Jump to content

Koiyaki Guiding School - December 2013


pault
 Share

Recommended Posts

If you don't know about it, here is a link to the thread concerning Safaritalk's sponsorship of two female students at Koiyaki Guiding School, located in Naboisho Conservancy, adjacent to the Maasai Mara Reserve.
http://safaritalk.net/topic/9806-safaritalk-guiding-scholarship/?hl=koiyaki

 

I had the chance to visit the Koiyaki Guiding School while I was staying in Naboisho Conservancy adjacent to the Maasai Mara recently. I just wanted to see what it was like and maybe casually check how the Safaritalk-sponsored students are doing, so I didn’t pre-flag myself as a “sponsor’s representative”. Since my guide from Encounter Mara, Daniel Ntika, was a graduate himself (and a very successful one) I didn’t need anyone else to show me around. It is only 10 minutes from camp and so we just popped in on the way back from following lions for a few hours.

 

i-GSGCnZ5-XL.jpg

 

The Principal, Simon Nkoitoi, wasn’t there, but we went to announce my presence to the Deputy Principal, Julius Kiseimei. He was already very pleased to have a visitor, and that pleasure doubled when I told him I was part of the group from Safaritalk who were sponsoring two women currently enrolled. Definitely do not hesitate to drop by when you are in Olare Motorogi or Naboisho (good excuse for someone staying in Olare Motorogi or the reserve near Talek Gate to take a legal peek at Naboisho, actually – you could easily see something interesting on the way).

 

 

The school

 

i-hnSLJ2r-XL.jpg

Assistant Principal Julius Kisemei

i-fTzn299-XL.jpg

 

The school reminded me of other proudly run, basically funded rural schools I have seen in developing countries, although of course they do quite a bit of the learning outside, and that is where they all were today – learning to drive a truck in preparation for taking their HGV tests. The curriculum is clearly based on a vocational school and the place has that kind of feeling – oil as well as chalk. If you’re like me you’ll not have thought that of the training and learning, the birds, animals, ecology and plants are only part of the story, and key subjects at the school are things like driving and basic mechanics, geography, first aid and communications (they need to learn how to communicate with foreign guests, understand what they need, and how to present things to them). Another surprise is that their students can now come from all over the country if they have the sponsorship, although the vast majority (around 85% says Daniel) are still Maasai. The school also runs short courses open to anyone in the local community, such as foreign languages. The intention of all is to teach people in the local communities skills that will help them benefit appropriately from the safari boom on their doorstep, and that wider responsibility is actually more at the heart of their mission than simply turning out Kenya Professional Guides Association qualified guides. This, reading between lines, is what I understand.

 

They take just over 20 students a year (basically one classroom full) and have a very high graduation rate. Although I don’t know exactly how many graduates have gone on to get Bronze Medals, I believe it is more than 50% (probably substantially more, but keep in mind the KPGA qualification is not the sole goal of all students - employability is first) with at least 10% now having Silver Medals – a number growing as rewards from the camps for improved qualifications increase. The school recorded 16 or so Silver Medal alumni as of last year, but Daniel thinks that is seriously understated and that the actual figure is now in the high 20s but the school haven’t updated their records. Daniel should know, as one of the early Koiyaki Silver Medalists (2009) but I am sure there are real stats somewhere - keeping in mind Kenyan stats are often out of date. So don't go quoting theses figures with certainty - it just gives you an idea.

The honor roll - graduates of Koiyaki by year. Hopefully you can click on this to see a big enough picture to play look for your guide. Daniel and Benjamin (our guide at Kicheche in 2009) are there in the first class. The current class is not in this picture as it was obscured by other paper (it's not history yet!).

 

Note the stats on the left-hand side are for up to 2008!!

 

i-gr4Ng28.jpg

 

But of course the class of 2013-2014 is most interesting to us and Daniel found it for us. There are actually about 6 female students this year I think.

 

i-mFhfZsK-XL.jpg

 

While I was there a couple of students came back from their driving lessons to say hello, including one of the students that we sponsor, Sophy. People really appreciate it that you sponsor students here, as they clearly love their school and are grateful for the opportunities it has brought or will bring them. I went up two levels on the Daniel respect ladder instantly when he found out, even though I told him my personal role was insignificant as a group of us had come together to do it. The rest of you should definitely visit to get that feeling of what it means. I am not someone who likes that kind of attention at all, and I really only ‘fessed up on behalf of the rest of you – go and see yourself. I'd have stayed incognito if I thought I could. Despite the lack of correspondence from the Director, my feeling is that the people there are not at all indifferent.

 

And Sophy is really quite impressive – confident but not too much so, and clearly intelligent and attentive. I am sure she is going to be a fine guide and camp owners if you don’t snap her up now, you can’t cry when you hear of her raking in the tourists by word of mouth at another camp! She says thanks to you all and that this is something that is really great for her. I didn’t ask to see either of the women and I didn’t ask Sophy why she doesn’t write, before you ask (hahaha). Like I said, I didn’t really want attention. I did feel I had to ask the Deputy Principal why the Principal doesn’t write, and he looked pained and said to please email him (the Deputy Princiipal). He checks his email and promises he will reply if we do.

 

So how cool is school?

Students say hi to Safaritalk

 

i-VZFd8sN-XL.jpg


More mugging for the camera and I smell a bit of true romance among the usual Maasai bromance!

 

i-cQSKZTX-XL.jpg

Sophy, a teacher (I think) and the proud alumni Daniel

i-6RZQDW8-XL.jpg

And of course I managed to put my foot in my mouth. Another two students came to say hi and thanks, in lieu of the other student we sponsor. Just because it was what they were studying, I asked the girl if she was finding the truck driving difficult, without thinking that was probably the most obvious question to ask a woman in the world (Why didn’t I just come out with “That wheel must be a bit heavy, love. Can your wee feet reach the pedals?”). But she wasn’t at all put out, rolled her eyes and said she had no problem with it – and she was better than the guy (in the picture) sniggering at my question beside her. To his credit, he admitted that was true. This is another who is going to be a hit as a guide.

 

i-2dmz5Rf-XL.jpg

 

 

In the classrooms – current topics were clearly the stars at night and of course the driving. Looks like there has been a nasty accident in the simulation!

 

i-TrbGGR9-XL.jpg

 

A small snake collection.

 

i-N5vF4d9-XL.jpg

 

 

i-fm9P9R4-XL.jpg

 

i-XgSV24k-XL.jpg

 

 

i-fVrS8wc-XL.jpg

 

 

i-Kz9C2fp-XL.jpg

 

 

i-cNHznVj-XL.jpg

 

 

Early days - getting familiar with some facts about the wildlife.

 

i-5dBvhtB-XL.jpg

 

 

And don't forget where you come from.

i-f7zRFHc-XL.jpg

 

And after the photo Sophy ran off and then came back to give me (on behalf of us all) some gifts, which I wore for the rest of the day. Daniel took the picture and seems to have focused on the wall, but I think the resulting soft focus favors me, although Daniel's near NBA height does neither of us a favor. Not sure which prankster student slipped a turtle under my jumper though. Little devil!

 

i-qjMFxcG-XL.jpg


Really nice visit and close to a perfect morning - but I'll wait for the full trip report to explain why that was!

Edited by pault
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and in case you think one of the students in the truck looks a bit well-fed, he's the teacher!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So good to have some news of the school, @@pault and our students. Hopefully your dropping by will encourage a slightly better information flow and no doubt other ST members may drop by again over time.  was ST sponsorship for one year only? If so I guess 'our girls' are heading towards the finish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@pault  it's unfair to raise our hopes that she'll write something :P

 

Good to see so much about the school and the students.

Edited by JohnR
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@pault

Really interesting report

I wasn't aware of the sponsorship so it is great to hear about it, and the fact it is having a real impact on people's lives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a wonderful summary of the school, made in your usual, light hearted and self deprecating manner. You could almost be an honorary Aussie! :D

 

I'm really impressed with it all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just like @@TonyQ I knew nothing about this after a few months of being here at least twice a day. I think this is a great idea and should be continued and ST should blow its own trumpet more often to say what it does and not just the talk here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to see such a school. Could you a little improvement on the snake names though. The latin name for the mamba-genus is Dendroaspis. Both the black mamba D. polylepis and Eastern Green Mamba D. angusticeps occur in the region. Here somebody mis-spelled the genus name, which can just a grammar error, but it also looks he wasn't quite sure if it was a black mamba or eastern green mamba and included a bit of both in the name.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The jewellery looks very cool :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to see such a school. Could you a little improvement on the snake names though. The latin name for the mamba-genus is Dendroaspis. Both the black mamba D. polylepis and Eastern Green Mamba D. angusticeps occur in the region. Here somebody mis-spelled the genus name, which can just a grammar error, but it also looks he wasn't quite sure if it was a black mamba or eastern green mamba and included a bit of both in the name.

@@egilio... Yes, my impression is that the permanent teachers are mostly on the practical skills side. Would be a good question who teaches them anything more than the most basic science. I suspect it may be volunteers. And that kind of thing (they have enough trouble writing in English, never mind latin) is definitely not the achool's strong point. Your theory sounds about right. Even guide graduates who obviously know their stuff would get shy if you were to start using the Latin names with them - this is the nature of the Koiyaki guides... but they love their lions!

 

Fancy a trip to Kenya? I bet they would love to have you for a couple of weeks to sort that kind of thing out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Paul for the report. It gives me a valuable insight into guide schools in Kenya. sWonderful job that ST has done in sponsoring the Student guides.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@pault did the school say if the students do any sort of internship at the different camps to gain actual experience?

Edited by PT123
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, just got back from Blighty to the HQ today and yes, I do think it was and is a positive thing that you have all done with the scholarships. Am glad as well that we have been able to put forward constructive criticism re the feedback and comms, and with your blessing I would like to do the same thing this year, the number of scholarships dependent on the amount put forward obviously.

 

Matt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, just got back from Blighty to the HQ today and yes, I do think it was and is a positive thing that you have all done with the scholarships. Am glad as well that we have been able to put forward constructive criticism re the feedback and comms, and with your blessing I would like to do the same thing this year, the number of scholarships dependent on the amount put forward obviously.

 

Matt

 

I am in. When does the new school year start?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Count me in as well. I had no idea that a sponsorship scheme existed. how much did it cost last year to sponsor the students?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@pault did the school say if the students do any sort of internship at the different camps to gain actual experience?

 

Yes, the camps and lodges in the area take them on as interns and later as trainees. I didn't ask a lot of questions because I was avoiding the "sponsor's inspection tour" feel. I am sure they have stats ans so on, and we can request them. Let me know by PM if you want Julius' email address - I knw you are a keen supporter of this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

@pault did the school say if the students do any sort of internship at the different camps to gain actual experience?

 

Yes, the camps and lodges in the area take them on as interns and later as trainees. I didn't ask a lot of questions because I was avoiding the "sponsor's inspection tour" feel. I am sure they have stats ans so on, and we can request them. Let me know by PM if you want Julius' email address - I knw you are a keen supporter of this.

 

Just before the half-way point through their curriculum, the school contacts all the lodges and camps in the area asking around for opportunities to take the students on as interns/observers. Most camps oblige. The students often have to get involved in all aspects of camp life, and are certainly not limited to spending time with the guides. They'll help waiters, gardeners, dishwashers, cooks, mechanics, and car-washers. When there's an opportunity, they'll accompany the guides on game drives and walks. The point being that they begin to understand what it takes to be a camp employee. They begin to appreciate all the other players in the team before they become the high-flying guides. After they graduate, they often go back into those positions again, sometimes for as long as 6 months in order to ensure they fully appreciate all facets of camp life and operations so they can work as a team with other departments better when they finally do get their own game drives and guests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy