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Sunday, February 3rd, 2002

Loyangolani, Rift Valley, Kenya

They really enjoyed trying on our sunglasses and looking at our camera's, it was a different experience for them!

Life out here in Africa is great! REALLY REALLY HOT!!!! I'm now in Loyangolani, in the Chalbi Desert, in the Rift Valley.

 

Leaving Kalacha for Loyangolani, we drove not even 30min when one of our truck’s engines broke, meaning we had to squish extra students into the other trucks, making it quite uncomfortable for the 7hour long bumpy ride through the hot desert. To make matters worse, the water tasted so gross for a while because there was a new tube in the filtration system making it pretty much undrinkable! Some of us even resorted to drinking hot chocolate in the 40-50 degrees just to get some liquid in our bodies or eating a cookie as soon as we drank some of the regular water. It was finally fixed yesterday… water has never tasted so good! But unfortunately the water is still going to be hot all the time because there’s no fridge for it.

 

Approaching Loyangolani we descended into the Rift Valley which was amazing! Suddenly instead of looking around and seeing flat volcanic rock desert there was a large dip into a valley, and you could see Lake Turkana in the background. Lake Turkana is beautiful!!! It's so bright blue and sparkly! But unfortunately we can't go swimming because there are 20ft crocodiles in it. Luckily there’s a pool in our camp we can use to try to cool off as the temperature was a sweltering 50 degrees Celsius (not exaggerating!). It’s so hard not to stay in it all day instead of going to class or doing homework hehe :)

 

Outside the gates of the campsite the locals had set up a market of various crafts. Trying to look at their beautiful handmade crafts many of us were distracted by marriage proposals. Just to give you an idea of what your daughters are worth here: we were offered 12 camels or a big fish.

 

We visited El Molo Village where we learned about the El Molo people and their culture, history, and way of life. If I remember correctly, the El Molo tribe is the smallest tribe n Kenya. The El Molo people are fishermen who live right on the edge of Lake Turkana. It was a really interesting visit. Apparently the first time a boy kills a crocodile he has to knock out one of his own teeth. And when his dad kills a crocodile he also has to knock out one of his teeth. So you can imagine, that they all have pretty bad teeth, but it's considered good in their culture! They mostly eat fish every meal but also eat crocodile. The best part was seeing the inside of their houses and seeing how they are made. It takes them 2-6months to build a house and they live in it for 2 years before it gets too old. They make them out of palm trees… I was surprised at how sturdy they were. We helped add some palm leaves to a house in progress. The kids in the village were adorable!! As soon as we got there they came up to us and held our hands. A little girl, Aktala, held my hand for almost our entire visit… it was interesting as she was actually a bit possessive not letting other kids hold my hand for too long. They were all so cute though and were eager to help us. The funnest part was letting them play with stuff I had for example my sunglasses. They loved wearing them, it was great! I also let them look through my camera and play with the zoom button, it was great watching their reactions as the image they were looking at got closer or further away! Hehehe, they had never seen something like it and thought it was so fascinating! Then there was my watch… one of the kids liked pressing the buttons, especially for the timer and listening to it beep or watching

the numbers change. Because my watch is really old and the buttons are kinda tough they were so proud every time they got it to work! It was neat hanging out with them for the morning in the scorching sun…

 

The next day a special trip was arranged to a local women’s group. This remarkable combination of women from various tribes inspire students with modern innovations and independence while maintaining their traditions.

 

We also went on an archaeology fieldtrip to a Middle Stone Age Site to look for stone tools. We actually found some which was really neat and saw a big boulder with rock art on it. There was a monkey, giraffe, and what I thought looked like a zebra or camel drawn on it. Very cool!

 

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