Recently WinShape Wilderness’ International Coordinator had a chance to visit one of our international partners, BlueSky Ministries. BlueSky Ministries is located in right outside of Nairobi, Kenya and has been in action for over 10 years now. BlueSky provides experiential learning through the challenge course and off-site adventures. They also run a summer camp and local community and youth ministries. These services are for Nationals as well as Internationals. We love our relationship with BlueSky and visit multiple times a year. Our most recent trip was centered around training BlueSky facilitators and long-term planning and goal setting with the BlueSky leadership team.
Our passion for working internationally comes from seeing the need for Experiential Learning around the globe and discovering how this type of programming can impact people of all nations. After all, the vision for our organization is to see inspired life-change in people around the world through experiential learning. Working with BlueSky Ministries is just one of the ways we are able to do this.
While our International Coordinator, Sarah, was in Kenya, she was able to journal some thoughts. Read Sarah’s Kenyan Narrative below:
The equatorial sun sinks low into the hazy horizon as I pause for a moment to take in my surroundings. The soft sound of a propane stove whirrs, heating the mix of water, tea and milk that sits in the pot atop it. The deep rumble of a diesel engine grows slowly louder as a white Land Rover Defender emerges from the bush and comes rambling into the otherwise empty campground.
The “campground” is simply a cleared area in the middle of the bush, with crude, thatched-roof shelters (open on all sides) that denote where one’s tent may be set up. The only tents in the campground this particular evening are ours and one other solitary tent on the other side about 30 yards away, by which the LandRover now sits. Surrounding the campground on all sides is the African “bush” – dry, rocky landscape covered with acacia trees and low, thorny shrubs.
A couple yards from where our tents sit a small fire is finally catching in the designated pit, and the crackling sound is a comforting one – the light from the now-set sun is quickly fading, and as the air grows cooler the nocturnal hunters begin to stir. As evening moves into night and the sky changes from blue to deep indigo to black, the glory of the heavens unfolds like it can only when it is completely unpolluted by the lights of any city. It is a sky so full of stars one can hardly pick out any constellations among them, so dark that The Milky Way stands out like a white translucent streak across it.
In the distance we hear the unmistakable, deep, guttural sound of a lion communicating with its pride. I’ve heard this sound before, but now it elicits a very unique feeling as I sit here, out in the open, surrounded by pitch black dark, with nothing between the wild hunter and me. Normally lions hunt antelope and zebra and those sorts of things. But we are in Tsavo National Park in Kenya, and Tsavo has a history of man-eating lions. Mostly it’s just that – history. There have been no man-eating lions in Tsavo for many years. But still, one can’t help but think about it at a time like this.
Kenya (like most places) always impresses me with its vast diversity. Sitting here in the middle of the bush surrounded by wildness and quiet and beauty, the busy and crowded city of Nairobi feels like a different planet. But I was just there this morning. In fact this Tsavo visit is a two-day break in the middle of a longer three-week trip during which I get to work with the BlueSky Adventures team of world-class facilitators in Nairobi. BlueSky is a long-standing partner of ours – like Wilderness, they have a passion for impacting people through experiential learning. And they are amazing at what they do. I’ve just spent the last week watching and observing and learning from them. The concept of team-building is still a novel one here in Kenya, and it’s a moving thing to watch a group of adults experience for the first time what it’s like to climb a 40-foot tall pole and then stand atop it and jump off (there are ropes and harnesses involved, of course).
The excitement around experiential learning here is both refreshing and contagious. I desire to carry this enthusiasm back to Wilderness with me. But even more so, I want to bring back the beautiful faces of Kenyans who have been impacted in a life-changing way by it.
To find out more about our International Program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out: http:\\www.BlueSkyKenya.org