Wherever I go I try to make a point of getting outside to see the sunrise in the morning. My morning ritual at Daraja involves hiking around the campus, first heading to a high point above the school where I watch the sun rise behind Mount Kenya before heading down to the river. This is my third visit to Daraja Academy but the first time I have ever gone on the official "walk to the river" that all of the girls new to the school go on during their second day on campus. Daraja Academy relies on the nearby Uwaso Nanyuki River to provide water to maintain the campus, shower, water the milk cows, flush toilets, use in the kitchen, mop floors etc. Understanding it's importance is vital for everyone who lives there. The river walk is led by geography teacher Nicholas Bii and Director of Operations Peter (Uncle) Rutere. Here are some photos from our adventure. Had I known what was in store I might have dressed differently!
The new Form 1 students gather under the tree in the center of campus before we set off.
We head towards the river's edge marked by lush trees and various crops - tomatoes, corn, potatoes.
The first stop is a visit to the pump house where Uncle Rutere explains how water is pumped from the river up to campus.
We then descend to the river's edge. Much to my surprise Rutere invites the girls to jump in!
You can see by the expression on the girl's faces that some of them are equally surprised!
Pretty soon they lost their shyness and one by one they jumped in. Who needs a bathing suit?!
As many reading this will know I love to swim. It had never occurred to me to jump in this particular silty body of water but I couldn't resist! I wish I had been able to capture the expression on the girl's faces when I jumped in. Some took persuading but eventually all 32 girls took the plunge. A day we will all remember. Of course we had to sing a song to top it all off on the wet walk homeward!
Singing "The River She Is Flowing" on our walk back to campus!