Blogs 4-5 #MulgraveKenya

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July 17th, 2016

We arose in the early hours of dawn today; 4:30 to be exact! Incredibly, our staff had risen even earlier to cook us an excellent breakfast prior to our departure an hour later… onto the road to head to the savannah, where we’d begin our safari! It was a fairly tedious, four-hour bumpy ride, however upon arriving we were greeted to an almost Jurassic Park-like introduction to the trek! In the distance we watched as bison, wildebeest, and giraffes roamed about. Then, out of nowhere, countless zebras began popping up one by one, surrounding the lorry with us in it! As the journey continued, we were even more stunned as beautiful giraffes began appearing mere metres from our vehicle; a theme park indeed! They stared at us while chewing the leaves of tall and exotic trees, many of us hopping to opposite sides of the bus to snap photos. After that it only became more incredible, with: gazelles, antelopes, impalas, hogs, and even an elusive cheetah passing us by at one point or another. We may have made some puns along the way…

I tawt i saw a kitty kat – I did, I did see a cheetah kitty kat. Be vewwyyy vewwwyyy quiet, its a wabbit. Is wat a woad wunner? Or is it a wostrich?

When it was one o’clock in the afternoon, we went to a river in the savannah and had our lunch together with the hippos, their heads bobbing up and down like wack-a-moles. We were warned however not to near them as hippos are extremely dangerous–as well as extremely fast! After lunch we roamed around a little longer, searching for a lion or elephant to cap off our safari with a blast! Though we unfortunately didn’t achieve this goal, we were all quite satisfied having already seen so many incredible and majestic creatures! Afterwards, we headed to a camp different from our usual site for a night sleeping in bomas (traditional Maasai homes), as well as listening to one of our incredible accompanying locals named Livingstone, as he detailed the Maasai culture and his experiences as part of the beautiful but sadly dying group. Sitting around a campfire, we all listened attentively to his stories, before recounting some highlights of the day and heading off to bed!

July 19th, 2016

After waking up from the boma, we surprisingly found how warm it was. The first thing in the morning, as always, was fighting for the CHAI TEA. The facilitators told us that there would be two mamas coming to teach us beading. However, during the interval when we were waiting for them, we played a game called “capture the ruler”. We all started sweating after two rounds of the game so when the beading started, it calmed us down. The mamas first introduced us to the history of beading and how much they appreciated Me to We’s help in creating alternative incomes for their families. We were all really excited to experience their daily life. We were given a tray of beads and tools such as needles, strings and the stretchable strings. The bracelets that we were making were called “Rafikis”, the word that means “friends” in Swahili. At first, we all imagined this to be an easy job, well, to be honest, it was easy for those who chose not to organize the beads in a certain pattern. However, for most of us, who chose to arrange the beads in a certain pattern, the challenge was to pick beads that we actually wanted to put together. Although it was a tough task, everyone enjoyed being creative and just concentrate on what we were doing. We heard really cool stories with wonderful morals from Aiden and Torean on our table, which made us feel that the time was passing really quickly. By the end of the session, some of us finished the rafikis off, while the others didn’t. However, we had to call it a day because we had tight schedules and the mamas needed to go and work with another group.

Shortly after we headed to the Duka which was a small shop that allowed us to purchase local souvenirs. Some of us bought rafikis, bracelets, necklaces, and colourful pants but everyone rushed to buy the Kenyan black tea with masala (ingredients to make Chai Tea). It did not take more than 5 minutes until the entire stock of tea boxes and masala seasonings was wiped clean. By the time we returned to camp, it was already past 5 and none of us had realized we have not ate lunch. We quickly ate a hot spaghetti lunch at around 5:30 pm and had free time until dinner at 8. Most people spent the time playing more card games and magic tricks, while others went to take a shower before joining the card-playing frenzy. Dinner marked the end of our crazy adventure, as we took no time to dive into our soft and comfortable beds prepared by our staff each day. Thank you for joining us again on our daily adventurous blogs.

Kevin, Chelsea, Fanny, and Boris signing off

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Blog 3 #MulgraveKenya

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July 16th, 2016

Our day starts with the noise of the boys. We are surprised by how energetic they were, waking up before the sunrise to take photos and playing cards. After breakfast, we took a really “long” hike to the building site, which took us almost 2 minutes. The Fundi (boss of our worksite) gave our group the task of digging/breaking the trench. We were divided into 2 groups, one shovelling and the other pickaxing. We (Chelsea and Fanny) were in the group of shovelling. Basically our job was to shovel out the soil that the pickaxer broke. Aiden demonstrated to the shovelling group the safe way to put down a shovel while the pickaxing group was putting on steel-toes and helmets. We started working right after that. The work was harder than we thought due to the hard soil and the dust brought by the wind. But personally, we were really impressed by the teamwork, as no one was complaining about the hot weather and sore backs/arms. Everyone actively looks for other places to work after finishing at their spot. We were really glad that our group was really supportive of each other and we made the trench twice as deep as it was before. All the teachers were working as hard as we were, especially Ms. By, who were constantly looking for places to shovel. The facilitators were always cheering on us. It was really cute how the kids were sitting in a line during their break to watch us working. In order to not be dehydrated, we had water breaks every 30 minutes, the pickaxers and shovelers also switched roles when they wanted to. After working, we all got dirt all over ourselves, but we are all proud of what we accomplished.

Then came lunch time.

— Chelsea and Fanny

Our lunch started with a call from Ms.By. We sat down and prepared for a very delicious meal consisting of buns, fruits, and vegetable sandwiches that the fantastic cooks prepared for us. After lunch we had free time and most of the group stayed in the mess tent playing cards. We played cards from 12:30pm until 3pm, which I thought was way too long. At 3pm we climbed into a very large green safari truck which we took to visit the Kishan Health Centre where we learned all about the medical facilities people in the region have access to. We learned about the dental facility, the eye centre, the laboratory, and the wide range of medicine that were stored in the pharmacy. We also learned that thanks to Me to We and the Kishan Medical Centre, the health of people in the communities around the centre have improved dramatically in the last few years. Afterwards, we traveled back to the camp and had more free time to organize and clean ourselves after a long morning and afternoon. Some showered and others resumed their card games. Not long after was the time for dinner, an event that all of us had looked forward to since the beginning of the day since the cooks were fantastics and served hot and delicious food every day. We were served a hot meal including freshly made buns with butter/jam, hot naan bread with beans, and rhubarb to satisfy our spoiled 3-course meal expectations. After dinner we had some free time to prepare for a programming session with the Me to We facilitators. Most of us continued our card-playing frenzy during this 30 minutes. At 7:30, we were introduced into an extremely educational and informative but yet entertaining activity of learning about the possible diseases and viruses people acquire in Kenya. We focused on learning the treatments and preventative measures of the diseases, but the learning was carried out through the form of a game which made it a fun experience. Most of us immediately hit the pillows after the programming after due to such a jam-packed day, but we could also hear others scream frantically at bugs trapped in their tents. 10 minutes into being dismissed to sleep we heard a high-pitched shriek, and I had thought one of our peers had faced fatal danger, but it turned out to be David seeing a spider. Overall, it was a great day.

— Boris and Kevin

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Blogs 1 and 2 #ThirdPersonThursday #MulgraveKenya

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July 14th, 2016

First of all, Aiden Carere would like to point out that today (July 14th) has now been designated Third Person Thursday, where everyone must refer to themselves and others–with liberal rules–in third
person, so know that you are listening to Aiden Carere himself, who iscurrently referring to himself in third person. So yesterday was Mulgrave’s first full day in Kenya, and it was an absolute blast! Weall began by rising bright and early due to our jet lag, before being greeted with an excellent breakfast prepared by the hosts! After that, Mulgrave went over some logistical stuff including community code and a build site safety regarding such things as how to properly handle tools and scanning out the site! Then, as lunch rolled around, Mulgrave commenced its one-on-ones with the brilliant facilitators Kim and Kelly, where we discussed our inspirations for coming on the trip, any action plans we had in mind, and personal passions!

Torean would like to remind Aiden how the sunrise that Mulgrave group saw in the morning rise was symbolic of dawn of not only a new day, but a new experience on the horizon. As well Torean would like to casually mention that Aiden only thinks the rules are liberal as otherwise he would be in direct opposition to the game’s rules. For examples “so know that you are” includes the word “you” which, being in second person, directly violates the rules of third person Thursday. In continuing in description of the Kenya Mulgrave group journey, the group learned basic Kiswahili. One interesting insight to Torean was that on of his sister’s favourite teas -tchai tea- translates into Kenya into Tchai Tchai, the Kiswahili word for tea is Tchai.

Jae was particularly fond of the school tours, which included a guide through the old and slightly ruined schools of clay walls and ragged floors and the flourishing new schools that provide students with far better quality materials to engage them and provide the best opportunity to learn with! After the group was able to spend some time interacting and playing with the kids, with: soccer, frisbee, catch, singing, and a variety of other games. It was a bummer to have to leave, and we hope to see them again soon!

Ms. By is enjoying Third Person Thursday as much (if not more) than the students. Many a laughshave been shared as the group navigates emoting in the third person. The windows of time between activities have been spent playing many card games. Ms. By is really looking
forward to the adventure ahead, and promises that the next blog will not be in the third person. Thank you for indulging in the fun.

July 15th, 2016

Our second day in Kenya began with a early morning start. Waking up at 6:00, we began taking photos of the sunrise with various cameras. Personally, I was shooting a time-lapse of the sunrise using my camera, which will be used in our Kenya video upon our return. After breakfast, the group experienced the water walk, a traditional everyday chore for Kenyan woman and children. Each jerry can was filled with 20L of water, and carried two kilometres uphill to the destination. I found this to be very challenging, as it requires a lot of strength from the arm and neck. It took the group one hour to walk there and back, while the normal time for this trip would be 30 minutes for a Kenyan woman. As the group walked uphill, children observed quietly from the sides. Everyone fell into silence as the group realized the reality of this chore for woman and children. I was shocked at the times a Kenyan woman have to collect water every day, with an average of 10 times a day, or five hours spent collecting water. This activity really inspired me to conserve water, as later that day I used half a bucket of water instead of a full bucket to shower. Through this activity it further increased my awareness of this crisis, and pushed me to save water whenever I can in the future.

The day had just begun at this point, we still had lots of other intriguing things to cover. For example, we met the Founder and CEO of Me to We; Craig Kielburger. He gave us an intensive speech that explained his life story and the mentors that he grew up believing in. First of all, the person that made him create the entire organization was Iqbal Masih. Who was from Pakistan and was killed because of his opposing actions in the realm of child labour. He did this by protesting around the world to give awareness to the issue and make people think about it for themselves. Unfortunately, when Iqbal returned to his homeland he was killed by one of the employers at the company where he worked at. Craig found the article in the Toronto Star when he was 12 years old, completely saddened by it and thought that he had to do something to stop this from happening again. So, a
group of twelve year olds from his class started fundraising to start their own non-profit movement (Me to We). Selling cold soda on the street to fund the cause, just to help other people in need and start something that inevitably gained mass and recognition in the future. Starting a movement that will forever help children stay safe and receive an education when might not have if this didn’t begin. All of us found him very inspirational in many ways, by motivating the whole audience. We left at a later time, making it back to camp for dinner and eventually reflected on the points that Craig had to say.

Isaac and Jerry L

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Kenya Trip Update – Jan 22 2016

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STUDENT MEETINGS ARE IMPORTANT
The next student meeting is Jan 28 3.45 in 1039. It is very important that as many students as possible come. We will be reviewing leadership groups and finalizing Kenya Gear.
LEADERSHIP ROLE SELECTION: DO IT NOW PLEASE
At the next meeting, students will also discuss what they’re going to do for their leadership role(s) with others. Students are asked to please complete the leadership selection form here as soon as possible.
ORDER GEAR NOW
We also need you to provide us with your t-shirt size (cost included in your program fee) and your decision regarding whether you would like to order and trip hoodie with your name stitched on the sleeve. If you choose to get a hoodie, we need you to indicate your size preference… if you don’t know your size, you can come to my room to check out samples. The cost of the hoodie Is not finalized yet; it is likely around $45-50.NOTE: If you do not order you shirt size I will just guess your size order for you. You will not get a hoodie unless you order one.
TRIP DOC ACCESS: PASSWORD PROTECTED & MULGRAVE GOOGLE ACCOUNTPlease note: your trip docs posted on the Kenya Trip resource page are now password protected (password shared via email). Please DO NOT share this password beyond our group so we can ensure confidentiality and privacy within this easy to access resources page.As well, for privacy protection, access to many of the links/docs stored on Google Drive require a Mulgrave Google account or a request to me to access the docs. If you request access to a doc as a parent without a Mulgrave address, please identify yourself clearly so I know who you are. 

REMINDERS:

  1. Forms due Jan 31
  2. Trip fees paid in full by TODAY/Jan 21
  3. Copy of BC Care Card overdue
  4. NEXT STUDENT MEETING: Jan 28 3.45 in 1039
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Kenya Trip Update Jan 1 2016

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A big thank you to all the parents that came to our Kenya Parent Meeting #1 on Thurs Dec 10 at Mulgrave. Here are some important reminders and all the key information and documents presented at the meeting last week this information can be found anytime under the Trip Resources page (The page is password protected) which will be regularly updated with important details and links. For privacy reasons, some links may require a Mulgrave Google account to access (please access through your son/daughter account).

MANDARIN TRANSLATION

Please note: We also provide Mandarin translation for these presentations and encourage families where Mandarin is the mother tongue to seek out translation support from us through Yuna Huang yhuang@mulgrave.com or join the WeChat groups set up to assist with school life at Mulgrave.

PARENT MEETING #1 KEY INFORMATION (see under Kenya Trip Resources page)

  1. Kenya trip presentation slideshow (FYI Please feel free to ask questions or call me about the slides if you missed the presentation and need clarification)
  2. All Kenya Trip forms are shared/updated here
  3. Packing List 2016 (this will be reviewed in detail at our May Parent Meeting #2)
  4. TMVC Vaccination & Medication Recommendations
  5. Trip Itinerary Draft (final exact itinerary confirmed month before departure)
  6. Please submit a copy of your son/daughter’s MSP BC Care Card. If they do not have a care card (due to residency status), please let me know ASAP by Dec 19 before the break. This has an impact on the
  7. NOTE Students missing docs:  – pls check your emails for requests for missing travel docs

NEXT STUDENT MEETING IN JANUARY

Please remind your son/daughter to choose all the dates on DOODLE POLL send out today. I will then select the date that works best for the most students…  Students have been asked to sign up for a leadership role on the Kenya Crew team (posted under Kenya Trip Resources page)

Suggested Readings:

One of the following by May 2016. Some copies available at Mulgrave library

NEXT PARENT MEETING (MARK YOUR CALENDARS PLEASE): Thurs May 5 2016 in SS Academic Centre (beside entrance Atrium)

GEO Kenya Trip Parent Meeting #2 (with Mandarin translation) 4.30-6.00pm
GEO Kenya Trip Parent Meeting #2 (no Mandarin translation) 6.00-7.00pm
 

FORMS DUE & DOC DUE JAN 31, 2016 (posted under Kenya Trip Resources page)

  1. Mulgrave Travel Consent
  2. Notorized Letter of Permission
  3. Emergency Contact & Health Form
  4. Mulgrave Informed Consent (coming soon in January)
  5. Me to We Online Application (coming soon)
  6. Me to We DocuSign (coming soon: online consent verification done by parents after online form is complete)

KENYA & UK TRANSIT VISAS 

Students will purchase their 52 USD (TBC) Kenya tourist visa online at our meeting on May 5, 2016. We are looking into whether transit visas are needed for Chinese/Korean passports in the UK.

FLIGHT ITINERARY

We will share the exact flight schedule after the March break when departure times are confirmed by carrier. We are travelling for 15 days July 10-24, 2016.

TRIP FEES DEADLINES: FIRST INSTALMENT DUE THURS DEC 10

The final cost for the trip should be is around $5550 based on numbers, programming, including travel and flight insurance, and current flight costs. This costs do not include Kenya Crew gear (optional hoodies), Kenya visa (52USD), medications or vaccinations, gifts or miscellaneous expenses such food at airport. Our fee payment schedule is below. It is important that all payments are made by the dates posted to ensure we can secure things for your child. At this point, our expectations with the deposit paid is all parents who signed the application are committed to the trip. Please let me know if you have any questions:

  1. $1000 Oct 30
  2. $3000 Dec 10
  3. $1550 Balance Jan 21
COMMUNICATIONS #MulgraveKenya
Check out everything you need to know on the Kenya trip blog, especially on the trip resources page. Kenya Trip Resource page on the Kenya blog
PARTICIPANTS

Who’s going? See participants list on Kenya Trip Resource page

PHOTO & GIFT GIVING POLICIES
Check out info on Trip Resources page: Kenya Trip Resource page on the Kenya blog.

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Kenya Trip Update – Nov 23 2015 #MulgraveKenya

Here are some important updates:
  1. Kenya 2016 dates are confirmed Sun July 10-Sun July 24, 2016
  2. We are confirmed with 10 participants and 3 teacher chaperones (see list emailed)
  3. Kenya trip fee instalment of $3000 due Dec 10. Please submit to Trish O’Brien in SS
  4. STUDENT MEETING #1: Tues Dec 8 1.30 1039
  5. GEO Trip TMVC (Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre) Presentation for Kenya, DM and Ecuador Trips Dec 3 6.00pm in SS Lounge (Optional: attend if you want this overview ONLY)
  6. Kenya Trip Parent Meeting #1 Thurs Dec 10th, 2015, at Mulgrave in the SS Lounge: 4.30-6.00pm Kenya Trip Programme and Safety Overview (with mandarin translation); 6.00-7.00 Trip Programme and Safety Overview (English ONLY no translation)
  7. Kenya Trip Parent Meeting #2 Thurs May 5, 2016, at Mulgrave in the SS Lounge; 4.30-6.00pm Kenya Trip Prep (with mandarin translation); 6.00-7.00 Kenya Trip Prep (English ONLY no translation)
  8. COMMUNICATIONS HOMEBASES: Kenya Trip blog here: http://pln.mulgrave.com/kenya/. Sign up now for automatic updates. Follow@MulgraveCitizen
  • hepatitis A, typhoid, yellow fever plus optional vaccines such as Dukoral and influenza
  • malaria medication (12 days/nights risk outside of Nairobi)
  • antibiotics for self-treatment of traveler’s diarrhea (optional)
Let me know awilson@mulgrave.com if you have any questions… if you need Mandarin translation, ask Yuna Huang.

 

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Kenya 2016 Happening with New Dates: July 10-24 #MulgraveKenya

Selfies at Sikera
Great news. We have successfully moved our Kenya Trip 2016 dates from July 2-16 to the following new dates (which no longer conflict with the MERT training week):
Kenya 2016 dates are now Sun July 10-Sun July 24, 2016.
 
We are happy to announce that currently we will be running the trip as we have 9 “officially” registered, and another 4-5 seriously considering joining us, depending on the MERT conflict resolution.
All participants are asked to get in their application, deposit and copies of all travel docs by Nov. 20. At this point all non-refundable cheques will be cashed as the flights and programming will be secured.
Please let me know if you know anyone else who might be considering coming that we should connect with. PLEASE SHARE THIS NEWS WITH YOUR PARENTS.
After Nov 20, we will be in touch with students and parents about upcoming meetings, forms, fees, vaccination recommendation and other travel details. Please note in your calendars Kenya Trip Parent Meeting #1 Thurs Dec 10th, 2015 at Mulgrave in the SS: 
  1. 4.30-6.00pm Kenya Trip Programme and Safety Overview (with mandarin translation);
  2. 6.00-6.30pm Travel Medicine and Vaccination Clinic (TMVC) Vaccine and Medication Recommendations for Kenya Presentation (with Mandarin translation);
  3. 6.30-7.30 Trip Programme and Safety Overview (English ONLY no translation)
  4. NOTE: trip fee instalment of $2500 also due
I will be in touch soon. If you want to read student posts and check out pics of past trips, please see the Kenya Trip blog here.
Best,
AW
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