My Rongo University Chronicles

Day 1 (Meet, Greet and Planning)

Oh, I forgot to say in my blog yesterday, every time I tried to get down to go to sleep on the bus, it just was not happening. The speed bumps on the streets of Kenya are immense. They are so many. The shaky ride didn’t allow me to get down.

Anyway, Today was one of my most tiring days of the trip. I think I was still so exhausted from the long drive to Rongo from Nairobi. I was up at 7am because we had to be up and out the door, waiting for the bus for 8am.

We basically did meet and greet with the students of Rongo, and Jerry gave us a briefing on our task for the week. We got into our various groups and started the planning for the project. I was really chuffed with the students at the Rongo University, as they too were eager to work and get this production under way.

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Trip to Rongo

I was quite excited for this trio because I absolutely love road trips. We had our final breakfast at the stopover and went to finish up our packing. The bus arrived at about 9:30am, and we were on the road by about 10 minutes to 10. I was already expecting it to be a 7 hour drive like Peter already told us, so I managed to get a really comfortable space on the bus. 20 minutes into the journey of me gazing at the scenery and the buildings, I had already started sleeping, which is so typical of me.

About an hour or so into the trip, we got to a really beautiful area called Rift Valley. We stopped to take some pictures. There were two volcanic mountains there like the lady informed me. As we embarked back on our journey we saw some baboons just casually walking on the road. That was funny for me. And I observed on the way, that a lot of animals just roamed the streets. I must say the scenery on our journey, REALLY BEAUTIFUL. Really just reminded me of Lion King. Lol.

After about another 2 and half hours on the bus, we stopped over for some lunch and a wee. When I got there, I observed a massive bird, and being the scaredy cat I am of thing that fly, Peter was kind enough to be my shield. J. Got to the loo, and it was appalling. No clean water to wash your hands and not water to even flush, and yet at the door they were demanding 20 shillings to keep it clean.

Then we got to the actual restaurant to eat. The customer service was poor and the prices were just inflated for nothing. The food looked like nothing to write home about. They mixed up the orders and were not even apologetic. Oscar and I ordered things on the menu that they didn’t have in stock. Instead of them to tell us they didn’t they just watched us sit there until Isabelle (sweet lady from Rongo university that came to pick us up) had to ask about it. I just was not happy about the whole thing that I was not interested in eating what they had to offer, so Isabelle took Oscar and I to another restaurant on the way and we had a takeaway.

After another loo break, we got to Rongo at about 8:30pm. There were some students present to do meet and greet and we had some dinner, Then Mr Jerry took us to the place we would be staying for the week. We all had a glass of wine and went off to sleep.

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Baboon, casually on the road to Rongo

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Rift Valley.

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View from the Rift Valley

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The Pilau rice I had on my Journey

Day 5 (Exhibition and Market Day)

I woke up a bit early today, because Safi had called me from London to tell me that the airline was not letting her and her kids on the flight because their passports were expiring within 6 months, and it is the law not to let them travel out if your passport is expiring within 6 months. So that was a big downer to my morning. I had a slow morning. I had my breakfast late and my shower late. Peter was so sympathetic that morning, because I think he was a bit sad that Safi couldn’t come too.

The girls and I went to the market with Rufus that morning and Peter, Lewes and Oscar stayed home to catch up on sleep and finish up with the editing for the video and radio production.

At the market I got some really good bargains. I got them at a stall from a lady called Pumpkin. She was a really nice lady. All of us got a few bits from the market. We had to leave on time because we needed to make it back in time for the exhibition.

On the way back we stopped over at the view point of Nairobi to take a few pictures. It was such an amazing view of the city.

We picked the boys up and went off to the exhibition. When we got there was a bit of commotion going on, because there were just a lot of events going on at that time. I had a chance to view the amazing images from the photography group, but was not able to watch the video or hear the audio because of all the noise. So we all just mingled and had some snacks, and took some pictures. I enjoyed the day. We all got to relax and wind down.

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Day 4 (Editing Day)

Today was the last day at KU and the Editing day. I was already anticipating all the hard work, and boy was I right. Peter was really helpful with Audacity and making sure I had all the stuff I needed for the editing on the Audacity software. I had never used audacity before, but I was more than eager to learn. Lola assisted me with the basics of the editing tools. We went off to a private room from the other groups, because we needed total silence to really concentrate on the sound.

Lewes was really kind as to lend us his laptop, so we had two devices to work on. Lola and frank worked on one aspect of the recordings (the nutritionists interview) and Noah and I worked on the intro, jingle and music of the show and worked our way through the rest of the interviews. Gosh editing is so not an easy job, it required so much concentration. I found that we needed to really listen into the sound so the production could be perfect.

The day at the university was done, and we still had not finished editing, but we had gone through a fair amount, but Lola and I knew we had so much work to do that evening for the exhibition the next day.

We worked all night till about 2am, Lola and I, I must say make a good team together when it comes to the editing. We finished up, and because we were so tired decided to listen the next morning because the exhibition wasn;t until the afternoon.

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Day 3 (Recording Day)

The weather was starting to get better, there was some sun in sight. J We got to the uni on time, as planned, but most of the KU students and SEMA students had not arrived and Peter was not pleased about that at all. After about half an hour or some, some of the students started trooping in. My group was there at about !0:30, so we went off to the studio to record. This time, the radio studio was booked and we made sure we brought our equipment.

At the studio we did some sound tests and made ourselves familiar with the recorders. We had 4 parts to our show, so we recorded the first and last part and interviewed the nutritionist before lunch. We were supposed to go into the KM community to record the views of the people, but to my joy, Noah had already done it, so we didn’t need to waste any more time, because we were very pressed for time, the last day, was mainly for editing.

As soon as we were done with lunch we were straight back at the studio. I was really eager to get the work done, and I was really excited and happy working with my team. I loved the energy they had. Everyone really seemed to be interested in the show which was good because that would reflect over the recording.. We wrapped up the record at about 4:30pm, and it was time to go by then.

This evening was real experience for me. I didn’t fancy eating anything at the stopover so I went out with Lola, Ben (our chef at the stopover), and Anthony (the KU student that lives in the stopover). We went to the Capital Mall to get a takeaway. Ben told me it was 5 minutes away, so I thought it was just around the corner. This journey involved crossing the motorway. It was so scary, but I did it. We got to the mall and I was really impressed, It had everything, from a massive supermarket, to several restaurants and bars. It was good. Just ordered my pizza and decided to look around. Got into an alcohol store and got some wine and beers for everyone. I realised that the price of alcohol in Kenya was quite expensive and I was told that was because the government doesn’t encourage it’s citizens to drink.

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Day 2 (Planning Day)

Had an alright night last night, first time I slept all night. Getting used to the cabin now, and loving living with everyone.
As usual I loved Ben’s breakfast.

We set off at about 8:15am today, got to the university and most of the students were already there.

Today we were supposed to be recording for our radio show, but we forgot the audio recorders at home. That seemed like a let down but, it allowed us to work on the structure of our show. We had 2 new people join our group which was great. So the audio group had me, lola, noah, frank, noel, akuya and vigilance. Vigillance and Akuya had decided to be the hosts of the show, and everyone was more that happy with that. I put together to structure of the show which everyone agreed on, and Noel got the nutritionist we would interview for the show. Everything was starting to come together.

Due to the fact that we forgot our equipment, Shikuku had organised for us to go to the university’s radio station to record. We got there and it was an absolute waste of time because we ended up waiting there for about 45mins and no one attended to us. At the end of the day, I decided that we should just go back to our room, and we just record tomorrow when we have our equipment.

As usual there was traffic home. Lol. We decided to stopover at a supermarket to get some dinner. I had some pilau rice and beans which Oscar introduced me to. It was quite Yum!

Was so pleased to be back at our stopover so I could chill and relax for the evening.

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My Kenyatta University Experience (Day 1)

The journey to the university was a bit long, nothing like I expected. The traffic in Kenya is immense. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. When we got there, I was really amazed by the university. Really big, and I was impressed with the security.

We arrived at the university and it was a really really warm welcome. We were welcomed by Mr Emmanuel Shikuku and the SEMA media people (Fred) were also in attendance. We did some meeting and greeting and we mixed within the difference groups.

Peter gave a 2hr lecture, which I got a recording of, and would be good for my essay, lol. Then we had an ice breaker which was a game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ which was great fun. Then we got mixed up in groups to brain storm of what community means to us.

We had some lunch which consisted of soup, rice, ugali, rice and chicken. It was decent. 🙂

After lunch we were put in groups according to our skills, I am in the audio group. We brainstormed for a few hours and decided to focus our radio show on food and hygiene because that was a real sensitive issue for the students in the KM community.

The day ended at about 5pm, I was a bit exhausted, but I enjoyed the day, and in normal Kenyan fashion, there was traffic on the way home. I didn’t mind it because I got to view the city a bit.

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(Entrance to Kenyatta University)

Maasai Mara – Goodbye Kenya!

 

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Our last two days spent in Kenya were incredible. What a way to end an amazing trip with a great group of people! On Sunday morning we drove 4 hours on the old Rongo School bus down to Narok where we met Rufus, who picked us up with his drivers in two safari vans ready to go to the Maasai Mara. The Mara was signposted as an 80km drive away from Narok. I think we travelled about 10km on tarmac before going 4wd on slanted, dusty, rocky road. I loved it though; it was the start to an awesome safari adventure and the best end to the CM4K trip. Pete, Elle, Lewes and I shared the first van, and before we had even got to the Mara (game park) we saw so many game animals (Zebras, Giraffes, Vervet Monkeys, Gazelle, Warthogs and Wilder Beast). This was my day! I felt so emotional; ecstatic and excited to say the least. Being able to see all these beautiful animals, wild in their natural environment was mind-blowing. Driving through Maasai land was a whole other encounter on its own. I had a strong sense of admiration sparking through my body while driving through the deserted villages and land owned by the Maasai people. The Maasai appear so strong-willed compared to other tribes in Kenya, as they continue to practice their ancient customs, traditions and rituals by living a very simple and peaceful way of life. Where cattle are their everything, and temptations and prizes offered by the West are refused.

We arrived at our camp – the coolest tents with thatched roofs and built in bathrooms that looked like caves. We stopped for a quick coffee and to drop our luggage off and then got straight back into the pop-top safari van, to catch some more wildlife before the sun went down. The Maasai Mara is one of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. The views and sunset were breathtaking. It was an amazing way to end the CM4K trip. The following morning we went out for a safari between 7am and 12pm, before heading back to Nairobi Airport (5 hours drive) to get our flight in the evening. I think I have gained a lot from the trip – knowledge, experience and especially friendship. It’s so sad that it has come to an end already. I will be back Kenya! Next year maybe 😉 x

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Thank you Kenya and CM4K

Hey guys, well I write you from the cosiness of my own bedroom. My bedroom seems like it is the size of an entire Kenyan house. Being back in the UK is quite extraordinary, we have travelled so much over the last 24 hours. Finally made it, Brighton, it seems as if a couple shops have opened up and some house have had a fresh coat of paint. Time ticks along even when one is not around.

DSCF9472.jpgAnyway, the last couple of days, we spent time in the Maasai Mara which was absolutely stunning. It is an area near Rift valley (birth of human kind) that is government owned, but highly managed, controlled and inhabited by the Maasai. I have no photographs of them because they don’t want to have their photo taken just for the sake of entertainment or capturing some strange dress code. Fair enough… Just to give you an idea, the Maasai wear bright orange and blue patterned cloth, lots of beads and stretch their earlobes. They live in this beautiful plain, with their cattle, elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions. No fear. These guys are fearless, the lions fear the Maasai. I often saw the Maassai in bright orange cloth walking across vast green plain. I have a lot of respect for this tribe, they seemed to be uninterested in material wealth which is what we chase in the west. The Maasai seemed to be self-sustaining and living in harmony with their environment. I am not suggesting that everybody should give up their life and go join the Maasai in the Mara. However, I do think that we can learn a great deal from people living like this. They have their head screwed on in a lot of ways that we (the west) don’t.

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Finally, I just wanted to say a big thank you to the whole CM4k crew which made the experience wonderful (the ones who came to Kenya and those who couldn’t). I had a fantastic experience that I am currently digesting (literally…i have a bad stomach). I am so happy that I could be part of this experience and build solid friendship while experiencing a foreign culture ! ASANTE SANA DSCF9415.JPG