Introducing the Kericho Fellows June 2014

Introducing the first ever 2014 Kericho fellows!

They are an eclectic bunch of extremely bright, funny, passionate and ambitious individuals from the UK, Germany, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Norway, Netherlands, France, USA and Sweden.

Oh – and they’re super lovely too.

Check out what they had to say about each other….

cropped group shot kericho_wideFrom left to right: Lily, Lisa, Melissa, Sehal, Tom, Luke (Programme Co-ordinator), Jay, Duncan, Alessandra, Katrina, Katie, Spencer, Anna, Daniel, Charlie, Marthe, Chris, Vendela


Chris on Lily

When I first met Lily, she was very friendly and chatty. We talked a lot on the bus journey from the airport to the hotel. She shared some of her exciting adventures from the past and it sounds like she has done a lot!

She is a very funny and interesting person.

Lily gets involved in discussions a lot and is not afraid to share her ideas or opinions which is great! Has very good ideas!

Also, I am deaf and find it hard to hear people at time but Lily is very helpful and repeats herself and tries to be more clear if I ask her to.


Spencer on Jay:

Who is Jay Kishan? Given the choice of any animal, Jay would love nothing more than to be a caterpillar. Why? Because one day he would be a beautiful butterfly. His favorite letter is “J” because it spells “Jumanji.” No one else likes cricket but Jay does. What’s a day in the life of Jay? According to the man, the myth, the mystery, it consists of a day constructing his cocoon. Obviously in a metaphorical sense, he is quick to emphasize. Cream soda makes Jay feel real. An avid Avril Lavigne fan, he spends hours listening to and contemplating “Girlfriend.”


Tom on Duncan

With the vast waste of the Masai Mara stretched out below him, Duncan Murray Rennie Fogg was pondering the journey that led him here.

As a serial entrepreneur, Duncan was well used to the testing process, but his current venture of a hot air balloon company was slightly out of his comfort zone. His companions, Duncan ‘Justin’ Leonard and Duncan ‘RR’ Tolkien were engaged in a heated argument about the direction of the balloon ride, their raised voices grating horribly against the folk music blaring from the radio.

As the balloon drifted waywardly across the African plains, Duncan tried to focus minds and get on with the task, but his attempts were to no avail, as the argument was heating up. Duncan Tolkien was getting increasingly physical, and just as the music turned to electronic, he heaved Duncan Leonard over the side of the balloon where he plunged to his death.


Melissa on Charlie:

We are sitting at the dinner table and I ask Charlie: “What is your dream holiday?” He says: “That’s a difficult one.” After some thinking he says, “I would like to go away to the English countryside and live in a little cottage for a week by myself.” He is not afraid to be introspective and enjoys his solitude.

He epitomises the BK fellow. Action orientated, opinionated and seeking to make a positive difference. His aim is to gain more confidence to make something out of nothing.

He also has a wealth of knowledge concerning international development, his major at UCL. Evidence is on his blog which I had the pleasure of reading –

A development enthusiast, who avidly reads and speaks about it. When asked to define development he says it “means nothing”, just one of those abstract words. That’s Charlie Salow for you.


Alessandra on Katrina:

With a preference for a simple life on a farm, the ambitions of this young lady at first are dubious. Living with a donkey, horse and ginger hair, this is further cemented. With a past of obsessive piercings and protesting, it’s a triumph she has made it this far. Equally questionable is her blog, with an undisclosed topic, this has achieved surprising success. Upon befriending, Katrina is actually a lovely person. She dreams of working for the UN, promoting peace and moving to Africa. Working with her on Balloon Kenya highlights a number of social and creative qualities. Moreover, she has definitely proved herself a valued and key member of the group. Academically, she studies  English and philosophy, so maybe it’s fair to say there’s hope yet. Peace out.


Sehal on Anna:

Anna, a girl who is incredibly amused by poo-related jokes, was born in Germany and is currently studying Economics at Edinburgh University. With a keen interest in pursuing development economics, as well as for travelling, Anna is excited to be spending time in Kenya this summer. Anna loves fitness and nutrition, and within the first few days of being in Kericho, has already become a popular customer at Mr. Kenya’s gym! She also enjoys cooking, but you’ll usually catch her eating her dessert before her main course, as she fears the possibility of getting too full too soon! Anna is looking forward to testing the bottom-up approach to development that the Balloon Kenya programme promotes.


Jay on Spencer:

5 Weird questions with Spencer Lachlan Kiniry 

Q1.  If you could be any time zone which time zone would you be in and why?

A. The time zone in Kiribati because Kiribati is party central.

Q2.  Describe your dream job

A. I would like to work in Jurassic Park because dinosaurs would be fantastic.

Q3.  Would you turn left or right?

A. Left because all good things come from the left.

Q4.  What do you love?

A.  Waffles because who doesn’t love waffles.

Q5. Describe colour to a blind person?

A. It’s a way of perceiving reality using the socially constructed descriptions of light waves such as red, blue, yellow and etc.


Daniel on Ellie:

Ellie, 20 years old from Reading is always up for a laugh and her bubbly, fun loving personality captures you instantaneously and makes you feel good around her. She’s studying geography in her second year at Oxford, where she likes to have a swim from time to time in the river. Being a traveler at heart, Ellie had volunteered in Vietnam before she came to Kenya, working with orphans and teaching English. An Inter-Rail trip let her explore the beauty of Eastern Europe and also was the origin of some funny anecdotes. In the future, Ellie is keen to see more of the world, in particular Asia.


Charlie on Melissa:

With her soft Zimbabwean accent and broad smile, Melissa is here to do good. From running charity events for Harare primary schools, to caring for her younger sisters (when at home, she’s often to be found snuggling with ‘her babies’), her business is to help, and to help cheerfully. Her spirituality offers guidance by day, and by night, Kanye takes up the mantle in her dreams offering words of wisdom; and so, Mandisetsa (her nickname – ‘you make me smile’ in Shona) is increasingly confident as a businesswoman/blogger/fashionista. She might seem shy to strangers, but behind the smile is an outgoing and funny go-getter, raring to apply the lessons from Balloon Kenya back home in Harare.


Katie on Lisa:

It takes a great person to want to clean up the world like Wall-E. Meet Lisa. A young UNESCO blah blah who would not take music to a desert island but instead; books, sun lotion and sunglasses – (note, no clothes). When I asked her which cartoon character she would most like to be, it was a close call between Wall-E and his true love, Eve. This I found pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the fact that she was part of a flash mob (back before they were so popular) and rode around on a tram dressed as a scuba diver.


Marthe on Vendela

Representing the best of both worlds, Vendela was born in Sweden but spent years living in California before moving back to Sweden again. Originally a small town girl, Vendela is now loving the city life in London and all the opportunities that comes with it. Apart from studying a degree in Arts and Sciences, Vendela keeps busy with everything from yoga to football. The main motivation for coming on the Balloon Kenya programme was an interest in entrepreneurship and business startups and she hopes her stay in Kenya will help her decide whether a future career in the field is right for her.


Katrina on Alessandra:

Meet Alessandra; once upon a time she was a small-town girl who humbly dreamt of becoming the local bus driver. Teenage years of Strawberry Bellinis and blonde hair dye have corrupted her once innocent dreams and Alessandra now has the ground-breaking aspiration to ‘be rich and shop’, whilst living alongside her football-playing husband. Despite her questionable aspirations, Alessandra remains a hopeless romantic (just ask her about her tattoo). All jokes aside, she is a bit of a genius (self-proclaimed) and can give an impressive run down of her passions concerning the gender gap in developing countries. She has an infectious smile and it is wonderful to have someone as lovely and funny as her on the Balloon Kenya programme. If you can’t find her, just follow the sound of cheesy 60s music and she will inevitably be there boogieing away, even if it is just by herself.


Lisa on Katie:

When asked the question about her absolute role model, Katie did not need to think long. Coco Chanel. And why? Katie explains that Coco Chanel revolutionised the world through fashion. She is bold and introduced female suits! Coco Chanel breaths style and gave fashion a new meaning, as opposed to Kerry Katona “who is just a big mess”. Fortunately, Katie likes to think she is more like Coco Chanel so there’s no doubt Katie will do her part revolutionising Kericho town! In five years time, you will find Katie making it as a buyer in NY or London, but until then: be aware, she may just surprise you.


Anna on………..?

Let’s play a game: Can you tell me who I am?

I start simple: The language they speak in my home country is ordu. I have an older sister, and my favorite color is red.

I guess this doesn’t really pin it down – maybe this will help: I have never been in love, but I love photography.

No? Still don’t know who I am? I try to be more specific: I learned Russian at school, but it didn’t stick. I also started learning 4 instruments; and quite well too – but I don’t play them very often anymore. That’s what I call real commitment.

What? You have no idea who I might be? I guess I have to go into more detail: I would consider myself the adventurous type. Adrenaline is right up my alley – something like skydiving. You see, I am living on the edge. That’s why I enjoy scooping out and then eating fish eyes.

Have I said too much? Well, for all the people still left in the dark: I have stitches under my chin.

If you still don’t know who I am – come and find me?


Lily on Chris:

Chris is a really smart and outgoing guy. He studies finance in Scotland and does sports like mountain biking and diving, both really cool hobbies.
He’s a very patient person who wasn’t bothered by me falling asleep on him and waking him up in the process: my knees and head were constantly knocking up against him throughout the bumpy ride from Nairobi to Kericho on our first day.
He was deaf until age 5, and now hears pretty well considering.
He also told me with a laugh, that when he was a kid he used to wear pink Barbie shoes that would play music when you pressed the button on the side. I would love to see a photo of that!

All in all, he’s a pretty cool person who doesn’t let much get in his way.


Ellie on Daniel

Daniel has done so many interesting things with his life already! Coming from a rural area near Stuttgart, Germany, he first began travelling when he worked as an intern in Australia. As well as studying in Galway for a masters in International Management, Daniel acquired the skill of bee keeping with an NGO in Canada, where his crazy boss had chosen this profession despite having an allergy to bees! In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing and watching football, reading, playing poker, and (of course) travelling. Whilst in Kenya he would quite like the opportunity to hug a lion, or at least see a lot of animals on safari! I look forward to getting to know Daniel more over the next 6 weeks 🙂


Vendela on Marthe
En nydelig jente.
My Norweigien neighbour. Not the typical Norwegian though as she would rather be living in little ole’ Scotland – in a tiny town called St Andrews – away from the glistening lights of Oslo. A city girl succumbs the St Andrews rain.
This is her first time in Africa but it’s an experience that has already been much better than any summer job at a bank. Her attraction to Balloon Kenya was mainly initiated by a panic over the fact that the rest of her life might be spent behind a desk.
This is the time to experience things and seeing monkeys and lush green tea plantations in Kericho for 6 weeks is not a bad place to broaden the horizons.

She’s a creative, sweet and wonderful girl and is even managing without being in the near vicinity of a western style cafe for coffee and tea 🙂


Duncan on Tom


You are cordially invited to dinner with Thomas Martinez-Blair…

Guests: Pablo Escobar, Clement Atlee, David Hume and Cleopatra

Theme: World Cup!



The finest Salmon, freshly caught on the eastern Scottish coast, painstakingly smoked for 12 hours. Served with Caviar



Only served medium rare. Accompanied with both mash and chips with one stalk of broccoli



A wonderfully aged selection of Brie, Scottish Cheddar, and carefully selected Comte


A classic straight forward, no nonsense dessert to chow down to while watching the footy!