Cultural Field Studies -What a week!

Whew, two weeks ago, we had a doosie. It had been a week of ups and downs! I guess the experience of life in another culture at this present age is going to present new challenges. Two Mondays ago, Anisa and Karen left on their school Cultural Field Studies (CFS) trip for three days and two nights. It was interesting to watch them pack and to help as needed. They were required to fit their supplies into a back pack and day bag. This became challenging as they tried to fit “one more item” into the bag over and over- things like the cherished blankie, stuffed animal, or fun card game. Anisa actually appeared to sort of enjoy the packing, but Karen found it intimidating. Then Monday morning came with both of them walking up to school with us in the morning around 7:40am, excited about the adventure awaiting them. John and I went to our classrooms to prepare for the day and they went to the middle school area to wait it out until leave time. Oh, and there was the last minute question of if they have warm enough clothing or the money they needed. Each ran back to the house for one more thing that morning if I remember correctly.

John and I spent the next three days working on school work, thinking and praying about the girls, spending time with friends in the evening, thinking and praying about the girls, and going out for dinner, while thinking and praying for the girls. Wednesday finally arrived and with the end of the school day, so did Anisa and Karen. They were exhausted and full of stories! They both are trying to put together some sort of note about what they did to help explain what they were involved in. We will try to let you see it once they finish. From what I can remember, Karen said they had an incredible experience hiking up part of Mt. Kenya. It began as a sunny day but turned wet and cold by afternoon. They were to travel by a big lorry/overlander truck up part of the path, but the heavy rain made the path slick with mud which the overlander could not navigate well. It kept getting stuck so the students had to keep getting out to walk until the huge truck could get unstuck, catch up with them, and they would all pile in  once again. They did manage to reach their destination, the Old Moses camp site; however, the downpour continued so it wasn’t as fun and exciting as it was hoped. Not much of a view with heavy clouds and lots of rain.

Without much to do there, they turned around and began their descent. Well, after 5 hours of hiking in cold, wet rain where footing was unsure and slippery, the group finally made it back to the location of where the buses were supposed to be waiting to take them back to the lodge. But…no buses were there. The drivers had realized that if they didn’t drive out to the main road a few more miles down, they would all be stuck the night without provisions because the road would be unpassable. So, now the wet, muddy, and extremely cold students and teachers had to walk a few hours more in the dark, cold, rainy conditions. Karen tells a story where she thought she was going to walk through a puddle on their path, but the muddy puddle ended up being a hole deep enough to go up to her knees! She also said she had given her sweatshirt up earlier in the hike to a classmate who was cold. Later Karen obviously wished she had the sweatshirt, but they were not in the same group hiking up and down the mountain at that time. It most likely wouldn’t have been much help though, because it was cotton and would not have helped her stay warm in the rain.

As Karen tells it, she was not able to feel her fingers, toes, or parts of her arms and legs for quite a long part of the her hike. Before they set on their way down the final stretch to the buses, there were some fires made to try and warm up since hypothermia was becoming a real threat. Many students were crying by this point, and the day had ended up being much more challenging than anyone had imagined. Well, the story ends with everyone making it down off the mountain safely. We are thankful that God was present and granted them safety in the midst of chaos, fear, and exhaustion. We are thankful for the adults who were on the trip with them and helped each person make it through. Karen tells stories of the students and teachers working hard to keep motivating each other to” keep walking, don’t give up, you can do it,” even when they wanted to stop over and over themselves. We are thankful for God’s safety.

Karen’s group also did some other neat things, such as visit a Kikuyu village and school. They saw some wild life in their natural habitat.

Anisa also had quite the experience! She went to Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island where they did some hiking, animal watching, and visiting of a local school. She said she walked more than she had in a long time, especially at Crescent Island. Crescent Island is where you can walk among animals that live there. She tells of walking among giraffe, wildebeast, and zebra. According to Anisa, their local guide that day encouraged them to go closer to the animals at one point, but to watch where they step for “cobra.”  That is certainly not a happy thought! (We have been told since that cobra do not live on the Island, but anacondas do! Anisa said they didn’t see any type of snake on her trip.)

Another activity they did was to get into boats and visit hippos in the water. She said the boat she was in started first, but ended the tour last. She wasn’t sure why their particular boat took so long to get around in the water. At the school they visited they were put into groups to meet with the Kenyan students. Anisa and her partner were placed in the group that was thought to know Swahili! Well, neither Anisa nor her partner did, so there was not a whole lot of communication done with words. She talked about one of her Korean classmates and another student with blond hair getting their hair touched a lot by the Kenyan students. While there, Anisa’s group tried to play a game of Simon Says which appeared to be a new game for the Kenyan students. Also talked about how when it was time to go, many of the Kenyan students didn’t want to let go of her and her classmates to allow them to leave. They just kept holding on.

Well, Wednesday afternoon both girls appeared happy and tired. Spent the evening with the Brozovich family for dinner, friends here at Rosslyn, swapping stories and playing games. Thursday we all slept in, since it was a Kenyan holiday and there was no school. Friday there was no school because it was the end of our first quarter. Shortly after noon on Thursday, Anisa fell sick. Nothing stayed down.  As of Saturday she was finally able to keep some drink down and was eating very tiny bits of this and that. She was able to walk to the bathroom and back but not much more yet.  By Sat. evening Anisa was still having trouble drinking and eating and very weak so we took her to the nearby emergency room to see if we needed some medicine to help the healing process. They confirmed that she had a viral infection and some dehydration. They gave her fluids and some medicine for stomach cramping and sent us back home. Thankfully, Anisa was well enough to go to school on Monday. While at school she found out that 32 out of 40 students had some type of sickness once CFS was over. Not sure what happened there, but the school is looking into it. We are thankful Anisa appears to finally be on the mend. So, like I mentioned, CFS was quite the experience! I am sure it will hold memories for both of our daughters for years to come. -Glenda

Here is a powerpoint slide show Anisa put together about her trip. Check it out!

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1 Response to Cultural Field Studies -What a week!

  1. Marj says:

    Thanks, Glenda and girls…what amazing stories and adventures – sorry about Anisa’s sickness, but I enjoyed the powerpoint – they’ll talk about this a long time to come. No wonder you were praying, even if you didn’t know about what…

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