Soysambu Conservancy Field Trip

I’m sorry it’s been a couple of days since my last update. A combination of late nights and power cuts has meant I’ve not had chance to write.  So, Soysambu….

Food Preparation

Making 100 sandwiches for the Future Stars trip to SoysambuI guess the trip really began on Friday afternoon when I went shopping for:

  • 10 loaves of bread
  • 100 slices of chicken
  • 100 packets of biscuits
  • 100 bottles of juice
  • 2kg of margarine
  • 100 bananas
  • bags of crisps
  • toilet rolls
  • and a huge roll of foil.

Back at home it took over 5 hours to prepare and wrap all the toasted chicken sandwiches. I fell into bed that night exhausted.

The Journey to Soysambu Conservancy

Leaving Kibera for Soysambu ConservancyIt’s turns out that organising a field trip for children in Kibera is a bigger challenge than I had anticipated. I’d arranged for four vehicles to collect us from the main road at Olympic. However, it became clear that the little ones wouldn’t be able to walk that far from Future Stars. So I went alone to meet the vehicles with instructions to lead them deep into the slum, to Soweto. Only two vehicles arrived on time. I explained to the drivers where I wanted them to go and climbed aboard. Then they set off…despite my protestations that we needed the other two!  After much cursing, we reached Soweto whereupon the drivers called their colleagues and informed them that the road was too bad and they were not to join us!  We piled as many children as possible onto the buses and headed back up to Olympic, with the adults and older children following on foot. I had intended us to depart at 9am, but it was 10:30 before we eventually left Kibera.

That was not the end of our troubles. About an hour out of Nairobi, smoke began to pour from the engine of one of the vehicles. We pulled over, ascertained that the problem was terminal, and reorganised 100 people into the 75 remaining seats. Then we were on the road again.

I hadn’t realised quite how little the children knew about their native animals. They saw sheep for the first time as we neared Naivasha, and excitedly shouted “Elephant! Elephant!”  Zebra and baboons appeared towards Gil Gil to the children’s delight. And then we reached Soysambu.

At Soysambu Conservancy

A slightly scary moment when I signed sole responsibility for all of the children.

We drove through the Conservancy to Lake Elementaita where we ate lunch and the children looked around in awe at the lake and the grass. Thankfully I’d counted the sandwiches correctly and there were enough to go around. Turns out apple juice isn’t popular though. They all wanted orange or mango or the mysteriously named ‘multivitamin juice’.

Lunch for the Future Stars children at Soysambu

Following lunch was a game drive. Unfortunately, because we had been late arriving (late departure and a mechanical problem) we didn’t see all the animals I had hoped to show the children. However, they seemed perfectly happy with the giraffe, the zebra, the buffalo, the waterbuck, and a few members of the antelope family.

Home to Kibera

It was a very long day but I hope the children enjoyed it. On the drive back to Kibera I found myself covered in sleeping tots.  Our little Tashley (3) slept in my arms, whilst more of our youngest ones cuddled either side with their heads on my chest, my shoulders, and my knees. It was a hot journey for me!

Future Stars children on the bus home from Soysambu

We arrived back at Future Stars after dark. I made the 20 minute walk home across Kibera in blackness aside from candlelight from street stands once I reached a ‘main street’. Those who followed my very first Kenya blog will maybe remember me saying there was a route I would never want to take in the rain. Well, last night I did my mountain goat impression along that very route, after rain and in the dark. Not a slip, not a stumble. I’m turning into a proper Kiberian!

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