JAMBO! Mark Outing from the UK operations team Headed to Kenya with a group of 20 teachers who are planning school expeditions to Kenya for 2013
The teacher recce is all about risk assessments and preparing teachers for bringing their school teams out the following summer. We had a whirlwind of a tour around Kenya and as we had a lot of places to see and a lot of people to meet. Day 1 (Sunday) We all meet at the airport (Mark and Elaine from Camps International and 21 teachers) check in and got through security. We do this in the same way that we do things in the summer season to give everybody a feel for whatÛªs involved and how long things take, it really helps you understand that being at the airport 4 hours before your flight is really important. Getting a team of 20 plus people located, checked in and through security takes a while! Our flight departs at 1900 and after only a couple of hours sleep between being served dinner and breakfast we land in Nairobi just after 0600 as the sun is coming up. DayåÊ 2 As we come of the plane it is a cool 16 degrees, very refreshingÛ_..no time to waste though as we have another plane to catch in two hours and we have to get through customs, collect our luggage and find the domestic terminal before checking in our luggage againÛ_go go go. We make it through in one piece, with a little time to spare, and board our second flight to begin the 1 hour journey from Nairobi to Mombasa.åÊ and what a flight! The sun is out, the cloud cover is minimal and the views across Kenya are simply amazing. On landing in Mombasa and exiting the plane the temperature hits us, it Û÷s about 23 degrees and we are not even close to mid day yet, it will be a warm week. Once we have all collected our bags we head out of the airport and are greeted very warmly by the Camps Kenya staff that will be helping to look after us for the week. The staff load our luggage on to the mini bus for us and we start the drive to the Camp Kenya head office in Diani, the drive takes us through Mombasa, across the ferry and on through to Diani. The sights and sounds on that drive are really eye opening you really to start to get a feel for how different things are for people living in Kenya. On arrival at the head office we are greeted with ice cold drinks, have a quick briefing and then check our passports into the safe for the week to reduce the chance of important documents getting lost. By this point the travel and heat are taking its toll us but we have to push through and get to our first camp so we can have lunch. Next stop Camp MakongeniÛ_. Here we are greeted with coconut drinks and get our first sample of the amazing food that was prepared for us (the quality of the food was great all week). After getting a refreshing shower and settling in to the camp we start the tour of Makongeni and the project sites. We are taken round the local primary school, one of the community houses built last summer and the Mangroves project work site. As we are walking around we also pick up a small following of local Kenyans who take time to talk to us and even teach us some local phrases.
In the evening we experience some traditional dances and most of the teachers get up and have a little dance tooÛ_ Day 3 The tour continues, we are now making a trip over to Muhaka Primary School to meet the teachers and have a tour. Whilst at the School we are treated to a performance from the students and got to see the project work that has been completed by recent travelers.
We now head across the road to visit Camp Muhaka for a tour around the site and an overview of the projects that are on going.
There are some pretty amazing things happening here and it is the home of the recently completed community learning centre. We also had a tour of the chilli crop project and the grey water recycling system that is currently being worked on. After lunch we head down to the coast to visit Camp Ocean which is where all the Scuba teams will stay during the Scuba adventure element. This is a very beautiful camps next to the sea and provides an excellent environment to complete your PADI courses. After another long day with lots to see and we head down to Nomads Restaurant in the evening for a meal, a popular spot for teams that go out in the summer and from our experience well worth it. Day 4 We start the day with a tour of the Diani Beach Hospital and have an open question and answer session with Doctor Raj, the facilities on hand are of a very high standard and the talk with Doctor Raj is very reassuring. In the afternoon we make our way over to Camp Kaya and settling in as we will be staying here for the night. Camp Kaya is not too far from Camp Muhaka but it has a completely different feel to it, this is our forest camp and a lot of the project work here is based around forest conservation, you also get to participate in cultural activities such as weaving and chapatti make, both of which are very enjoyable and we all had great fun doing these. On arrival, after camp orientation, we where taken on a forest walk my one of the village elders. The forests are a very important part of tradition Kenyan life and the village elders are very keen to pass this tradition on and share it with us. After another long day we sit back and share thoughts around the campfire, a goods nightsÛª sleep will be needed as tomorrow we head off to the magical camp at Tsavo! Day 5 / 6 / 7 It is an early start for all and we have a busy day ahead of us with a lot of travelling to do. Everybody is up early and the mini bus is loaded with our kit, we are heading to the office to collect passports and have a quick tour of the logistical side of things, after that we start the journey over the Camp Tsavo. It is a long drive, we hit a bit of traffic at the ferry and ALOT of traffic coming out of Mombasa. The Mombasa freight port services about 5 countries so the roads can become very busy at some points, we eventually get to Camps Tsavo and it was well worth the waitÛ_..the Camp and surrounding area are spectacular! We would be staying in Camps Tsavo for the last two nights and whilst here we had an amazing time. We briefly met the Christopher Whitehead Language School group who where on a short trip during there half-term break, they stayed in Tsavo for the week and it was great to hear how much fun they had been having, when I met them they where in the middle of making Elephant Dung Paper and seemed to be having great fun! From Camp Tsavo we spent time at Sesenyi and Bugata Primary schools to see the project sites. On arrival at Sesenyi we found ourselves in the middle of the first rains of the rainy season, this was the first time it had rained for 6 months so you can imagine the excitement! Following our visits to the schools we head over to the Imani Womens Group for Lunch and a tour of the camp by Mamma Merci. The hospitality, as usual, and we get to find out how wonderful and Mamma Merci is, a truly inspirational lady with all the work she has done to help her own community and others. Following the visit to the Imani Womens group we made out way back to camp and got involved with some E.D.P.åÊ It is fair to say that the teachers got really stuck in to this and along with all the laughter and song they managed to churn out a good batch of paper too. Sadly it was now time to go homeÛ_.and for most back in to work the next day. We had a very full on week but we all got a real feel for what you all can expect come the summer season.åÊ For all those due to go out on school expeditions to Kenya this summer you should really be very excited because you a very special four weeks to look forward to. You will be staying in some amazing locations, working on some very worth while projects and you will get to meet some amazing people. The Camp Kenya Staff will also do an amazing job of looking after you and they really want to make sure you have an unforgettable trip. School expeditions to Kenya can be booked with Camps International byåÊcontactingåÊus on +44 (0) 1425 485390 .