It all started with receiving an invitation to the 2024 Tigoni Leadership Getaway. Organised by the Strathmore Student Mentoring Office, this retreat that took place from 18th to 20th March,  is a rare opportunity that few students have the chance to experience. I felt honoured to be invited to apply for it, knowing that it promised not just scenic beauty but also personal growth, mentorship, and meaningful connections with fellow student leaders.

On the morning of March 18th, I joined other young male student leaders, eagerly anticipating our departure for Tigoni Study Center. Along the way, we were greeted by the stunning greenery and serene beauty of the landscape, complete with towering trees and sprawling tea plantations. The allure of Tigoni’s natural charm captivated us all, particularly those experiencing it for the first time. The itinerary was meticulously crafted. The first day focused on creating camaraderie among the students present while also integrating opportunities for learning and self-discovery. After disembarking from the bus and stowing our luggage at Tigoni House, we began with an Icebreaker session in the living room, which gave us a chance to get acquainted. After this brief session, we had an insightful session with Roy Were, focusing on Manliness. We discussed our unique definitions of masculinity and the crisis of manliness in today’s society. It was enthralling to hear how as men we have our own unique view of what it means to be a man, and also comforting to know that we are all figuring it out as we go. Roy was able to share some key insights that would help us in our path such as setting clear goals for ourselves and working towards achieving these goals.

Later in the afternoon, we had the chance to hear from  two ladies, Dr. Beatrice Njeru and Treza Muhoro, who engaged us in a lively discussion on understanding women in today’s society, especially in the realm of dating and creating meaningful relationships under the topic “Ni Nini Ladies?”. They were able to answer a lot of our questions, but more importantly, they were able to provide us with very good insights so as to understand ladies. 

The culinary experience at Tigoni was exceptional, offering a variety of delicious meals throughout the retreat. Moreover, the retreat venue itself offered ample opportunities for physical recreation, including friendly matches between students and staff, jogs on the running track and cycling amidst the scenic surroundings. .

The retreat also included spiritual nourishment, with mass conducted on the second and third days. Fr. Charles Mundia guided us through a meditation session, emphasising the significance of seeking and identifying role models in life, drawing inspiration from figures like Saint Joseph. He also answered our burning spiritual questions later in the retreat, most of which focused on our faith and relationship with God. 

The highlight of the retreat was the Getaway project where we were encouraged to create an impact on society as leaders. The Project site was Maramba Tea Farm, which hosts a daycare centre.  We added a fresh coat of paint to the fence of the daycare which made the school look brighter and livelier. Moreover, in commemoration of World Water Day, we were able to set up sinks and connect a series of pipes so as to provide fresh water for not only the children there, but for the community in general. The daycare catered  for the children of the workers at the Tea farm and factory and was in need of assistance in various areas. By the end of our time at Maramba, we were satisfied with our efforts and vowed to return to do more for those living there. 

The Tigoni Leadership Getaway was more than just a retreat; it was an experience that changed our lives and strengthened our bonds as student leaders. Amid the beauty of nature, Tigoni provided a refuge where we could pause, reflect, and build stronger bonds while sharing  hopes, concerns, and experiences. The connections we made and the knowledge we gained will undoubtedly influence our goals as university students and future leaders. 

Article written by: Martin Mareka

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