School trip to Wildlife Works

Report written by International Intern, Ben Kelly

The 8th grade students at Kileva Primary School have had their hands full towards the end of the year with their KCPE exams, a stressful time for Kenyan primary school students across the country – so what better way to reward our hard-working students than with a school excursion to Wildlife Works, our local wildlife sanctuary.

The day began with students, teachers and the Elephants and Bees (E&B) team gathering at Kileva Primary School around 8:30am for a promising day of fun ahead. Upon arrival, students were divided into four teams: Team Tembo (Swahili for elephant), The Crazy Kicheches (Swahili for honey badger), The Chui (Swahili for leopard) Champs, and finally, The Buzzing Bees. The students were briefed with the schedule for the day and were informed that there would be a series of games throughout the day where each team could earn points, resulting in one team emerging as the champions. The competitive nature of school children was palpable in the air.

To start the day off on a more harmonious front, we began by playing some local games just for fun. This included “Bamboo Forest”, which proved to be a crowd favourite, with its catchy tune everyone couldn’t help but sing along to. This was followed by the first scoring game of the day – you could’ve cut the tension with a knife. “Who’s that Animal” kicked things off, where the E&B team listed facts about a certain animal that the students then had to guess. The game was a close, with the Buzzing Bees stealing victory on the very final question. After the excitement dissipated, the students were given the second game of the day, “Safari Bingo”. This game entailed sighting animals and then ticking them off a comprehensive list, the more animal sightings the better your chance of winning. On that note, it was time to catch our minibuses and make our way to Wildlife Works.

Image 1. Students battle it out in “Who’s that animal” (photo by Naiya Raja).

Protus, our tour guide, welcomed us with open arms and a dazzling smile, catching the student’s attention and imagination from the get go. He lead us to the hall where he began a speech highlighting significant environmental issues in today’s world, including climate change, deforestation, poaching, and charcoal burning. Protus’ speech engaged the students thoroughly as there was a constant flurry of questioning hands shooting up into the air and the sound of pencils scratching on paper by the rampant note takers of the group.

Image 2. Students and the E&B team listening attentively to Protus during his opening speech (photo by Naiya Raja).

Protus then lead us to our first stop of the day, the sewing factory, where Wildlife Works makes its clothing. Protus passionately described how they use only organic cotton because of its environmental benefits – a significant point to make to our students as most of their parents are farmers. The clothing manufacture also appealed to the more creative students, with Protus showing us the printing hall where we were shown how designs are printed. The next stop was another of Wildlife Works environmentally sustainable production halls, the soap factory. This was particularly enjoyed by the students, who found themselves emerged in a wacky science lesson where they experimented with many different fragrance combinations. There was widespread fascination amongst the group as Protus demonstrated the recycling techniques employed in the factory, using everything from plastic soda bottles to beer caps in the products – showing the students how creative recycling can be.

Our final stop before lunch was a visit to the permaculture garden. We stepped into what felt like a lush tropical jungle filled with an assortment of fruits and veggies, ranging from the humble garden pea to the more succulent passionfruit. Wildlife Works have produced such a bountiful permaculture farm through implementing many creative farming techniques, such as vertical farming to optimise space and planting pest resistant crops such as Marigolds. Visiting the permaculture garden was an eye opener for students and the E&B team as it gave us ideas about how we could improve our own permaculture garden at Kileva Primary.

Image 3. Students enjoying their time in the permaculture farm with Protus (photo by Naiya Raja).

After a jam-packed morning of activities, it was finally time for lunch at Kivuli Camp. We were treated to a spread of delicious food, with many students, and a few cheeky teachers and E&B team members (myself included), enjoying seconds. After clearing all the plates, Ken, a member of the E&B team, hosted a quiz challenging the student teams. The quiz was based on what students had learnt throughout the morning, so whichever team had been paying the most attention would take it. The Chui Champs came out on top for this one, nudging them into tied first place with The Buzzing Bees.

Despite everyone playing ball on the day, there was one member of the team who wasn’t, the weather. It had been raining heavily for most of the day which had severely affected how much wildlife was around and resulted in the roads being transformed into what looked like rivers of chocolate mousse. However, a little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop us! So, we piled into the vehicles and embarked on the world’s shortest safari, only managing to go about 1km before one of the vehicles had issues. Not letting the situation get to us, we decided to remain positive, seizing the opportunity to get a fantastic group photo while waiting for our rescuers.

Image 4. Opportunistic group photo (photo by Naiya Raja).

Once our knights in shining armour had arrived, or knights in a white Landcruiser in this case, it was getting late, so we had to make our way back to the offices. However, the fun wasn’t quite over yet, as we had one more game to play, the childhood classic, charades. The game elicited a lot of laughter amongst the group, particularly when a Chui Champs team member unleashed an earth shattering elephant trumpet that would make even the largest male tusker high tail it in the opposite direction! Needless to say, the Chui champs took this one home too.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Before home time though, the Safari Bingo scores had to be tallied and a team had to be crowned champions. With much anticipation and a drum roll from the students, it was announced that the Chui Champs were the winners! However, everyone was a winner thanks to Ivory Ella, who had supplied us with vibrant t-shirts as gifts for our students. It was now well and truly time to go, we all thanked Wildlife Works for having us and left feeling utterly delighted with such a fantastic day.

Image 5. Students enjoying their new Ivory Ella shirts (photo by Naiya Raja).

Special thanks to The Walt Disney Company for funding such a memorable day.

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