By: Christian Williams and Chase Cohen
We woke up, had our tea and left by 6:30 in the jeeps. All of us were told the morning activity was a “walk” but as soon as we got there, we realized differently. We were trudging thought the wet, tall grass and jumping from rock to rock and we crossed several mountains. As we finished the rigorous 3 hour hike we came to realize the true beauty of the environment. There were no human obstructions, just miles of pure nature and the wildlife. As we wrapped up our “walk” we met James and Moses (our guides) for a quick breakfast. We then jeeped our way over to the education center. We met a woman who showed us around classrooms. As we walked in we saw huge murals of the wildlife and interactive educational components such as a mini-ecosystem where you could learn about the rainfall. The extent of the emphasis of education inspired and motivated us to help improve and assist in any way we could. After our education tour we went to visit the bead making program. The women of this program make thousands of beads and sell them to tourists or locals. This helps make money to sustain their lives. As we observed this program we did not only recognize the lucrative part, but the jobs which helped them keep them out of poor work conditions, sex trade, and poverty. This opened our groups eyes to the innovative way the community works together to create opportunity.
After lunch, we drove to the village of Isiolla in order to select colors for the mural which we’ll paint for a school tomorrow. The heavy rain cleared as we approached the town, and we immediately noticed the sharp contrast between Kenyan culture and our own. The rundown houses and shops and the busy, unfamiliar atmosphere reminded us of how lucky we are for the opportunities we have. Additionally, the curious stares from the villagers forced us to recognize our differences as we drove through the town and picked up paint and sodas along the way. While experiencing the seemingly alien lifestyle, a boy approached our vehicles and said repeatedly in Swahili, “I’m so hungry.” The conditions of the town certainly shocked us, but we felt a mixture of fear and excitement as we drove away and reflected on the impactful adventure. We concluded our day with a relaxing game drive. We saw 16 rhinos today! We stopped on a hilltop for a sunset coffee, tea, and hot chocolate break which provided a peaceful conclusion to an action packed day.