NARETOI - MT. KENYA WOMEN'S EXPEDITION

 Cultural Exchange. Women's Empowerment. Adventure.

 

This journey begins with a week of cultural exchange during which the group camps next to a remote Maasai village.  We spend this time learning from each other; The American women learn about the Maasai women' lives and culture while the Maasai women learn about cheerful giving, patience and will to learn of the American women, exploring women's issues, getting to know each other and forming a strong group. During this bonding week, we all let go off our own values, believe and traditions and we pick a new culture that makes us equal and of the same value. Next we travel to Mt. Kenya to make a combined group effort to climb to Point Lenana (16,500') - self-supported!  This experience creates the container for making profound and lasting connections across cultures, as well as sharing an unparalleled adventure with an incredibly diverse group of women. Mt. Kenya clumping is an opportunity for all the women to leave behind the task they have and the challenges they face and focus on self introspection which have led to talent discovery, mind refreshing and replanning among the Maasai women.

Rafaelle, Manei & Naisimoi, 2016

Rafaelle, Manei & Naisimoi, 2016

Naretoi is a Maasai word that means "women helping women." There have been four successful rounds of this expedition so far, and we are committed to keeping it going!  The Maasai community we work with has been very receptive to and appreciative of this project and are hoping that it continues on an annual basis.  All four trips have been unique and incredible, challenging and transformative, life changing experiences for everyone involved.  

Matayan, Rafaelle and Narekoo, 2014

Matayan, Rafaelle and Narekoo, 2014

Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest on the African continent (next to Kiliminjaro).  We climb to Pt. Lenana, which is approximately 16,500 feet in elevation and takes six days of trekking in total. Most people who climb this mountain hire porters, cooks and guides. We will be doing the whole thing self-supported. 

Language: Many Maasai speak English because it is one of the national languages of Kenya. If they have been to school at some point in their lives then they have studied English and Swahili. Their native language is Ki-Maasai. Maasai women are less likely to have been to school than men, and the older they are the less likely it is that they speak English. We always include a few Maasai women who speak English to take part in the Mt. Kenya portion of the project so they can help with translation, but it is not a requirement that all the Maasai ladies speak English.  For the most part communication in East Africa is pretty easy because English is so widely spoken.   

Cost:  $1750.  This covers the cost of food, transportation within Kenya, accommodations, group gear, park fees and other miscellaneous costs. This amount will also cover all of the costs for one Maasai woman to participate. (This does not include the cost of airfare, visas, vaccinations, transport to and from the airport, or incidentals).

Next Trip:  January 2018

Gear List: For those who express serious interest we will send you a suggested gear list.  It includes all of your basic backpacking needs, clothes for hot and cold weather, plus some used gear that one Maasai woman could borrow for the climb.  

Difficulty:  No technical experience is necessary to participate in this trip.  It is recommended, but not required, that you have some mountain/backpacking experience.  It is important to be in strong physical condition, since it is a steep climb and the altitude significant.

 

Rosalie and Natayio getting geared up, 2015

Rosalie and Natayio getting geared up, 2015

Interested in joining?  Fill out an application and send it to Rafaelle Abramovitz at idgetrotter@hotmail.com. 

This trip is organized and led by Rafaelle Abramovitz, who has been on numerous trips to East Africa, living and working with the Maasai. Her involvement there began when she taught at the Amboselli Guide School in 2007 and 2011.