Matt liked practical jokes, either played on him or by him, however it was no mean feat to pull the wool over his eyes. Kudos, therefore, to the guys who pulled off today’s prank! I am pretty sure it will not be the last prank of the trip! He was also usually up for any kind of dare – the one that springs to mind was when he ate a ghost chili after losing a bet with one of his university friends. Ghost chillies are one of the hottest chillies on the planet. All I can tell you is that he was up most of the night with severe stomach pain, drinking gallons of milk and wondering whether or not he should call an ambulance! Even after that experience he still enjoyed spicy food, although I don’t think he ever accepted another ghost chili challenge!
Day 8 – July 23rd
“This morning could only be described as an emotional roller coaster, as I was victim to the most elaborate practical joke of my entire life. About halfway through our long bus journey, Callum called a kit check to check for group safety kit and our documents. I was horrified to discover that once again I couldn’t find my yellow fever certificate. After ascertaining that it was nowhere to be found, I realised that the situation was even worse than before as I now only had a week. Matt Hyde suggested Simran call Hotel Janus and ask if they had found it. Unbelievably salvation arrived when a hotel worker told Simran that she had found it on the floor where we were staying. Even as relief was flooding over me, Simran received a call back saying she didn’t really find it, only a piece of paper which she couldn’t read. Eventually it was revealed that Gavan and Chris stole it last night as part of Craig’s master plan to wind me up, which worked to perfection. Even Gav said it was the best executed group lie he had ever been a part of. As I slowly got over the shock of the last several hours, Craig told me I will be leader in 3 days.
We stopped at a store to buy paintbrushes, and ran into a teacher and the headmaster from the school we are working at. On the rest of the journey I talked to the teacher as much as I could as I was sitting next to him, although his English was limited. He is a science teacher and he somehow survives on $300 per year salary. I talked more about the school as we drove through rural Kenya, past farmers and labourers and men driving herds of skinny cows.
Soon we arrived at our destination: Oronkai Primary School.
As we approached we were stared at by the local children who had never seen non-Kenyans before. We got off the bus to a crowd of silent, staring children. We could do little but smile and wave, but this did make the children smile and wave back. They were clearly excited but extremely shy. On later examination of the school visitors book, the last World Challenge project there was 10 years ago, before any of the children were at the school or in many cases even born.
We were given chicken and chapattis for lunch, and told we would be entertained by the children after we ate. It then dawned on us that we would be required to entertain the 500 strong school in return with no preparation! We ended up singing a verse of the national anthem and a rendition of “I’m young” by Jason Mraz, so as not to offend them, but in my opinion this paled in comparison to the incredible display put on by them.
It started off with a traditional Masai dance by about 30 of the older children all singing, with some incredible vocal solos and hardiness in singing while out of breath.
This was followed by a more intense dance while chanting, again absolutely breathtaking.
Finally a tiny girl sang and danced alone for us, no more than 10 years old. She was absolutely entrancing, so confident and talented the entire audience was captivated.
As with all good things, the entertainment came to end and we started dealing with more practical matters. While the others set up camp, Chris, Gavan and I went to sort out food for the week. A local Masai agreed to cook for us for only 300 KES a day, barely enough to survive on. We then went to discuss food shopping with the deputy-head teacher. After much discussion, the price came to much lower than we wanted, so we gave them more than they needed as they can do more good with the money. As I headed back to camp I encountered a man with a bow and arrow – the camp security guard!
I walked around the camp perimeter and noticed a chicken walking around near the cook’s hut; tonight’s dinner. We only realised how fresh our chicken was when Simran noticed its head floating in his stew.
By the time dinner was finished it was dark, and the red moon was rising over the horizon into a starry sky. It was the most beautiful sight.
We stood and watched for a while and then went to bed. This was when we discovered the multitude of ants that we are now sharing our tent with. Swings and Roundabouts.”