Hi all, my name is Emma and I work on the Expeditions team for Camps International. This October I got the opportunity to go to Kenya and Tanzania on the Teacher’s recce.
Throughout the course of the week, we visited several camps, local projects and communities. We landed in Tanzania at 9am, after flying through the night (and having several plane breakfasts!). Whilst there we visited Camp Mbokomu, Camp Kidia and spent two days at Camp Tanga (our beach camp, the views are absolutely stunning!).
We then took the journey into Kenya, where we visited Camp Muhaka and Camp Tsavo, before returning to Tanzania and flying back to the UK.
I thought I would share a few of my personal highlights from the week I spent in Africa!
Visiting schools and seeing the work we do
We visited several schools and local communities throughout the course of the recce. Each and every school and community we work with really benefits from the work Camps International does, but I’d like to share my personal highlight.
At Tsavo, we visited Sasenyi Primary School. This is the place where it really hit home to me the difference we can make and the need for what Camps does. This school has approximately 900 students, many of whom are enrolled in an Emergency Feeding Program. For a lot of the students, this is the only meal they will get all day. We have been working at this school for 6 years and have really made a massive difference. Before Camps International started volunteering here, the children learnt in mud huts, or sat outside under a tree. Now they have several classrooms with more being built, along with work being completed to stop soil erosion and build toilet blocks. The need for help in this country stares you right in the face and I wish I could do so much more; these people really need and deserve our help.
I absolutely love animals and I spent the whole week looking forward to our game drive whilst in Camp Tsavo! Having the opportunity to experience the real beauty of Kenya and its wildlife was incredible and at the end of the game drive we were also able to watch the sunset from Pride Rock.
I class myself as a full blown fussy eater and lover of convenience food, in fact my junk food drawer is well known around the office (I’m pretty proud of it!) So it’s no surprise I was quite worried about the food before I left the UK! However, I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of food on offer, there was not a single meal that I didn’t like one of the options! I took a couple of snacks with me (just to be safe) and still had these left in the bottom of my bag at the end of the week.
The welcome we received
Before travelling to our camps in Kenya and Tanzania, I was expecting to be shocked by the poverty I was going to see. What I didn’t prepare myself for was the welcome we would receive, and the positivity you feel from everyone you meet, no matter how little they have in the way of material possessions. I spent the majority of the week walking around with a big grin on my face, loving every moment. There were so many touching moments from the week I spent there that I will take with me for the rest of my life from the grin on a little girls face when I let her put my hat and sunglasses on, to the humbling moment we were offered to stay for a meal by one of the women Camps International have built a house for.
I can honestly say that I feel proud to work for a company that makes such a positive impact on so many lives, and I have come home with a much deeper understanding of what we do at Camps International.
Before I go I would also like to add my top tip for expedition:
WEAR MOSQUITO REPELLENT! Mozzies get everywhere (literally everywhere!). They are most prevalent in the evenings and mornings, but don’t think you are safe by just covering up! They will get up your trousers and down your top to go for a little munch, and I would fully recommend ensuring you wear mosquito repellent all over, all the time! Cos mosquito bites are not fun.
Finally, I would just like to thank all the staff in Kenya and Tanzania who made us feel so welcome. In particular, Yusra and Peter who kept us company and laughing through the whole week. A final thank you to the teachers I travelled with, who were a great group to spend a week with!