The Beacon Boys Program Ngong Hills Hike
The much anticipated 30th November Ngong Hills hike was finally here, from the look on their faces, the boys and fathers were really eager to experience the adventure together. Parishes in the program looked forward to share their experiences while implementing the program and learn from each other. The hike was the climax of 2019 Beacon Boys activities. It also brought to a close, the month of the Men which is usually celebrated in the month of November. A lot of logistics had been put together over time and the mentors tasked with the mobilization. The objective was to not only have one bonding session for as many Parishes as possible, but also make it a learning session. By 7.30 am hiking teams were in Ngong Hills at the Kona Baridi side.
In total, there were 200 boys, 45 men, four female Caritas Nairobi staff and one young girl who had insisted on accompanying the brother and father. There were six Parishes represented in total. Apart from the uncertain weather, everything else was going on well. On the eve of the hike, rumors had it that the weather was going to be extremely bad, sending parents into panic mode and some asking if the activity could be cancelled or rescheduled. This however became the beginning of the learning session; messages were sent out to parents assuring them that we the organizers had taken adverse measures to ensure all was in control, but then again, a need to let go of the boys.
Most boys today are treated as children yet are expected to behave like grown-ups. It is important that we take note of the fact that event as we empower the boys, parents have a part to play in enhancing what is offered in the program. Having rained all night, the place was extremely cold and misty; a very discouraging sight. Just before the hike started, the skies cleared and the journey began, full of adventure and excitement. Halfway some of the boys would scream and express shock at the long journey ahead as they moved from one hill to the next. The lessons were many along the way; resilience, focus, obedience, hard work and sweat as a means to achievement, caring for one another especially in tough times and many more. Along the way, participants especially the men, engaged in small talk especially about the program and what they felt about it.
One man, Mr. Karanja of St. Jude Donholm Parish where the program is very strong, expressed how he had landed back in the country the previous evening just to join his son in the hike. In his words he said, “How can I ask my son to participate in something that am not a part of?” He went on to tell how the previous evening he had asked his wife and the house help not to bother waking up to make breakfast for them and that it was a “Man’s thing” so they would sought themselves out. This was a good lesson for the son who now knew that a man can also take charge of his life and not necessarily wait on others to serve them. Before the hike started, the team organizers distributed refreshments to the participants, asking everyone to carry for themselves.
However, some of them ate immediately and had to be reminded that the supplies were meant for later hours Mr. Karanja made a very hilarious observation, “You know today I have just realized that boys and fathers are all the same except for the height! Immediately we got our share, we devoured it with relish and didn’t care what next until we were reminded of the purpose!” What he was actually pointing out is that the boys are vulnerable and need guidance and tolerance. If nobody mentors them and assume they are men, they will lose focus in life. The men expressed joy that such an activity had been organized and hope for many more joint activities in future