6 nights, 7 days, 16 seniors, 3 adult leaders, 1 20-seater bus and 1 awesome bus-driver; put it all together and throw in bungee jumping, white-water rafting, rock climbing, repelling through a waterfall, cliff jumping, camel riding, milking, and eating; this all adds up to a pretty amazing experience, right?
Well, when these guys are assigned to hike with you for protection, you know you’re in for excitement. Better to be safe than sorry should the scenario arise where we cross paths with a cape buffalo…or bull elephant…or leopard…or lion. It’s important to arrive without incident so that you can jump off cliffs for the morning’s activity.
In the course of one afternoon we chilled at a chimpanzee sanctuary and then posed for selfies within feet of the last living male of the Northern White Rhino species ON THE PLANET. Later, we shoveled his dung. That’s what you call scarce scat.
If you were a camel at our Northern-most stop in Laikipia County, you were either on our dinner menu as a burger, on our breakfast menu as a sausage, milked by one of us just after sunrise, or our mode of transportation through the deserts of central Kenya. 50% of those options weren’t terrible (if you’re the camel).
This was truly a “bucket list” trip. One of our students had always wanted to be in two places at once. She nailed it by standing in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere at the same time!
You know it’s a good day when you have to wait for an elephant to cross the road before passing and you get to snap a photo of 4 sleeping rhinos.
Then there was the visit to a tree-house restaurant; while waiting for our meal, we hung out with some of the locals (we didn’t see the sign until later…I promise)
Most of the week, we were within sight of Mount Kenya – a pretty spectacular backdrop, and the actual mountain that another group of students from RVA were climbing while we gazed up at it.
We petted and fed a blind rhino and learned about conservancy in a room full of artifacts and animal bones with signs that begged us to interact.
We hiked, we camped, we drove and we slept.
Each night devotions were led by a pair of students and we all shared what God was teaching us around the campfire.
We herded, counted and sprayed cattle for ticks. We climbed and belayed.
We plummeted from varying heights, always wearing our safety equipment with a smile :)
A primary school welcomed us with open arms, showing off their newly acquired technology while we shared our dancing “skills”. Another quick visit to a local village tested our ability to move rhythmically to music as well.
It was the most exhausting yet rewarding excursion in memory. We bonded, we sang, we got sick of each other, we shared, we cried, and we got dehydrated.
We drove six hours on a rocky desert road at an average speed of about 10 kilometers per hour without ONCE stopping to pee (perhaps the best demonstration of our state of dehydration).
We were stretched WAY outside our comfort zones, we were challenged and encouraged, we stood in awe of our Creator as we marveled at His creation. We learned a lot, ate well, drank too little, and slept better than expected. We sang loudly, laughed often, and grew closer as friends.
Overall, I’d say our field trip* was a success**, eh?
*This was just one of several trips that RVA’s junior and senior classes take each March, called Interims. Our group traveled within Kenya while other destinations included Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, and many more. One of the goals is for the students to experience a different part of Africa from the context that their parents work and serve in. Another aim is to learn about a current issue affecting the lives of those we visit – our team focused on conservation and the unique struggles that arise between government agencies attempting to preserve “wild” Africa and land owners trying to earn a living. It was fascinating to hear from both sides of the same issue.
**Success on a week-long adventure like this was only possible thanks to a gift provided by our family. A quick shout-out to the Meyers clan, specifically my awesome sister, Rachel, for loving on our kids while we were away. Check out their adventure in Kenya too.