* By 2016 Akili Dada Interns
Akili Dada Gap-Year students participated in an Outdoor Leadership Academy that included a 6 day 34 kilometre hike across the Loita Hills and a mentoring session at the Kakenya Centre for Excellence in Kilgoris. This was an experiential learning opportunity facilitated by KG Mountain Expeditions and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Akili Dada’s Outdoor academies are designed to focus on teaching life skills including minimalist living, resilience, leadership, inclusivity, environmental conservation and teamwork.
This is the first African women only hike in the Loita hills and it inspired the local women who in their own words said ‘ we are happy to see our daughters climbing these hills as we are only used to seeing boys and men climb’.
Read on to get a feel of the experiences.
"Carrying bags during the hike was one of the most tiring experiences for me. At some point, I thought that I could not be able to continue but then seeing the others who we were hiking with so excited and moving on despite the load gave the one reason why I couldn’t just give up. It was also through these bags that I realized that in life you carry your own burden and other people can only walk with you." ~Janis
"One interesting thing I discovered on the way as we hiked was the peaceful co-existence between wild animals, livestock and human beings. We were taught to always leave the environment clean and to leave what we find like this buffalo skull there. We learnt the '7 Leave No Trace Principles' on environmental conservation." ~ Seenoi
"During the hike, I learnt some of the most crucial life lessons that will make a good life story. We were taught to embrace diversity and to be open to all situations by being willing to learn from them. I also learnt that everybody is a leader in their own right but what makes one stand out is the ability to increase their knowledge." ~ Lilian
"I learnt a lot about the Maasai culture. The community fondly called us, Lololaan (people with the big bags looking for trouble) and were amazed to see an all-girl team trekking across the Loita plains, a pastime that is associated with men and because of this, they cheered us on. We inspired the local women who in their own words said ‘ we are happy to see our daughters climbing this hills as we are only used to seeing boys and men climb." ~ Millicent
"On the first day I thought I would not manage to the end but then, everyday I eagerly awoke to explore the plains more. I thought I would break and be buried in the bush, but the opposite happened, I am stronger than ever. It was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to do it again." ~ Donna