Sunday, June 24, 2012

We are all back in our own homes (and more importantly, beds!) and trying to unfold the experiences from the past two weeks for our family and friends.  I wanted to take a moment to tell everyone just how proud I am of our students and how privileged I feel that I was there to witness them in Kenya.  Whatever the circumstance, these kids jumped in whole-heartedly.  They bonded as a group, encouraged one another to stretch out of their comfort zones, made new friendships with the kids in Olioka, laughed a lot, cried a bit, were respectful and positive each step of the journey.

Our last night camping in the Mara, we stood in a circle and each of us had a chance to share what they were "taking away" from the experience in Kenya.   This was a special moment.  The things the kids shared were very deep and very genuine.  They spoke about how they learned so much about themselves and who they are; many talked about new friendships made with BC students or with Kenyans; some shared that they have a new perspective of the world, what it means to be happy and appreciative of all they have; some were leaving not only with fulfillment but passion about their own future and what they can do to help; and many spoke about how they are leaving more open minded and willing to take chances.   A transformative experience indeed!

Kenya is a very special place.......the Great Rift Valley, the Masai Mara with incredible animals but most of all because of the people who live there.  Parents, thanks for trusting us with your kids……it is a big trip but one that is well worth it.  I look forward to seeing everyone in the fall.

Ms. Smith

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello Berkeley Carroll parents!

We heard from the group and they have arrived safely in Dubai. Their flight to NY is currently on time. Below is the flight information, we will post again if anything changes!

2:55 AM      Depart Dubai (DXB) Airport on Emirates Flight EK0203.
                   Arrive New York (JFK) Airport 8:15 AM. 

Lizzy Leighty
Program Coordinator, World Leadership School

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We left Oloika early this morning after a quick breakfast and heartfelt goodbyes and headed back to Masai Lodge. Upon arrival we ate a quick lunch and then relaxed for four hours, appreciating toilets, beds and showers more than we ever thought we would. As we went downstairs for dinner, we noticed men dressed in the Masai garments, and who engaged in a conversation using the Maa words we had learned throughout the past week. We ended up parading around the lodge with the Masai men and the rest of the hotel until we ended up at a manyatta, or Masai party space, in the woods. They entertained us for a bit, translating the Masai speaker for the other guests of the hotel and then we all ate the biggest meals of our lives (No joke! Some men asked when the last time we ate was!) Apparently this wasn't just a dinner... The festivities included a mock wedding, and Ms. Smith nearly got remarried as a third wife to our host, Ole Mombasa. Fortunately, Mr. Blakley swooped in and saved her. Lily was engaged to his son! Just when we thought the night couldn't get any more interesting, they believed that Adam (Simmy) was a famous rapper from the U.S.A. They proceeded to have "Adam Simba" rap for them. This was followed by lots of music. Yes, we had a dance party in Kenya. Imagine a bar/bat mitzvah/disco club- with music by Kanye West, Dr. Dre, LMFAO, etc. (it's the annoying songs your kids all listen to, such as 'PARTY ROCK IS IN THE HOUSE TONIGHT'). Now add Brandon (Mr. Clarke) fist bumping. Who ever thought we would end up rocking out to this music in the middle of Nairobi?  It's an early night for everyone (we're 7 hours ahead on Kenya time) because we have a 5 hour drive to start our safari tomorrow.  Goodnight! Go OKC Thunder! (the only connection we have to the outside world is the NBA finals...priorities...)  Becca and Simmy 

More Pictures

Monday, June 18, 2012

Final day in Oloika

Today was a bittersweet day because it was our final day in Oloika.  We traveled our usual path to the worksite and added the finishing touches to our wall.  This included mortaring countless stones and mixing excessive amounts of cement.  Before we knew it, our work was over, our project completed, and our stomachs grumbling for a tasty lunch.  We ate traditional Kenyan ugali (balls of dense corn meal) and used our artistic skills to braid and knit bracelets and decorate cards for the children in the community we had befriended in the past six days.  By the end of our lunch break, we began to pack and braced for the closing ceremony and goodbyes we had to say.
The closing ceremony was comprised of a number of heartfelt speeches made both by members of the Maasai community and our group.  We were also treated to some traditional folk songs and dances performed by the students of Oloika primary school.  As always, the costumes, singing, dancing, and smiles on the performers’ faces warmed our hearts and sent us off with a joyful memory.  The women in the community then presented each of us with gifts of intricate, handcrafted, beaded jewelry to express their gratitude for our services.  In exchange, Brandon presented them with a book of photos of the construction Berkeley Carroll has done alongside the Maasai community in the past couple of years.  Following the closing ceremony, the Maasai women held a marketplace full of traditional Maasai objects and accessories where we tried our hand at bargaining in order to find the perfect souvenirs for ourselves as well as all of you.  The hardest part was our final walk down the rocky, dirt path with all of the friends from Oloika whom we had formed such strong connections with in such a short amount of time.  After taking multiple photos, exchanging bracelets, and repeatedly sharing warm embraces and handshakes, we had to come to terms with the fact that we were leaving this remarkable community and that this amazing experience was coming to an end.  The atmosphere during dinner and our nightly ANCHOR session left us all sad yet appreciative that we had gotten to enjoy such a once in a lifetime adventure.  We want you all to know how grateful we are that you sent us here, and we’ll see you soon.

Much love from Kenya,
-Jada and Sophia


We are writing about yesterday because we didn’t have any internet. First off, happy belated Father’s day! LOVE YOU DADDY!! Yesterday was Tim’s 17th birthday, and our off day. We celebrated by sleeping in! Our last group of homestayers, including Tim, came back in the morning while we were eating breakfast. For his birthday we used digestive cookies, covered in Nutella and rainbow sprinkles, to create a cake. Then we got ready to go to the Sunday church service at the school. It wasn’t exactly what you’d find in NYC. There was a lot of singing done by our students and the students at the school. Everything was upbeat and joyous. After that, we returned back to camp for an afternoon of bracelet making, journaling, and relaxation. Then at around 4 o’clock, we left camp to go to a hot spring. It wasn’t what most of us expected, the water was boiling hot, and left salt residue on our skin. Only a few of us were able to go all the way in. Once we had had enough of the heat, we set up a competitive makeshift volleyball match on the “beach.” Everyone was involved, and Shani showed his competitive spirit. On our drive back to camp, we spotted a jackal and a zebra. Once we arrived back at camp, we all hopped in the shower, and got ready for dinner. As a part of Tim’s birthday celebration, we got soda and cake at dinner. After dinner, we met with some of the leaders of the community, and asked them questions. Before we went to bed, we had a quick one-worded ANCHOR, and then went off to bed!
It was a much needed off day, but we were all ready to get back to work for our last day. Miss you guys, hope you had a great Father’s day!
Much love from Kenya,
-Isabella and Eliza

P.S. Attention Betty (Eliza’s mother)! I left my bathing suit at the Masai Lodge while we were packing to come here, and I’m going to need you to bring me one of my bathing suits out of my partly packed suitcase as well as a new pair of flip flops. Thanks! –Eliza

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday, June 16

Rafiki Team Leaders for the day: Shane and D

The team members of Kenya 2012 are getting so close to completing our goal of completing construction of a cistern. Today we completed another level of the cistern and we started to make the sides of it level so that receiving water will be an easier task. We got a lot of work done today because not only did our group have so much effort and energy, but also school wasn’t in session (it’s Saturday here just to let you guys back home know….) so there weren’t many kids visiting us at the work site. Our new friends John and Titus did come visit us, and that showed all of us how deep of a connection we have with them because they came to school even when they didn’t have to. The homestays have been such an amazing experience for all of us who have gone (2 out of 3 groups). We have been immersed in cultural singing and dancing, and living the way of the Maasai for a night, which is an amazing experience that we will treasure forever. Tomorrow we are excited about being able to sleep in because Sunday is our day off, and we plan to have a day of relaxation at the nearby hot springs. That will be a treat. WE ARE SO EXCITED!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hi Everybody! We've been in Oloika for 2 days now. We've been working on building a cistern, which included pick axing (Lily's favorite), shoveling rocks out of the pit, and moving water into a tank. We've gotten opportunities to play with the kids of the Oloika Primary School, and even got the chance to sit in on and teach a couple of classes. Yesterday we challenged the kids to a game of soccer, which ended in a loss on our part (1-0), but it was still a great time. Tonight we sent off our first group home stay goers: Deandra, Rebecca, Ms. Smith, Cole, Maitreya, Shane, and Mr. Blakley. Everyone is very excited to hear about their experiences tomorrow! Anyway, everyone is having a fantastic time, and most don't want to leave.

Hope you're having as much fun as we are back home!
                     - Tim and Lily

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good morning! We've been having some technical issues, so blogging has been a challenge. We hope to post more consistently over the next few days.

Everyone is doing well; yesterday we did some great work on the cistern and, after watching dance rehearsal (more to follow!), we played a game of soccer with students from Oloika Primary School. Tonight we'll start homestays.

As a faculty member, I have to say how proud I am of this amazing group of students. The students' work ethic, openness and thoughtfulness is making this an incredible experience for everyone.

Monday, June 11, 2012


After about 24 hours hours of travel we finally arrived at the Masai Lodge. Everyone managed to latch on to the different time zone immediately, so by the time we said goodnight to our leaders, we were all more than ready to sleep….for a long long time. Or so we thought. Adam brought a light up frisbee so after dinner we thought that we could toss it around a few times then head off to sleep. Around the Masai Lodge there are friendly guards keeping watch of the grounds at night. As we were throwing the frisbee, one of them stopped, and started watching us. He spoke little English, yet he was watching how we threw the frisbee and was repeating those actions in the air. We showed him how to throw, and soon he became part of our game, laughing and running. Three more guards came and even though none of them had seen a frisbee before, we somehow managed to form this bond. After a long night, and saying goodbye to our new friends, we finally went to bed. 

After an early breakfast, we went off to see an elephant and rhino orphanage.  On the way there we saw baboons everywhere.  It is crazy to think how the locals see them the way we see pigeons!!!  Upon arrival, we watched elephants as young as 3 months old being bottle fed, and we even had the chance to pet them! That's definitely not an experience you get to have every day!

After a delicious lunch, we walked to an incredible glass factory called Kitengela. On the way there we had to cross a bridge. Now for anyone afraid of heights (which was half of our group), this was scary. Imagine two cliffs. Now put a river about 50yards under us. Add a narrow cable bridge that we had to cross slowly and in small groups from one side to the other. (Our leaders assured us the bridge was very safe.) Once on the other side we traveled through a wonderland of whimsical glass and ceramic pieces. On our way back we had to cross the bridge yet again. After we got back we went swimming and Benno destroyed everyone in Bananagrams. To end a perfect yet long night, we had dinner and another group chat where we discussed our goals and fears for the trip.

On to a long day of travel to Oloika tomorrow!
Becca and Benno 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Students are in Kenya!

Hello everyone! The students and all of their luggage has safely arrived in Kenya. The students are heading to Masai Lodge to relax and have some dinner. They will be heading to the glass factory tomorrow! They will start updating the blog tomorrow!

Erin Lasky
Program Director

We're here! We have arrived safely and excitedly at Masai Lodge and are just gathering for dinner. It's beautiful watching the sun set from the lodge's veranda. Students will post after tomorrow's full day of activities.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kenya, Here We Come!

Exams are over. We've raised in excess of $3500 to purchase building materials. Now it's just a matter of packing and getting on Saturday morning's flight.  


Everyone is excited, including Shani, our country coordinator, who was in NYC and came to graduation!

Assuming all goes smoothly, we'll land in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon. We'll post confirmation of safe landings in Dubai and in Nairobi from the respective airports, and start blogging shortly thereafter. Stay tuned!