So part 1 ended at my adventures on Friday, so this post encompasses my first weekend here. Because our weekdays are filled with lots of work, our professor put in a lot of tourism into our weekend. It was fun to do because we got to see parts and works in Kenya that wasn’t limited to what our specific NGOs or Daraja were doing.
We first visited the Laikipia Permaculture Center. Laikipia is a county in Kenya, where the town of Nanyuki is. From my understanding of permaculture, it is a place where conservation and sustainability reigns free.We saw how they used an invasive plant opuntia (cactus) to make jams, wine, juice, honey, etc. They also recycled everything and provided jobs to a lot of the local people. I for one got myself a jar of jam. Read my review hereLearning about the jam-making process
After the visit, our group split up into two. My group went to a place called Mitumba Arts. On the way there, our bus driver, Mr. Moses gave us a full on lesson about zebra. We talked about the two different kinds: common zebras and grevy zebras. We discussed differences and similarities, even gestational periods. I am now a zebra expert. At Mitumba Arts, we learnt that they reuse second hand clothes in making beautiful pieces such as bags, wallets, pillowcases, etc. They center relies on the skill of the local people in beadmaking, basket weaving,etc. It was so great to see people making use of what others have thrown away and giving those items a second chance. I bought a braclet that said Kenya on it, and I have worn it everyday.Read my review here Dr. Thomas, our co-teacher
We stopped at a cafe in town called Dorman’s Cafe. It was definitely catered to tourists but it was nice to have non-secondary school food.
After lunch, we headed to the Mt. Kenya Animal Orphanage. Before getting there, we took pictures at the equator line and my team made it our group photo. There we learned about the animal’s efforts to safe guard different species by giving them a home that resembled theirs. We thought it would be like dogs and cats, but we saw bongos, cheetahs, bush pig, leopard, eland, monkeys, etc. It felt like a zoo but not really. Most of the animals weren’t caged and anyones that had fences around them, had a wide area of land to themselves. I enjoyed being there cause I was in their environment, and for the most part, the animals didn’t have to conform to humans. Read my review here. Later that night, we attended entertainment with the girls. They had an hour and a half for dancing and another ninety minutes for movies or series. Let me just say, those girls can dance. We had talked about how academic and serious their lives seemed but they let loose on Saturday. Also, they love Nigerian music. Yeah!
I attended service with the girls at the pentecostal section. Myself and my friend Evelyn were made to sing a song on the spot, and we just had to wing it. Batch 2 (the people who had stayed behind yesterday, i.e. my group) got ready to go to the Twala Maasai Cultural Center. The road was bumpy and we got to see giraffes on our way there. We were greeted by the Maasai women and met Rosemary (one of the co-founders). Twala was amazing. Rosemary showed us the farm where they grew aloe vera for sale, their apiary (where bees are kept for honey), conference rooms, etc. She shared the story of how Twala started. It was a collective of women from different but closeby Maasai villages who were already helping one another . They decided to come together so as to further themselves. She shared challenges which included being looked down upon by the men when they first started, having to stand behind a man when she spoke at the village meetings because she wasn’t ‘worthy’ to speak where men spoke and many others. The proceeds from the center were used for upkeep and for its members and 10% of it goes to sending the female-child to school. We went rock climbing and watched the sunset. I am not an outdoor person, but it was extremely exhilarating. At night, we had a bonfire were we exchanged stories. i learnt more about the Maasai culture and its similarities and differences to other Kenyan tribes. Evelyn and I found out that the slang for chapati (an Indian flatbread now adopted by the Kenyans) was chapo, and we started calling each other chapo.
We sleptover at Twala and at 6:15am, we went on a baboon walk. It was more like a baboon climb. They were on a hill, but this time we had obstacles, opuntia. The cactus was everywhere and as much as I tried to avoid them, they still got stuck in my pants and legs. It was an amazing experience because we basically got to hang out with baboons whilst they were doing their own thing at 7 in the morning. We saw some school children on their way to school and not too far away were elephants. We learnt about some of the problems that rural Kenyan children face in getting to school, one of which was avoiding elephants.Read my review here
We left shortly after to Daraja. Once back, we hit the road within an hour to St. Mary’s Boys School in Nyeri. It is a Lasallian boys school housing nursery through polythecnic, day and boarding. It was fun to hear about what they did and how they differed from Daraja. Once we left, we went to Sir Robert Baden-Powell Memorial to see where the founder of the boy’s scouts was buried. We also visited his house at Outspan Hotel/Paxtu. We had dinner at this fancy place where you could see monkeys (but we didn’t see any… maybe like one) called Karibu Trout-Tree Restaurant. We got home, and I was knocked out. What a weekend!!!
Philippians 4:9-‘The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.’