A Travellerspoint blog

Makongeni Village

Makongeni Primary School Week One

overcast 20 °C

This week has been spent in Makongeni Village where our camp is. We are right next to Makongeni Primary School where we have been working. There was already the main structure of a new classroom there but we have been putting the beams up ready for the roof which is incredibly hard when the only equipment you have is a rope and a rather heavy beams!!

We have also been making desks for the new classroom and I have found that hammering and sawing is a forte of mine although I have seen a few accidents!!

On top of that we have been teaching which is rewarding when they finally grasp something but it can be quite frustrating because there are about 60 pupils in each class and whilst there are some that are keen to learn there are always the naughty ones sat at the back.

Football…I think that’s all I should say on this! I tried to play it was girls against 7 year olds and needless to say they one even though they were playing barefoot but it was amusing to everyone who came to watch!

This weekend I have been snorkelling and saw a flying fish, angel fish and lots of brightly coloured smaller fish and the coral was amazing! We went out last night and then this morning we went to church in Ukunda. The building was amazing and the singing at the beginning moved me to tears but the sermon was very loud and I found it rather heavy but it was a very good overall experience.

I am having a great time overall, missing a few home comforts but all is well!!

Tuonane baadae!


Posted by rachel.don 04:37 Archived in Kenya Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

The Coast

Chanukeni Orphanage

sunny 25 °C

On 12 July we travelled from Mwaluganje to Makongeni Village in Diani. The contrast that day was amazing and it was the first time we had seen a built up area for days, and along the main strip on one side of the road you have a five star resort and the othe a mud shack.

Our camp is in Makongeni Village which is very poor, they do not have any electricity and the medical care is very bad. We have already helped to pay for treatment for a boy with elephantitis and a girl who had malaria amongst other things.

The first day we spent walking around the village and meeting the local people. All of the children follow us and show us what they have and tell you their hopes for the future, most of them want to be doctors, lawyers or pilots but in reality not many of them will acheive this as it is only primary education which is free in Kenya. They would do anything for us though, I have already had bracelets made for me with my name on them and they stand at the gate and ask for specific people they are my rafikis!

The camp itself is more comfortable we have more showetrs and toilets and they are a lot more reliable and we have permanent tents which makes getting ready a lot easier. The food is still amazing because the kitchen staff came with us so we have a good rapport!

Most of our time this week has been spent at Chanukeni orphanage. A lot of out project money goes here and we provide them with meals and exercise books. I have never seen so many children so excited just to recieve a book it was so nice to see that we make such a difference. We had to make barbed wire fences to protect the vegetable patches from goats and we cleared more of the overgrown unused land so another vegetable patch. I also learnt that I should never become a brick layer. Whilst I found it looks easy, mixing cement by hand and then having to lay brick and make them level and sturdy was so difficult. I got the hang of things eventually but I definately will not be looking for a career in construction any time soon! I managed throwing rocks into the foundations ok though even if I did get a few minor injuries!

I have found the past week emotionally draining, seeing what we have achieved and knowing it will always be there is quite overwhelming but very satisfyin at the same time.

We now have our first weekend off and are spending the day at the beach and going dancing tonight so although I could write more I can hear the white sand, palm trees, clear ocean, tusker beer and camel rides are calling for me!

Kwahiri and hakuna matata!


Posted by rachel.don 02:57 Archived in Kenya Tagged volunteer Comments (1)

Living the Kenyan life Pole Pole (slowly)

Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary

sunny 24 °C

Sorry for the long wait but internet access is not really heard of in the middle of an elephant sanctuary and this is my first full day off since I left.

The travelling to our first base went smoothly (well the Kenyan roads weren't so but it made it more fun). For the first twelve days I was based at Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary in the Shimba Hills. It was absolutely breath taking, the campsite was on the top of a hill and we overlooked an area that is populated with around 200 elephants and is also a route used by them when they migrate so not a morning passed without seeing an elephant before breakfast.

The camp was not as basic as I first thought, we had two standard toilets which flushed most of the time and the showers worked enough to get rid of the layers of dirt we would all end up coated in by the end of the day but hairwashing was very restricted and I had to put up with washing it every 6 days. The food is great, chapattis are amazing I could live off them!! The staff are really supportive too so you always feel at ease.

My time there was split between game drives, making elephant dung paper, helping at the local school, digging, hoeing and planting.

I was really lucky on the game drives and at one point we were in the middle of a herd of approximately 50 bull elephants a couple of which were not too impressed by us and they pretended to charge but there was always a ranger on hand which was reassuring.

Visiting the school was such a humbling experience, the kids have nothing, most of them don't even have shoes on their feet but they are so happy and love to learn and always help when they see you struggling with a heavy wheelbarrow even if they are half my size. They are also amazing at sport and even though I tried my hardest my volleyball skills were definatelty not up to their standards!

The low point of my trip so far has to be the fact that I had an ant living deep in my ear but after a lot of struggling i finally managed to get it out and let it free so I really am turning into a bush baby :-)

Making the elephant dung paper was fun, the dung had already been sterilised so it wasn't as dirty as I first thought but it does have a certain smell which has taken over my backpack!!!

Hoeing and digging! Where do I start! We spent most of our day hoeing paths, vegetable patches, digging out trees and planting more and it is exhausting but was rewarding when you could see the patch that you had cleared.

Spare time was spent in the sun (the weather has been great it only rains for about half an hour a day) and in the evenings we would sit around the camp fire with friends chatting and relaxing.

Sorry its bitty but this all happened a week ago and I can't remember much more...hakuna matata!


Posted by rachel.don 02:25 Archived in Kenya Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Au revoir!

sunny 16 °C

Jambo (the only swahili word I know)

Wow, this time tomorrow I will be on a plane heading to Kenya with a group of people whom I have never met!

At least the worst is now over, packing my rucksack was most definately not a stress free experience BUT everything has finally fit and is under the baggage restriction even though I do tumble over even trying to put it on my back!

I hope you all have an amazing summer whatever it is you are doing and whether it happens to be in Guernsey, Wales, Vietnam or good ol' Ancramdale. I will miss you all but it is time for a change!


Posted by rachel.don 13:20 Archived in Guernsey Tagged packing Comments (1)

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