You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
From “Desiderata”, by Max Ehrmann
Can you imagine being 3 years old and so excited about a boat trip the next day that you cannot sleep the night before?
The following is a brief but colorful report by LEAP Preschool Director Mary Mwendia about a recent day excursion to Crescent Island Game Sanctuary taken by LEAP 4-year-old and 3-year-old students and teachers. In order to reach this beautiful animal preserve, visitors travel by boat across gorgeous Lake Naivasha, often encountering hippos and up to 300 different bird species on the way. The island itself is populated by nonpredator game animals, which visitors can walk among with no fencing to limit them and minimal manmade structures to spoil the view.
Funds from monthly child sponsorship of LEAP students made the following day possible. Let’s hear from Mary:
The most fun activity was boat riding. The 4-year-olds were so excited by the boat ride and it was a great task to keep them under control. They talked among themselves while in the boat and asked lots of questions. Some even waved at those in other boats on Lake Naivasha, they were so happy. Not to mention that some came to school very smartly dressed because this was the day for the tour. Others who have never carried bags did so on that day. After alighting from the bus at LEAP at day’s end, they wanted to be back on the boat. They kept asking when we will go back for another ride. For them it was great fun.
For the 3-year-olds, some kept still on the boat and did not move, because they were afraid of the many waters. They did not even talk. Others kept asking questions, like, “What if the boat sinks?” One boy at first refused to board the boat and cried out until he was encouraged to like it, but he still boarded double minded. It was good to see him smile at the end of his ride. These things clearly show how our kids are not often exposed to such experiences. They marveled at everything they saw, even after we had psychologically prepared them in advance about what was to be expected.
In the water the children were able to view hippopotamuses from a distance. It was such a great experience for them, and I am sure it will remain in their memories forever.
After reaching the island, the children and adults were taken for a walk by the game warden. They visited a museum where they were shown the skulls of different animals that once lived in the sanctuary.
The animals found in Crescent Island Park that we were able to view were impalas, giraffes, wildebeest, different types of birds, zebras, buffalos, dik-diks and gazelles. Children asked questions out of curiosity. At points, they made the warden laugh when they sang songs related to the animals they had learned about in school, such as “Giraffe’s Long Neck”.
Our children enjoyed a plate of chicken and fries that had been arranged by prior reservation with the park. They each got a soda too. We also carried along snacks from Naomi’s Village, such as yogurt, milk, nuts and cakes. It was great fun for the kids and staff to eat all this good food together.
The parents of the community kids told us they were overjoyed by this trip as we were dropping their children off in the evenings. The mother of Peter Kiruri & Angel Wangari told me that on behalf of the other parents, she was so grateful because of the trip. She recounted that Peter was so excited that he did not sleep well the night before. Peter kept touching the clothes he was going to wear the following day!
We hope to have more of these opportunities for our students at LEAP. Reaching full monthly sponsorship of all current LEAP students will help make this possible. Will you sponsor a child today?
By Mary Mwendia – LEAP Preschool Director