It was our second “Climb to educate “excursion this year. It attracted a fraternity of 58 students and 6 staff members. Many folks thought they knew the Othaya landscape all too well. But behold…….
“Look at that! Is it a dam or a lake? What’s its name? What are the men and women doing? How are boats made? Can we throw our trash in the lake?”
Those were the types of meta-questions that the participants had for the outdoor instructor, our Tour-guide of the day (Mr. Kimathi) and a few locals who came to sell their farm produce to the hikers.
We started from main campus at 8.30am which was a little “inconvenient” to some of us! In case you are new to sarcasm, in the preceding excursions, I had almost gotten used to students extending the departure time by more than 1.5 hours, about which we had coined the phrase, “Kimathi-time”. This time round, all of us had been assembled by 8 am!
We got dropped off at Othaya town where the Outdoor instructor led in an aerobics session, followed by an interactive session on outdoor hazards, hiking techniques and briefings on entry into a different environment.
We wound our way along the residence of the immediate former president and eventually crossing the Gikira River at the main Murang’a highway, to climb onto a steep terrain that drained out most of our energies.
Students and staff enjoy the therapeutic breeze by the lakeside as they capture photos of the scenery
It was a 3 hour hike to Gichiche shopping center where we all went into a shopping and feeding frenzy! 30 minutes later, we all headed towards the massive Chinga dam
A few villagers waited to sell fruits and bananas to us while the boatmen displayed their vessels and life-saver equipment inviting us for boat-rides. Their leader and guide for the day however wouldn’t allow us any play until we had thoroughly been briefed about their community based project.
Students and staff listened intently under the scotching sun and asked questions .One student expressed his regret that they possessed similar resources back at home that were largely unutilized. He vowed to import the “Technology” and organization with him when he returned home.
Boating activities were suspended for a little while to enable us hike along the Chinga River to learn how the community was generating H.E.P.
Two hours later, we all boarded the bus for an educational visit to Chinga Tea Factory. We enjoyed a 2 hour quality time of a guided tour on the operations of the giant factory.
|Students get the feel and smell of the fermented tea
|Chinga Tea Factory Visit
We also interacted with technicians and operators working on sophisticated machinery that became magnets for students taking engineering courses.
The manager was thoroughly impressed by our students and welcomed them to apply for jobs. He however cautioned them that the job market was looking for the best candidates. Since it was already flooded, they had no choices but to be the best.
|The coxswain safely brings the boat to shore
The student leader of the day (Michael Divisi) thanked the management and workers on our behalf and that of the University for hosting us and all the learning.
We later drove back to Chinga Dam for boat rides.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK!
End of excursion. By Mwai Kennedy (Outdoor Instructor)