On January 2nd 2017 three teens and six adult chaperones set off on a journey of a lifetime. After two years of preparations, fundraising and 24 hours in the air, the group arrived in Nairobi, Kenya!
We drove to Naivasha in the Rift Valley, known as the cradle of civilization where some say we all come from. It was there we set up our first camp at Camp Carnelli’s on the shore of Lake Naivasha. It was almost like traveling in time for the group. We had left Wisconsin in the midst of winter and arrived in a green summer like world of Kenya.
We spent our first week in the Rift Valley adjusting to the change in time and climate; taking in our new surroundings. We traveled around the local area acclimating to the new culture of people and preparing for what was to come. We spent a full day hiking through Hell’s Gate National Park and some of us did some rock climbing there. This is Where they filmed the Lion King and Laura Croft Tomb Raider II.
We also spent a full day climbing Mt. Longonot, a dead volcano in the valley.
What was to come was Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
After we left Kenya, we spent the night in Arusha Tanzania preparing to head to the base of Kilimanjaro in the morning to begin the 6 day climb. Six of the team left in the morning to climb and the other three left to make camp in preparation of the climbers return. Out of the six who climbed three reached the summit at 19,341 feet! A week on the mountain was nothing less than a life changing experience.
After the group was back together, the team returned to Kenya to make their way to Massai Mara for safari and to experience traditional Massai culture. Massai Mara is best known for the Serengheti’s annual great migration.
After safari we returned to our original camp on Lake Naivasha.It was getting close to the end of our time in Africa. We spent a day at a local school; Shernoi Southlake Primary School where we were able to provide some education for some of the students there. Afterwards they all came outside to sing us a thank you song.
We were able to sneek in a trip to Crater Lake and go for a boat ride.
Our final day in Kenya we traveled out of the Rift Valley back to Nairobi. With some time left before our flight home we visited the National Science Museum where the oldest human known (Lucy) is kept. One of our team members did not want to leave before we saw her.
There were so many more adventures that would take weeks to share; the coffee making demonstrations, the waterfalls, the caves, the rides in the travel vans, the meals and the commeraderie. But, I digress. It was interesting to end our journey with visiting one of the first of our kind. After 3 weeks on a journey of a lifetime, it was time to go home. Everyone was more than ready for that but at the same time, many of us knew we would return again.
This journey began with a vision of the founder of Eagles Nest Center. Several years ago, the founder and his son who was working at the time in the Rift Valley, as a geologist, got together and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The vision was to use Mt. Kilimanjaro as a classroom to teach leadership and team building skills, to experience perserverance and another culture. To help some of our kids with their path in life and to enable them to make better choices for themselves in the future. “A four year college program doesn’t look quite so impossible after a week climbing a 19,341 foot mountain”’
So much was experienced on this journey a novel could be written. Every day had its own summit. K2K (Kids to Kilimanjaro) is a journey that has only begun…