Geography Expedition to Pokot

Date 27th June – 1st July, 2016
Location: Marich Pass field studies centre, West Pokot

We arrived safely on Monday afternoon and received a warm welcome at the field studies centre. After a long and hot journey we were delighted to hear that our first activity was gold panning in the river. The students watched the local women panning for gold in the stream and after observing what looked like an easy technique quickly realised it was very difficult and required strong muscles. The students attempted to find gold but unfortunately were not lucky this time. Instead we took the opportunity to cool off in the river and enjoyed swimming next to the crocodile pool, we were assured the crocodiles were friendly after being blessed by the elders.

On Tuesday morning we split into 3 groups and each visited three local homesteads in the pokot village. We learnt about the traditional life style for the pokot people and some of us were lucky enough to attempt shooting a bow and arrow. We gave each home owner a small present and learnt to say thank you in Pokot for their hospitality. In the afternoon we visited the local market in Sigor which was very busy and lively. The young Pokot moran men dress in their traditional clothes for the market day and enjoy socialising and displaying their heritage. We then drove to the Wei Wei river and took a refreshing swim in the deep pools and had fun in the small rapids. After dinner we had the pleasure of hearing stories and songs from a local singer around the camp fire.
Wednesday was the most challenging day and one many of us were not looking forward to. We were faced with the challenge of Mount Koh, standing at a steep vertical height of 3211m, with its rocky peak in the clouds. We woke up at 5am to reach the base as early as possible so we could avoid the hot sun. The climb was extremely demanding and the terrain was very steep and rocky. Unfortunately not everyone managed to summit but 4 students and Mr Aston were successful. This group took 12 hours to walk up and down the mountain in one day, which is a tremendous achievement.
Thursday we all woke up with sore legs after the exhausting climb. We visited Turkwell Hydroelectric power station which is home to Kenya’s tallest dam at 153 metres. The view from the top of the dam wall was spectacular, we also walked deep underground through a long tunnel to view two turbine generators. The tour was extremely informative and very useful for the IGCSE course. In the afternoon we drove back to the centre and visited the local river again for a swim, during the evening we heard from a local pastoral vet and learnt about farming in West Pokot.

Friday morning we departed for a long journey back to school, feeling tired but thankful for a wonderful experience.