent us down lines of singing and clapping, excited that we had come to visit. But we who are smart, taught, we are educated again, as our skin swells with goosebumps at songs we do not know, of foreign places that without a pen or a book, teach.
                Feet sieve grass as we skip toward our tents. And as we sleep, nature moves again. A hippo bumbles up the highway to our campground, letting out a moan that leaves us bedridden and sheet-twisted. The hippo that makes us fear, question, remain.
                But in Kenya, the sun arrives early. We wake in the chilly morning air, ready to unzip the doors again, to open that which makes us change. From schools with young, smiling faces to Mara hikes to zesty lunches, we adventurers rumble on toward the zebra in the wilderness, the experiences that compel us to change. And in absorbing by film and mind and heart, we realize that it is Beauty that scratches the tent flap, Beauty that invites on the ride. Beauty we find in smiles and meals and nature and human connections. The tires rumble, the road twists, and we see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Days 2 & 3

June 18, 2012
After an eventful journey to Kenya, we arrived at the Masai Lodge welcomed by the local people with open arms. After unpacking and settling in to our comfortable rooms, we geared up for an adventurous hike to the Katelenga Glass Factory. What we had expected to be a simple hike turned into an exciting trek across a stream and through the Kenyan wildlife. In order to reach the glass factory hidden away in the mountain, all 13 girls and the teachers mustered up the courage to cross a suspension foot bridge across a rather deep crevasse. After a few screams and some shaky legs, everyone made it to the other side safe and sound.
The glass factory was truly a hidden treasure! We all thought from first glance that the factory was small and compact, but we soon learned after a tour that it expanded through the woods with hidden tunnels and secret passages. The art created at the factory was truly incredible! We were even fortunate enough to witness a glass blowing demonstration and we were all blown away by the quick work of the craftsmen and his careful work with the glass.
After returning to the lodge, the girls were ready for their first night in Kenya, more specifically in a bed. We ended the day with our first ANCHOR meeting. ANCHOR being an acronym that represents Appreciation, News, Concerns, Hopes, Obscurities, and Reading.
A good night’s rest prepared us for the early morning wake up today and the five hour journey to Oleari Farm. After a drive through the Rift Valley, we were greeted at the farm by several workers and Moses, a Masai warrior and our source of endless information about Kenyan and Masai culture. We are so excited to be settled into our tents and ready for two weeks ahead! We look forward to continuing this great adventure and can’t wait to update you tomorrow!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Greetings from Kenya!!  After a less than smooth adventure in travel, we have all arrived safe and sound with our luggage and sense of humor in tact.  We met our guide, Rebeckah, at the airport and then traveled by bus for approximately 45 minutes to reach our destination... the Masai Lodge.  We have each had an opportunity to "freshen up" and sit down for a lovely buffet lunch overlooking the reserve.  The remainder of the day we plan on participating in orientation exercises and taking a small hike to the glass factory next door.  We are all looking forward to sleeping in a horizontal position for a full eight hours, and being well rested for our trip tomorrow to the Masai Mara Reserve.

Students are in Kenya

Hello parents and friends. The students have safely arrived with all of their luggage in Kenya. They will be relaxing and resting today and head to Oleari Farm tomorrow! They will update the blog later today.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Missed Connection

Hi parents and friends!

Unfortunately the students missed their connection in London. They have been re-booked and will arrive in Nairobi on Sunday, June 17th at 9:40am. They will be on Kenya Airways KQ 0483 from DAR to NBO. Departing at 0825 arrives at 0940. We will not be changing the itinerary. The group will resting at the Masai Lodge on Sunday and will travel to Oleari Farms on Monday, as planned. Please don't hesitate to call 303.679.3412 with any questions.

Erin Lasky
Program Director