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Year 12 pupil reaches #2...23 May 2013
News from the boys...23 May 2013
Staff Fundraising Update...22 May 2013
12 students participate...22 May 2013
News from the Medics...21 May 2013
Saturday, 15 Oct 2011
After a long flight, we arrived in Nairobi. We were all excited about the events that were about to unfold before us. Just the coach journey to our first campsite provided us with a taste of what Kenya held for us; we saw a couple of zebras grazing the plains and also managed to see a fantastic view of the National Park we were going to visit – and we hadn’t even set up tents yet.
Our acclimatisation trek was up Mount Longonot – an extinct volcano that possesses an enormous crater at the peak holding an entire forest. As the peak was at 2776m, it gave us an idea of what it would be like to trek at altitude and to know our limits. The peak of Mount Kenya – our final challenge of the expedition – was at 4985m. We could all see we had a huge challenge ahead of us. However there was excitement an eagerness to go higher; we all looked forward to the challenge of Mount Kenya.
The next day, we visited Hell’s Gate National Park. It gave us the opportunity to see close up zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and warthogs in their natural habitat. We decided to then take a water safari on Lake Naivasha. It gave us the chance to see a vast array of exotic birds such as the pied kingfisher and pelicans, and also to see hippopotamus. At the end of the day, a lot of memory space on our cameras had been filled, and we had only been in country three days!
The next day, we made our trip to Londiani, a town towards the South-West of Kenya to do our Project Phase. We were to help out a school that an ex-teacher from Royal Grammar School was working in. However, the rain had meant that the roads had become waterlogged and marshy, so we had to walk 3km to the school and our campsite. This gave us a great opportunity to talk to the students who had come to greet us and showed us the way to the school. We found out more about the Kenyan lifestyle, and we found it a useful insight into their way of life so that later conversations would be easier to understand. The project involved nailing hardboards to a complex wooden frame that had been built beforehand to make a ceiling for the classroom. This may not sound like much, but when it rains on the corrugated iron roofs, it is like someone in the classroom smashing a load of cymbals about – it makes it impossible to hear the person next to you, and makes it impossible to teach a class. The hardboard ceiling would act as a soundproof barrier. Later on, when it was all finished, and the headmaster was giving his thanks to us in a presentation, it rained but no-one noticed it. It just proved how beneficial our work had been with the school, and everyone was happy. We left a few days after, having had a great time with the students, and a wonderful cultural experience including a night spent at the students’ houses.
We then visited the Masai Mara – after the trip, most of our team reflected on it as being the best part of the trip. We were so lucky to have had the safari that day – we saw four of the Big Five in just an hour. Our guide told us that people spend several days here to see what we just saw, including one of only twenty black rhinos in the Park, a pack of seven cheetahs, and some lions on their honeymoon. The only animal we had failed to see that day was the elusive leopard, which remained so for the rest of the trip.
And finally, Mount Kenya loomed ahead of us. I, personally, had been looking forward to the mountain trek. The changing landscape of the trek was interesting. The vegetation got more and more simplistic as we climbed higher and higher, until there was just rock. The landscape was barren as we reached 4500m. There were no signs of wildlife anywhere, not even plants could survive at this altitude. The pace got slower and slower as the air got thinner and thinner. No-one had got major altitude sickness, and all was going smoothly with the trek. The final morning of the climb was the toughest day of all.
The snowstorm that had occurred the previous night meant that the conditions were more dangerous and very cold. We kept pushing, and eventually screamed with victory as we reached the top, and a lot of photos were taken that day – a momentous occasion for all of us, and something that will last a lifetime.
After we had descended the mountain, and the air was thick again, we went white water rafting and visited the restaurant Carnivore as part of our R&R. Both of these were fantastic, and so we left the country having overcome many worthwhile challenges, enjoyed the breaks we had in between, and formed friendships with each other. It was a truly amazing trip.
Source: Ben Passmore Year 12