It’s been a great year for us at Camp Kenya and a wonderful way to end with this little piece written by Sarah Herbert who stayed with us for three months on her gap year in Kenya. Sarah and her fellow gappers had a lot on their plate. It was the last three months of the year and we were determined to finish several projects that we started this year. They tackled every challenge with determination and a lot of laughs.
My three months in Kenya can only really be summarized by a great big ‘wow’. What an amazing place full of contrasts; beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and vast plains full of diverse wildlife. The people are the most welcoming and happy people in the world and take great pride in their appearance and belongings, one only needs to look at their beautiful clean clothes and tidy gardens to see this. But all of this juxtaposed with the grinding poverty, corruption and social injustice is what really hits home. The world could learn a lot from this stunning place.
In my three months I’ve made 56 new friends from the UK, Australia, and Kenya. I helped build an outhouse, school roof, school library, drench goats, plant trees, build a fish pond, weave palm leaves, collect mangrove seeds, net fish, build bridges for monkeys, layed bricks for a rangers post, a tank stand, made bricks from scratch. Between project work we relaxed at beautiful beaches, went on Safari through the African wilderness (saw all three big cats!), played netball and soccer with the kids, learnt bush skills, learnt to make Chapatis, went on some wonderful walks, snorkeled, toured Mombasa, and spent hours playing with children. In our spare time a group of us traveled with Camps International for a blissful week with rare Colobus Monkeys, spice plantations and stunning beaches at Zanzibar, Tanzania. Four of us even climbed Mt Kenya, one of the most amazing and self challenging experiences of my life!
I never imagined that I could do so much, see so much, and feel like I’ve achieved so much in three months. And never once did I feel unsafe or uncared for. The camp staff became our closest friends, and the chefs fed us amazingly well!
To anyone considering doing Camp Kenya gap year my only advice is GO FOR IT! Remember, all of us were apprehensive before and I think most of us wondered what the heck we’d gotten ourselves in to as we left Australia! But upon completion I think we all agree that it was the most amazing thing we’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top it, and quite frankly, I’m OK with that!