During July and August of 2019, one of our writers volunteered in Kenya with Camps International for a month of her summer. Camps International Ltd is an international travel operator with camps in Kenya, Ecuador, Tanzania, Peru, Borneo, Malawi and Cambodia. Partnered with the charity Camps Foundation which raises money to give Camps International the supplies for the projects. This is her story.
The trip started with an inter-connecting flight to Istanbul and then down to Kenya. The first camp I stayed in was the Athi River site, where I got up to many different activities to help the community starting with litter picking around the river running down from Nairobi. Whilst litter picking I came across many different types of litter; including an extension lead and many flip flops! However, the most rewarding task at this camp was digging and clearing a path for the local women so they can walk into a more populated area easier to sell the bracelets and ornaments that they make in order to have enough money to provide for their family.
It was rewarding because this made an automatic difference for the women who needed it most. Other tasks I got to complete while at this camp was setting out camera traps in the conservation park so the rangers could keep track of the animals in the park, setting lion lights at a local farm and planting trees with the children at a local school.
Next was Camp Tsavo and I was able to meet some very inspirational women and learn how to make their bracelets and elephant poo paper so the women at the Tumaini Women’s Group were able to sell these products.
I was able to dig a trench so rainwater can run into the water holes easier so the waterholes do not dry out because of the rarity of rain.
But for me, the best part of this camp was being able to build a new kitchen for another local school. It is hard to imagine what cooking and preparing food out of a wooden shack is like and this is what these children were getting their meals served from, so building the new walls to a better, more hygienic kitchen for the children was the most rewarding feeling!
I was then lucky enough to go on a days break to go on a safari where I saw the wildlife of Kenya like Cheetahs, Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras and Wildebeast.
After an amazing Safari trip, it was time for a long bus journey to Diani Beach for two days in order to complete a beach clean up and learn about the sea environment around Kenya and why litter can be so harmful to the turtles. Where I must have picked up at least 300 bits of litter and 80.2% of it was plastic which is an astonishing amount of plastic.
The last camp was Camp Muhaka, where I completed school project work which lasted three days and included plastering and rendering in order to make the outside of a school look more presentable for children, parents and visitors.
At this camp, I had the privilege to meet and talk to lots of the local people about their culture and the country itself whilst challenging them to a football match.
This went hand in hand for the next activity were me and the team were taught how to make Chapatis and Coconut Rice.
The second biggest experience of this trip was the last week where I and the team were able to climb the biggest mountain, Mount Kenya. This is 4995 metres high and we all faced so many challenges like heavy rain and hail, thunderstorms and altitude sickness.
However, this was the last task before flying home to tell everyone about the amazing experience and opportunity they had.
I went on this trip to help the local people of Kenya, to give something back to people not as privileged as what I am at home. Trips like this benefit comunities as it helps them build vital things needed to sustain their communities, with several teams of twenty all helping for the same reason you are able to achieve something that will help them for years to come.
Coming home I have realised that we shouldn’t take everything for granted and what can be a big problem to us, like not having the latest iPhone is a minor problem to them. These people are more worried about their children not being able to be fed sufficiently and this isn’t fair how different cultures and countries can turn out so differently. I would 100% recommend this trip to everybody, not only for the experience but the opportunity to have a sense of achievement of helping a culture which does not have much. Would I do it again? Of course, I would, I made friends for life and want to thank Camps International for putting this incredible opportunity on for me.
Let us know if you’d love to do a trip like this on Twitter, @CelebMix.