Event organisation can be cumbersome! I never knew that until I found myself in the organizing committee of the mighty Lake Victoria boat race. God decided to ‘bless’ us with rain the whole of Friday and we were all praying for the sun on Saturday the 26th day of the race.
The worst thing that can ever happen is having a chilly morning and you forgot your sweater at home, but that was not taking me back to the house because I had a lot of things to put in place before the event began… participants had to be registered, tents pitched, the lake marked, media members registered… there was a lot to do but the committee members had it all in hand and delivered on all: big up guys, none of this would have happened without you.
The main agenda for the event was to raise awareness for the ‘Save the Sitatunga antelope’ cause – the special breed that is found in the impala sanctuary next to Lake Victoria. The turnout was impressive and I have never seen as big a social gathering in Kisumu! The participants from all the beaches came prepared – and as the races commences, I came to the conclusion that only the chosen ones in this life are able to do the rowing! If I do ever choose to go over to the participant side, I will chose Ndere women’s team because they scooped the first prize of 40,000/= and for the men Usenge took the trophy and the money home. For the second team the prize was a trophy and 25,000/= for both men and women and it was taken by Luanda Kotieno Men and the Ndere women, “GO Ndere women”. The 3rd position was taken by men from Luanda Kotieno and women from Usenge both teams walked home with 15,000/= and a trophy.
There were many more activities to spice up the day like a dance performance from Yawa, a poem from Arya Primary school, a Skit from Joel Omino Primary school, a song from a local ladies singing group and not forgetting performance from the municipal choir.
We were honored to have the director of KWS Mr. Julius Kipng’etich in our midst, Honorable Shakeel Shabbir, Central Nyanza Regional Commissioner Mr. Arthur Osia, Kisumu Town East District Commissioner Mr Mabea Mogaka and Mr Daniel Okumu, the Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman.
Others were investor Hon Jared Kangwana whose Monarch Investments’ 24-bed eco-lodge at the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary that will be ready for occupation as from December this year.
KWS have plans to raise money to construct a 3-km perimeter wall fence around the sanctuary at an estimated cost of Sh28 million as well as create public awareness about the plight of the shy sitatunga and the importance of conserving the wetlands.
Thanks go to KWS, Ministry of Tourism, Kenya Investment Authority, Equator Bottlers ltd, Municipal Council of Kisumu, The Star newspaper, Parkview Hotel and Apartments, Elsuco Tours and Travel, tour operators, Lake Victoria Tourism Association, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Lake Paddlers Association, Homa Lime Company, Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), Kisumu Green Project and boat operators, as well as Integritour for making the event such a success.
Next year things will be big and better than this year and Integritour will be glad to package the event in one of our western Kenya packages and for you who did not attend. Contact us to find out more.