Hippos and Irish Drinking Songs

Hippo with it's mouth open

During my recent five days of doing intensive program evaluation training in Kenya for the United Nations,, we created a bit of a spectacle with our training.  To keep the content interesting I constantly did games and activities that were frequently very loud.  The wait staff always hung around to watch.  We play and learn and play and learn.

A retired English couple staying at the lodge was very interested in what we’re doing.  They asked for a ‘performance’.

Skip ahead to that evening when we hired a boat to take us to look at the hippos. We bought some fish which our guide then whistled loudly three times and threw into the water.  Fish eagles (think large bald eagles) heard him and swooped down to snatch and eat the fish.  Very cool.

Later, as we watched hippos, flamingos, pelicans, an Egyptian goose, and weaver birds the group wanted another song.  Now even though I push the envelope quite a bit with my corporate clients, singing is not something I tend to do.  So was scratching my head trying to remember more songs (had already taught them a bunch of interactive songs, that they sing random phrases of during the training much to my delight) and lit upon the Irish Rovers ‘Unicorn’ song, to which I used to sing along to in bars at Expo and learned hand motions to.

Sure enough there we were a boatload of folks belting our hearts out and rocking the boat to our hand movements, singing to the hippos.

Fast forward to that night.  Turns out it was the British couple’s 46th wedding anniversary, so after a cake procession, which all 12 wait staff and cooks brought out and accompanied with drums and ululations we went over and performed for the couple.  The irony of singing an Irish drinking song to an English couple with Ugandans, Rwandans, Tanzanians and Kenyans was not lost on me. Insert big goofy grin here.

When was the last time you combined diverse and divergent elements to come up with something new and fresh?  Tell me about it, I’d love to hear from you.


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4 Responses to “Hippos and Irish Drinking Songs”

  1. dreadsFueme Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Looks like you are a real specialist. Did ya study about the theme? haha..

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    No special training except when I was a university student and taking breaks at the Irish pub at Expo Vancouver which is where I learned the song in the first place. Ahh the memories!

  3. Sharla Bajko Says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 6:59 am

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  4. Seth Serafino Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Heya i got to your site by mistake when i was searching bing for something off topic here but i do have say your site is really helpful, like the theme and the content on here…so thanks for me procrastinating from my previous task, lol

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