Kenya Crew Update

Lale’enok July, 2016; The First Week

The trip has been a demanding one so far. The flights and arrival events went as well as any one could hope for. John Kamanga was at W’beest to collect the 20k and the guys loved the camp. Maina was on time for departure, the PDQ procedure went perfectly and we departed as desired. We visited the Olorgesailie prehistoric site and Darren, taking it all in, was fascinated. The road trip was as spectacular as ever and Lale’enok a welcome stop and destination.

After a tour of the camp area till dusk we rose on Sunday morning for an early game drive with Samantha and Saaya. We were splendidly lucky with all the animals we saw. A quick mass was celebrated and after lunch we went to Patterson’s school. The young people there were so unresponsive when in class but when assembled in a large hall and introduced by Joel a dynamism set in and contacts were spontaneous and hearty. Some former Olibortoto students greeted me. Then came the football. It was a reconciliation game between Form 3 and Form 4 in which the Glenstal crew participated. It was scoreless but well fought match. Another great meal at Lale’enok and to our tents all of us went.

On Monday we saw lion tracks near the camp entrance and then proceeded to have an introductory visit to Entasopia. The Kenyans received us so well with dance and a play about the importance of wood. The Glenstal crew sang four songs very well. They are a very personable group. We visited Olibortoto on the way home and had a great welcome from the children and staff. The new Principal, not knowing that we had commited to paying for the fence, asked for one. This is further confirmation that it is really needed and agreed amongst themselves that it is a priority.

Monday night, or rather the early hours of Tuesday were most memorable. The lion growls were so clear and seemed so near. The growling woke us up and went on for a long time. I was concerned that the boys not leave their tents and texted Joel. When breakfast time came though Henry told Charlie ‘you only live once’ and dashed out of their tent. We later discovered the one or two lions were a kilometre away, on the far side of our river. Relief! Tuesday classes went off excellently. They really want us to teach IT so that is what we are doing, for about six classes per day. Two Kenyans to a computer is fine. There are seven boys on the crew and with myself, Joel and Maina, that means ten adults with twenty two computers. So we can handle a class of at least forty four children (Forms 5,6 and 7. STD 8 is preparing exams). That is the half the size of a year group and do we give them each two classes a day.

That Tuesday night Declan vomited at about 8pm and then Charlie started complaining of stomach pains and a headache. The former had a wretched night, vomiting at least six times. I left the two of them in camp the next, Wednesday, morning with motillium and directions to drink lots, eat a little rice and take dioralyte. By 4pm and after a very successful day at school Charlie was worse than ever and running a temperature; Declan seemed on the mend. I bundled them both into our landcruiser and we headed over 30 kms of very rough track /road to Magadi hospital. We were welcomed royally. Patrick Shanni, the construction engineer, was there to welcome us and make sure we got top treatment. The Lab’ consultant came over and the pharmacy opened to help. ‘Infection’ was the diagnosis, surely of the stomach. It must be accounted for by the nail biting these two fellows indulge in. Our food and water is excellent and we do wash our hands but we have an enormous amount of hand contact with people here. It was a dark and ‘lunar’ drive back over our trail to Lale’enok, followed by a good night’s sleep, without lion roars or growls.

The next morning, Thursday, we saw elephant tracks that showed our nocturnal visitors had passed through the camp. They are massive and we all so want to see these animals. We’ve asked to be woken at any hour by the night guard in case any more come through the area.

Friday was another splendid day at Entasopia school. The crew are excellent, taking on groups of upto six or seven children at a time individually, energetically, intelligently and gently. Of course the Kenyans love them. Darren does his back flips etc. They are each like the Wizard of Oz with the young Kenyans playing with them and trailing after them . We are ever more vigilant to keep washing our hands. Later this afternoon we visited Olkirmatian Arid school. It is such an intensely hot and desert like an environment, so different from Entasopia and its verdant growth. We were treated to an excellent display of Maasai dancing by the young people who are so curious about us. They hardly know anything about Ireland but we sang them four fine pieces!

The food is splendid in camp and all are in great form. Tomorrow, one week in, Saturday, we rise at 5:30, for a game drive. A baboon walk is planned for later in the day.Kenya-Crew Darren Group-Shot