Camp Kenya - Muhaka Story - "From friend to friend + boy to man"

Tom Hampson a gapper from last year who went to Camp Kenya, just sent this in to me. I thought I would share it with the CI world.

This time last year I was working on the community toilet project in Muhaka as part of my time spent at Camp Kenya. Here is a story of how I spent the month looking for one boy, 'Sampuli', that my friend in England had met 4 years previously.
I booked Camp Kenya as part of a 5 month traveling trip I took after completing my Primary Education degree at University. While at Uni I made many new friends and over the years we learnt loads about each others lives. One of my best friends Rachel Hussey had spent a month at Camp Kenya before attending Uni and it was the stories I heard from her and pictures of her experience that made me decide I wanted to do the same.

 As I left university Rachel and I chatted about her time in Kenya and looked through many picture albums. Rachel told me about one boy, Sampuli, that she developed a close friendship with during her time in Kenya. Sampuli and Rachel sent letters to each other for a small while after she returned to England and Rachel sent Sampuli a picture of them both when she was in Kenya. I had this image in my mind and was determined to find Sampuli on my visit to Kenya 4 years later.

When arriving at Camp Kenya it became apparent that a I was at the Muhaka camp and Rachel had been at the Macongeni Camp. Over the month I was there I asked many locals and staff about a little boy named Sampuli and after a while I decided the only way I was going to find him was to visit Macongeni. I arranged a visit to the other camp and was showed around the local area. During this visit I asked many locals if they knew of Sampuli and many said no. I then found one man who knew who I was talking about, however he was away at work. Although disappointed that I had not found Sampuli, I was delighted to find Rachel's name on a plaque in the school grounds. "Gapper's 2007!" It was a great feeling to think I had been to the same place as one of my best friends thousands of miles from home.

I returned to Muhaka and enjoyed my last few days at the camp working hard on the projects. During the last day's work we all finished for lunch and returned to the camp. One of the crew at the camp, also called Sampuli, came to find me while I was eating my lunch. He told me a had a visitor at the end of the road. I quickly ran down the road to find a group of men stood waiting. I couldn't believe it! One of them, Sampuli, was holding a picture of my friend Rachel. It was an incredible moment. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I shook his hand and explained how I knew who he was. He told me stories about his time with Rachel and we had a picture taken together. I then decided to ring Rachel on my phone. After 4 years Rachel and Sampuli spoke to each other again. I had finally managed to find the boy, now man, I was looking for and he actually had a picture of my friend with him. The one she had sent him!

We chatted some more before we said our goodbyes. A special moment was complete.

I just thought that this was an amazing story of how people share experiences and the unthinkable can happen.

Camp Kenya - Muhaka Story - "From friend to friend + boy to man"

Thanks Tom


Thanks for sending it to us Tom and well done Rachel for spreading the word.

A fantastic, very true story. So glad its been shared with everyone. It was great to get back in touch with Sampuli, and briliant to see all the amazing things Camp Kenya is continuing to do over there. I had the time of my life over in Kenya and will treasure the 2 months over there forever... so glad one of my best friends can now do the same :) Thanks for publishing it CI x

Am thanking the management for undertaking good care and fantastic conservation of the natural resources around Muhaka.

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