Educating Children of Africa, Climbing Mount Kenya and the Ubuntu New Years Celebration – Philosophical Adventure Travel with Tim Walther
On December 1, 2011, I left Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a month long epic adventure to Kenya. The primary goal was to consult and offer support to ACV Kenya in their efforts to raise funds to provide education for little girls in Northern Kenya. This was part of Grand Dynamics International corporate social responsibility efforts for the year in collaboration with Corporate Motivation. We made a quick video about it. While there I planned to explore the culture, find some animals and to climb Mount Kenya, all while not getting robbed, kidnapped or killed The experience went beyond my wildest imagination.
Christmas eve was spent on the summit of Mount Kenya at 17,000 feet amidst an epic climb with Josh Morris, I was left in the middle of the Indian Ocean alone while snorkeling and celebrated new years with the Zulu acrobatic team as we searched for the meaning of Ubuntu. That’s the tip of the Massai spear anyway!
I wrote a bit more about why I went in the first place, the purpose of my trip, danger and all the Reasons NOT to go to Kenya. You can check that out at the post – Climbing-big-mountains-following-a-past-life-racing-on-ostriches-educating-the-children-of-africa
TRIP ESSENTIALS – SO WHAT HAPPENED?
My trip basically had three parts: Work in Nairobi, climbing Mt. Kenya and celebrating New Years on the Coast in Mombasa.
Here is the high level summary of each trip segment, with links to different blog posts or resources for additional information.
Part 1: Nairobi Heat and Educating the Children of Africa
I arrived in Nairobi Saturday December 2nd and was greeted by Omondi Otieno, ACV Director, who would become a great friend over the coming month as we worked side by side and shared dreams and aspirations for our positive impact in the world.
That first night we went out on the city until dawn to start things off and I was quickly exposed to the wild and vibrant city life of Nairobi. Stay alert, watch your back and trust your instincts.
The next two weeks was spent with ACV in the office and meeting with a plethora of business executives and media in Nairobi to support their mission of educating children in North East Kenya and the 100 girls in 100 days campaign. We made a quick video about our efforts. I met with several HR directors, corporate leaders and media contacts and learned a lot about culture and business in Kenya.
This is Mr. Muguti, Director of HR for Jubiliee Insurance. I wrote a story about my inspiring visit with him.
During those couple weeks we explored Nairobi restaurants and nightlife, avoided machete wielding maniacs, found myself in the ghetto as I played the drums with “the best musicians of Kenya,” squeezed in a short safari to the Massai Mara and went on a climbing excursion to Hells Gate National Park. I had an epic run with my Kenyan friend across the African plains.
And yes, I managed to stay on an Ostrich Farm and race an Ostrich around in circles and get slammed into a fence. Sweet. The Ostrich racing dream actually was taken to the next level as I have laid the foundation for an ostrich “Race of the Century” between Americans and Kenyans.
This race will take place at the Ngong Race Track at some point in the future to be determined. The Ostrich shepherds will train the ostrich for three months to be ridden. And we will face death as we hold on for dear life and race them around the track in front of thousands of cheering Kenyans. Let me know if you are interested in racing and I will provide your preliminary training schedule and details!
This trip segment finished with a team building program for ACV Kenya in a local park the same day that Josh Morris arrived. Perfect culmination and transition to the next phase – the big, bad ass mountain objective of climbing Mount Kenya.
Part 2: Mountain of Mist: Climbing Mount Kenya and Epic African Adventure
For the full story, check out this blog link on Mountains of Mist: Climbing Mount Kenya.
Here is the abbreviated summary below. For the Full Story, check out these links:
Mountains of Mist Climbing Mount Kenya: PART 1
Mountains of Mist Climbing Mount Kenya: PART 2
Mountains of Mist Climbing Mount Kenya: PART 3
Mountains of Mist Climbing Mount Kenya: PART 4
And check out the VIDEO experience of the climb
Mountains of Mist: Climbing Mount Kenya Summary
My life-long friend, business colleague and climbing partner Josh Morris rolled in from Thailand and we climbed mount Kenya together over six days. The trekking was amazing and we went in style with a porters, a cook and trekking guide for the extended approach to acclimatize. As it turns out Josh and I both had to overcome bouts of Altitude Mountain Sickness on our journey to 17,000 feet and back. We had a wild climb in which the route description flew away half way through the climb (shocker I know) which resulted in even more difficult off route climbing than when we had the description ) Josh got after it with his first alpine leads on a big route.
The climb culminated in spending Christmas eve in our bivy sacks in a small hut on the summit! I passed out with AMS and thankfully woke up feeling refreshed on Christmas morning. However, a massive front had moved in and we were greeted with gale force winds and a dramatic new weather pattern. On top of that we saw the most amazing circular rainbow on the summit – which was God saying hello. After some significant debate and exploration of the traverse to the Batian summit, we chose to descend safely and stick to our plan. All in all it was quite the spiritual experience with an amazing partner.
Part 3: Magical Mombasa: The Ubuntu Coast New Years Celebration
The trip finished with a power packed five-day journey to the coast of the Indian Ocean to celebrate the New Year in Mombasa. This part of the trip was truly like living out some sort of shamanic journey – too wild to make up. One day one Coco D, a Rastafarian reggae artist ready to burst onto the international music scene made his appearance. His introduction would open up a world of connections over the coming days.
On day two I went on a diving trip and got left behind in the Indian Ocean while snorkeling. Yep, imagine snorkeling solo and looking up to see your boat driving away. Sweet.
I was invited to the stage to play drums with an incredible band at a massive music festival on the North Coast – the same band I had an epic jam with in Nairobi on day two of my trip – bringing the jam full circle. Go Go Simo – Unfortunately I blew it and didn’t get onto stage at the right time and ended up not playing with them. Damn! There’s an interesting lesson there somewhere.
I fulfilled a life long dream to meet the African Zulu people in my search of the story of Ubuntu. Coco D served as my local guide and he brought me into the Mombasa country-side to meet the tribal leader of the Zulu.
This journey all culminated in creating a local event that took place on New Years. Just after the “ball dropped” the Zulu acrobatics team came on to perform for some thousand locals.
This is the Africa version of Cirque de Soleil and they were all dressed like human cheetas! No Joke. Here is one photo of the Tribe in action!
That act rolled into the Zulu tribal dance team and then into Coco D and his breakthrough performance of his original hit, Genocide! Wow what a special treat and experience to share with the beautiful people of Kenya. Powerful stuff!
The next level might just be a music festival to support ACV Kenya to take place on the coast on Easter. This is in the works, so stay tuned!
Dear friends were made with locals including the gregarious Milan, Reggae Artist Coco D, Kenya futbol star Evans, the spontaneous traveler Coco B (no relation to Coco D!), Honey the Queen of Somalia, James the amazing band leader of GoGoSimo and Tina the Zulu Tribal Dance Leader. Our new team quickly pulled together to orchestrate a new years celebration that was simply off the hook and certainly one that will never be forgotten! To all of you – ASANTE SANA!!!
All and all what a magical journey it was to Kenya. I learned so much about myself, people and grew exponentially through the experience of philosophical adventure travel. Grand Dynamics is proud to support the team at ACV Kenya and how they are making a positive impact in Kenya with their work and contribution.
I avoided being kidnapped, managed to keep my laptop, i-pad and i-phone in tact, did not get pick-pocketed or robbed and steered clear from getting a machete in the forehead. I am now fluent in Swahili, have life long friends, have business deals to make happen, a mountain I am ready to guide and a music festival to support.
BOOM-BAM! For those that made it through to read all of this, cheers to you and I look forward to connecting on our next adventure!
If you have a comment or perspective, please share them with me. You can also look at photos on facebook.
Peace, love and happiness to you and until next time, LIVE YOUR ADVENTURE! Tim