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Oltiasika Adventures

Sunday 14th July

Over the past two days the team have been in Oltiasika which is in a very remote part of Kajiado District.

Our journey to Oltiasika began with a 6.30am wake up call, much to our dismay. To break up our travels, we stopped off at another ACK guest house, at which we were served delicious chai tea and pastries. It was amazing!

Further along the road, we stopped again at a tourist shop which had lots of handmade goods and it was a great opportunity to brush up on our haggling skills. As we drew closer to Oltiasika, we came across numerous types of African wildlife, such as giraffes, antelopes, zebras and wilderbeast. This was almost like a little sneak peak as we prepare for our safari in Amboseli. Our final stop was for lunch at Picnic Rock where Ronnie shared out the lovely lunch that was sent from Oltiasika, to meet us and to keep us going for the final part of our journey. Lunch consisted of peanut butter and salad sandwiches (a rather new and unusual combination), chicken, bananas and juice!

When we finally arrived at Oltiasika, Maggie, and the other ladies at our accommodation, kindly shared tea and cake with us. Chai is now a new favourite of Team Smile's.

We were then shown our rooms and after settling in, the girls of Room Two discovered a very unwelcome visitor in the form of a very, very large spider. Squeals echoed from the room and help came from far and wide - everyone in the compound knew what was going on with all the fuss that was made!

It gets dark early and quickly here, and with no electricity, we rely on solar powered lamps. It's kind of liberating to return to the basics of life.

On the second day we walked to the closest primary school in order to compete, against them, in some games. The girls subdivided themselves into both netball and handball while the boys prepared for volleyball. Before any of the games began we were greeted by the headmaster, deputy headmaster and teachers of the school.

Having been asked to provide sanitary products for the girls, in order to best reduce the number of schooldays they miss, we used this opportunity to present the school with such. We also presented this school, and the three other primary schools within the area, with donations of football kits from back home. They were so gratefully received.

Both the games, and the score arguments, came and went and we all returned to the compound for lunch. In the afternoon, the girls returned to school to interact in a cultural awareness discussion with the form 7 and form 8 girls. Emotionally, it was challenging and eye-opening because the primary school girls spoke to us about FGM and early pregnancy. However, we also talked about much more lighthearted topics such as dating and the fact that we own cats and dogs as pets - many laughs were had and it was difficult to try and explain that we take our dogs for a walk. To close, we Sang Amazing Grace and Jehovah Has The Final Say, our favourite song from Oloosuyian. The remainder of day 2 was spent bonding as a team, chatting to each other and enjoying the simple beauty of where we are.

Day 3 can be described as hillwalking day. The Kenyan sun, coupled with the terrain made it a tiring climb over the hills surrounding our compound. After approximately an hour and a half we entered the rain forest, which was beautiful with so many crazy trees and sounds. Our guides, Shakoot and David, the 2 Maasai men of the compound, pointed out lion footprints which amazed and worried us in equal measure. We finally reached the top and reconisged the worthiness of our efforts as the views were stunning.

In our race to make it back for lunch (the food here is too good to miss), we all, in typical Kenya fashion, forgot our watches when we spotted a giraffe on the same path as us. These things don't happen at home and it took our breath away.

The most perfect conclusion to this wonderfully liberating and thought - provoking place, was our goat roast. We all enjoyed a traditional Maasai meal and were then treated to Maasai dancing from the ladies who had prepared our meal. The experience around the fire, not to mention the toasting of marshmallows, will never be forgotten. We feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity of fellowship.

Leionha and Suzanne

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