Yesterday afternoon the other Groton students and I triumphantly stumbled back through the Emanyatta gates after a 2-night homestay at an Orkeeswa student’s Boma. We set out for our trips after lunch on Monday and walked anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to get to our respective Bomas. Once we arrived, both hosts and guests greeted the family (in Masai) then spent the rest of the evening settling in and getting to know their surroundings. The next day, however, was not quite as simple; the day began early (6 or 7) and most students had already begun chores by the time tea was served.
Today is a relaxing day for the group. We had a late breakfast around 9:00, and for the rest of the afternoon we will be doing some closing exercises. Friday and Saturday were our final days with the Orkeeswa students:‘( On Friday, we had our final performances in our workshop groups. The drama performances were top notch, featuring directing from Lyndsey, Mary, Claire, Luke, Eliza, and Richa. We were also blessed by dance performances choreographed by Verity ‘17 who we have had fun spending time with during our stay! The poetry and leadership group (for girls) delivered some awesome poetry, including a Swahili poem from the one and only Candilla. Chioma amazed us all with her singing in the music group. As for the art group, we kept our performance subtle, as we selflessly donated our final painting to be used as sets for the plays. The performance time was a nice way for us to celebrate our efforts and see what everyone has been up to over the past two weeks. Friday ended with a sincere goodbye to students. We received letters from many Orkeeswa students turned friends, and gave letters to those friends as well.
All student left yesterday for their Boma visits. They were in great spirits and ready for their adventures in the village. After the first night the word is that all is well. They return tomorrow and we will post on what is often the highlight of this experience
Today was another typical day at Orkeeswa. The schedule has been the same since Monday. We wake up at 8:00 breakfast is at 8:30 and we leave for the school at 9:15. After a bumpy car ride we get school around 9:45. Then, from 10:00 to 10:45 we have language exchange.
Yesterday we went on a safari through Tangarie National Park. In the morning, all the Orkeeswa 2nd Formers arrived to Emmanyatta so that we could load the vehicles together: 2 Groton kids and about 4 Orkeeswa kids in each car. As we rode in excitement towards the park, we nibbled on caramels and drank Coke. Once we finally entered the actual park, it wasn’t long before we spotted gnus, a resting hippo, ostriches, impalas, antelopes, elephants, and many beautiful birds.
Day two at Orkeeswa! The tree planting planning group made a lot of progress and is very hopeful for our project. In order to learn more about local erosion and ensure the long term success of our efforts, we have been working closely with the community. Today the village elders, the chairman, and the headmistress of Orkeeswa lower school joined us, and we asked them questions to learn about what kinds of plants are best suited to protect the soil.
Today we headed up to The Orkeeswa School for our first routine day with the students. We started paired up with 3-4 Orkeeswa students doing a language exchange. It was super fun and really useful to learn some new Swahili words that we can try out when communicating with other people around town.
Today we went on a scavenger hunt in Monduli with the Orkeeswa kids. We were each paired with two kids and had to complete numerous challenges, including finding Julias, a man who sells eggs and moves around the village, and give him a fist bump. We also had to find a leopard, buy a Tanzanian ginger soda, and buy the best fruit at the everyday market. It was so fun to run around the town and see boda boda’s (motorcycles) riding by, goats on the side of the street, and young children who were eager to say hello!