Almost two years ago, three students from our school embarked on a fundraising mission that would take them on a trip of a lifetime to Kenya. The month long expedition through Camps International required each of them to raise £4000 and with determination, commitment and a lot of hard work, each one did it.

 

Whilst in Kenya we stayed in five very different camps; Athi River, Diani, Muhaka, Shimoni and Tsavo and the expedition introduced the students to a concept that was relatively new to them; community. This is not a word we use much in the UK, but in Kenya it is the glue that binds Kenya’s people together. Community values are deep-rooted and although daily life continues to be a struggle for many with crops barely growing under hostile, unforgiving skies, the people strive to look after each other in whatever way they can. Local projects are helping to educate people by providing expertise and resources, teaching them to utilise their talents to help them provide for their families and send their children to school.

 

We took part in a wide variety of community projects including plastering and painting a school classroom, building a house in one of the villages, restoration work on a toilet block, livestock de-worming and tree planting. Other activities included making EDP (elephant dung paper), wildlife monitoring and elephant deterrent fencing which involves placing strips of aluminium along a wire that surrounds a piece of land. The sound from the sheets acts as a chime that deters elephants from entering the area and destroying crops and dwellings. We learned a great deal about the culture and had fun weaving roof thatch, traditional dancing and visiting the local medicine man.

 

As well as project work, we enjoyed a day of bush craft; shelter building, archery using traditional bows and arrows and learning the art of making fire. We were extremely lucky to go on safari in Tsavo East National Park and afterwards, were treated to dancing and a tour in a traditional Masai village. Whilst in Shimoni, the students achieved their Open water Diving certification after completing theory and practical sessions in the pool and in the Indian Ocean.

 

There were countless ‘if only time could stand still’ moments and before we knew it, our time had come to an end. Each and every person felt enriched and humbled by our experience; the camp staff and communities are among the friendliest that we’ve ever come across and their gratitude for the work we did through Camps International was extremely rewarding. Kenya is a truly beautiful country filled with warm and wonderful people and we will definitely be returning soon.

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