Monday, August 3, 2009

Yesterday we had an awesome last day at the Masai Lodge. We started the morning with a discussion about the causes and effects of climate change while we waited for our guest speaker to arrive. Our guest speaker was Mr. John Keene who is a member of Parliament here and has been involved in government for the past fifty years. The combination of both these discussions was extremely powerful and started off our deeper understanding of climate change very well. We had lunch and relaxed for a bit before our next adventure: the giraffe exhibit. We were actually able to feed and pet the giraffes including a one day old baby who was already 65 kilos. We also went on a long hike on the giraffe trail through some of the only remaining lush jungle in Kenya. Our guide shared how the two year drought has severely affected him; because his cattle do not have enough to eat and many do not survive, he has been forced to eat only one meal a day. His story and seeing dried up rivers really affected all of us and made us better understand the extreme effects of the drought. We returned to the lodge for dinner and we were in for a great surprise because instead of a typical sit down dinner we have gotten used to, we participated in a celebration around two large bonfires. The Masai slaughtered and served a goat in our honor. We ate, danced with the Masai, sang, and sat in the “bomas” (aka mud huts) for hours and hours. It was a great closure to our stay at the lodge. This morning we are leaving to Shompole ranch where we will be building a dining hall and participating in home stays. Everyone is nervous for the big change from our luxurious lodge to the hot weather in Shompole, but regardless we are very excited! Last night a few of us washed our remaining clothes by hand in the bath tub with a bar of soap and are very happy to hear that our bags are coming tonight! We cannot wait for the adventure that lies ahead at Shompole!
-Paige McDonald

The trip so far has been nothing like any of us imagined. For the past couple days, we’ve been staying in the lap of luxury compared to what lies ahead. The Maasai Lodge has been amazingly hospitable, cooking us delicious meals and giving us all the space we need. We’ve even been spoiled with hot showers, running water, and toilets! All that is about to change in a few hours we leave for Shompole Ranch to begin our service project. Our group leaders have been warning us of the conditions, but I don’t think any of us are really prepared for what lies ahead. However, these two comfortable days have been so valuable in helping us to adjust to Kenyan food and traditions. The group is already very tight, and together we are well prepared to tackle any challenges that lie ahead of us.
Paige has already summarized what we’ve been up to these last two days, so I won’t go into that again. As you can see, we’ve been very busy being tourists and beginning the Leadership Program, having meetings with our WLP representatives Chris, Becca, and Ross to help break the ice of our group, and introduce some of the leadership ideals that we will be thinking about throughout the trip. With so much going on, and considering our location, its been impossible for any of the students to make contact with the US. This is a bit of an adjustment for some of us, and we miss our friends and family very much. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out something with our faculty to get access to email or a phone.
Tomorrow, the real work begins, as we will go to work building the Dining Hall in the scorching heat of the Rift Valley. I have to run off to pack now, we’re heading out in an hour or so. We’re all doing very well, and really bonding as a group. We’re nervous and excited for our upcoming stay in Shompole!
- Jamie Norton


  1. Happy 17 BDay Maddie, Love Mom & Dad

  2. Hi Virginia,
    After a treacherous hike though past the hammock, we happened upon a herd of wild rabbits. We were then pursued by a bloodthirsty swarm of mosquitoes...somehow Kenya just sounds more exciting!! :) Keep the news and photos coming! We are enjoying hearing about Africa! Ellie sends her love! :)
    Mom, Dad, Nelson, and Charlotte

  3. Casey,
    We are enjoying the blog and the photos! Glad you are all having a great time. Keely sends her love from the ice at the Big D. It was good to see you recharging the mosquito repeller. However, I checked out the research on the device and found they likely don't work at all. Best to use DEET-based repellents to protect against bites. We've heard from April, your charming new room mate from north of Boston. She is following the blog and looks forward to meeting you in person.
    Dad, Mom, Quest and Tsavo

  4. Hi Ud, Aaron, Sixth Formers, teachers, and all,

    These photos are fantastic, I hope you're having a great time,

    Ben Lamont