We were blessed to open the year with a great team of 15 gappers who are now based in our Camp at Muhaka. One week down and are all having a fantastic moment and they had something to share‰!

Jambo! (meaning hallo in Swahili language)  We all arrived safely in Camp Muhaka and we are all getting along really well. Although things seemed to be really different from our normal life here; everything looks amazing. The camp hospitality is incredible great with delicious meals and fresh fruits everyday. Villagers are very friendly and always greet you with ‘Jambo’ with a smile on their faces, though they bear little. We have learned lots of Swahili words and so far, we have had a day at the beach, a day of snorkeling, and a few days of project work while practicing how to  speak.

Friday was spent at a local house where we learnt how to make Chapatti, Coconut Rice and Coconut Wine (interesting‰!).

Volunteers  during cultural activity in a local village

Our project work has been based at a Mama‰’s House in the village. A house of a poor 73 yr, old lady who lost her husband five years ago and her only son had had limited income to support her. Glad the main structure had already been built by a previous group and local villagers so our main job was to strengthen the walls by topping a second layer of clay and plastering with mixed sand, paint them and then cement the floor.

Mama’s house project work

Mornings are spent carrying water from the camp and digging and transporting mud to the project site.

Volunteers mixing clay

 

In the afternoon we use all of this to construct the walls of the house. We work on the inside and outside of the house by throwing small handfuls of mud at the wall, waiting for it to dry and then plastering with yet more mud.

Real challenging though! You might spend most of the time in despair as the walls have a tendency to collapse if the mud is not careful thrown to sticky.

The main Camps representatives, Abrahim (our Kiswahili teacher) and Sampuli, are very impressed with our work and think we will be finished before we move to Tsavo Camp.

Camp project staff working with Volunteers

They are teaching us Kiswahili as we work, along with regular lessons, and we are starting to pick up quite a few conversational words.

Weekends are spent at Diani beach which is very picturesque and relaxing. Some of us have spent the time having camel rides and partaking in acrobatics and we have all perfected the art of bartering‰

Blue sky & white sand Beach day

ChÌ¢tel has enjoyed learning to scuba dive and is going to pass her PADI exam on Saturday! Last Sunday was spent snorkeling where we saw some amazing coral and sea life. The boat trip wasn‰’t everyone‰’s cup of tea, but a delicious seafood lunch made us all feel better.

We have all fallen in love with the camp, especially the staff who are all very loving and welcoming. Gladys is Mama to us all and is always making sure we feel at home.

Evenings are spent relaxing, talking and playing with Mamas 15 month old girl Bessie, who never fails to make us laugh.

There is a tailor in the village who we have bombarded with orders. Everyone is, so far, very happy with the quality of these handmade clothes. Some of us have chosen some rather extravagant fabrics‰! The local children are friendly and even dance with us while we wait for our clothes, they are fascinated by the Mzungu.

Our hearts have been stolen by the local animals, Puppies, chicks and baby monkeys are popping up everywhere and we don‰’t think our hearts can take much.

One week down and we are all having a great time, many more to go! So for now it‰’s Kweheri (goodbye in Swahili) from Kenya!!

Blog written by Jan-Gappers 2016