Tarpo Diaries: Rhino Charge 2018

Day 1 – 26th May 2018

Dear Diary,

Today was a long day. As expected we had the unexpected. The Tarpo trucks we thought would be slow and get stuck didn’t and the ones we thought would be flying had a loss of confidence. The HQ structure was set up and furnished before sunset and there was enough time to collect our first load of water from the river. Treating it is going to be tomorrow’s challenge. And catching up on the time we lost with the slow trucks today. Thankfully no rain.
Had one dawa (only) courtesy of Maximilian Meinzingen. Had a sentimental conversation with David Lowe – he felt inspired by my Facebook post from last night. The tears will come as he sees his 6th and final Charge at the helm. It’s been an honor to work at his side and be recognized for all the things that we do that don’t get seen.

Tarpo industries at rhino charge

Day 2 – 27th May 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

It was an absolutely freezing night – must have been below 5 degrees Celsius in the early morning. The stars with the almost full moon made for an amazing view.
Extra blankets will be brought on the last truck because otherwise we aren’t going to get enough sleep out here.
Today was a shorter day than I expected and we got a lot more done. I helped install the lights in HQ and kept an eye on the water treatment process. We had to change the chemical formula. Found the time to have a shower after 2 days!
Photos circulating of me in a hard hat atop a ladder are genuine – I was actually working!
Phone network only offering data, voice calls not going through or extremely unreliable.

Tarpo tents at Rhino Charge

Day 3 – 28th May 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary

The stress of keeping 90 staff and 8 vehicles on schedule with all the uncertainty in the last 3 days took its toll on me – my body refused to move until 2 hours after I’d planned for. Expect the unexpected was what I knew but mind and body aren’t in sync!
All event infrastructure was set up and complete today though it went late into the night. Our first guests have checked in.
Found an opportunity to go into the venue in the afternoon and learn the road to the control I will be leading the convoy for on Charge day. Notes said ‘easy access’ – I think they were written by someone who walked it. No mention of low hanging branches and sharp bends!
We have collected 40% of our washing water requirements and begun distributing to where it is needed already. This is now on schedule and treatment is also on schedule.

Tarpo industries team working at rhino charge

Day 4 – 29th May 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

HQ is now in operation. We set up the Bar tents today in the hope that we’d be able to buy beer tonight – I guess Capoeira Balanco Negro also learning about expect the unexpected. Laid out the Tarpo Kid’s Zone obstacle course and set up some of it. Also understood the scrutineering lay out and tried to make head and tail of the roads into and around HQ.
Some changes to event infrastructure meaning we had to move tents here and there.
Phone network seems to be stable now – my first voice call in 4 days went through!
Was good to see Walter come back early and eat with us, he is relaxed which means no major issues. Team bonding around the camp fire tonight while singing and DJ’ing. The daily planning meetings around the camp fire are a lot more productive than the ones at the mess area. If things remain smooth the bottle of whiskey will make an appearance.

360 view at rhinocharge by tarpo industries

Day 5 – 30th May 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Today is when the bliss of being the only ones on the venue was taken away – all the other competitors and camp operators were allowed in. Half our camps are now occupied and the other half come in tomorrow.
We finished setting up the obstacle course in the afternoon and tomorrow will be spent putting up all the branding. Lots of quality checking going on today as our high-end camps begin operation tomorrow. Seeing the new mess tent in use today was impressive – rare for me to see our products in use like this!
Managed to kidnap Walter for half the day AFTER making a deal with my team that I would buy them all a drink at the bar if Walter was back in camp before sunset. Brought him back after 7pm and nobody actually knew he was with me! Taking the project manager away for half the day means all is going smooth. Had tea at Gran Calder’s secluded camp. I wish he would sign up to do stand-up comedy, I’d pay money to listen to him!
Went to the bar with the team. Brian put things into perspective for me – Tarpo set up 2 Nairobi sized hotels in the bush in 4 days, don’t underestimate what we do. *slap in face*.
Lots of one liners around the Slay Queen cocktail drink. CJ was wearing a Masai shuka like a skirt – the bush is getting to him?
Walter also found a huge spider which turned out to be a scorpion with the sting missing. If the scorpion had looked like one we would have found Camille up on a tree somewhere!

man working on tent by tarpo industries

Day 6 – 31st May 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Much warmer night than the previous few – still not letting go of my fleece blanket though.
What could have been an uneventful day turned out into another ‘expect the unexpected’. Plan was to help with putting up branding for Tarpo and the taping off around HQ and scrutineering. Had to go to the control in the venue and on the way back sliced a tyre. Sharp rock daggered the side wall of a tyre that has Kevlar! Precarious position on an incline which needed the bottle jack to stabilise rotational movement and the hi-lift jack to raise the car high enough to swap out the tyre. No spare tyre!

Day 7 – 1st June 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Today was scrutineering. Spent the afternoon at Venue Check-in and it was so quiet most of us ended up flattening cardboard boxes. The most eventful part of the day was taking down the venue check in infrastructure to create space for the start line-up. As if venue check-in had never been there in the first place!
Heard the Kid’s Zone was pretty busy towards the end of the day.

kids playing at rhino charge by tarpo industries

Day 8 – 2nd June 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Today was Charge day. I was up by 4am for some reason. Left camp at 5.30am to get to line-up and gather my convoy. I was the last convoy out and delivered my 7 cars to Satao control with no issues. Watched the start where some were convinced going straight down towards Copy Cat control was possible – and also saw Car 57 come in from Vineyard. Took the incoming Rhino Ark deputy director to the Gauntlet where we saw 4 cars make mincemeat out of what was supposed to be challenging! Also saw a snake under some rocks in the Gauntlet but we kept quiet about it. Went back to HQ to help out with the Search and Rescue team but it had been quiet all morning… and then we heard about a serious injury at the Gauntlet which needed the helicopter to go out and retrieve the patient. That was as busy as we got today!
The bottle of whiskey made its appearance tonight 

Tarpo at Rhino charge 2018

Day 9 – 3rd June 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Prize Giving and David Lowe’s announcement that he would be stepping down as Clerk of the Course, and Anton’s announcement that he would be retiring from running around. Couldn’t figure out how the crowd received that all!
Packed up HQ (fast!). Rescued Amar Desai’s car somewhat. Couldn’t really help with the dust in his car though – sorry dude! Sundowners.

Tarpo industries limited at rhino charge

Day 10 – 4th June 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

Spare tyre received! Went litter picking and surprisingly found a lot less litter than I have done in previous years. Spent the day in an on-off meeting with Nina about how to take the teamwork culture that Tarpo Events has and make more use of it – we have a plan! This is exciting! But I am exhausted… visibly.

Day 11 – 5th June 2018
Dear Rhino Charge Diary,

I am back home. It looked like the rains were going to come and hammer the road back to Narok but we got lucky. One tyre turned purple for some reason – too tired to think about why right now. Hot shower was good but back to Nairobi traffic… not good!
182 million Kenya Shillings raised. In the last six years we’ve raised almost $9m for Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. Feels bloody good. Good night and until next year Dear Diary.