Throughout the past week, the Groton and St. Mark’s students have been participating in their service projects. Together with Orkeeswa, we have been working to level ground for a second football (soccer) field. Football is a widely popular sport here at Orkeeswa. The students compete in football games twice a week, even during the off-season. On Wednesday, after spending some time with a few students shoveling and others carrying buckets of dirt across the field, we lined up in a big loop and worked as an assembly line. The last hour or so of the work flew by, just like the dirt that sometimes spilled out of a misplaced bucket. Meanwhile, those who worked in the garden were tasked with digging a meter-deep trench to catch water during the wet season and direct it for irrigation. We have made great progress and are halfway done!
Yesterday, as a break from the everyday routine, we headed out with Orkeeswa second formers (eighth graders) on safari. The two-hour drive to the park gates was well worth it when we got our first glimpses of zebras out in the plains. Outside the parking lot, monkeys were jumping around with bananas gleaned from unsuspecting safari vehicles while the humans were using the restrooms. Dust flying up in our faces, we stood up on our seats in the safari truck to look out at the scenery. We saw female lions basking by a watering hole, waiting for thirsty prey to wander into their midst. A herd of zebras stood behind as the lions slept but disappeared when they awoke. A family of warthogs came by for a drink, and the lions stood at attention, but no one made a move. We happened upon a massive group of migrating zebras; some of the second formers started to count, but they gave up when we saw just how far the sea of black and white stretched. Families of elephants crossed the road right in front of the vehicles with their babies in tow, unafraid of us. During our picnic lunch, ruthless monkeys hovered in the trees above us, waiting to make their moves. A few were successful in abducting more bananas, even when people were right next to them. Unfortunately, we did not see any giraffes, but the countless other animals made up for our disappointment.
After a long drive back to Monduli, the group trekked over to the Thursday market, a spread of merchants selling goods from fresh tomatoes to beaded necklaces to full-length dresses. It was an exciting end to an exhausting day, during which we got a taste of what it is like to be a tourist!
By Macy and Isabelle