Those lovely gappers who previously wrote about their Tsavo experience have blessed us with another great blog about their time in Makongeni. They call themselves the Chizi Fresh Team so lets hear from them…
Our 2 weeks in Makongeni village have flown by far too quickly! We were greeted by the staff with coconut milk on arrival (a local tradition given to visitors) which was definitely a great welcoming. Makongeni is a lovely close-knit community which has been extremely welcoming to us gappers at camp! We got stuck in to the community projects straight away which included; plastering, cementing floors and painting in the local primary school, planting seeds and learning how to make jewellery with the youth group as well as helping out at Rafiki Health Centre. In total, we spent 8 days at the primary school which allowed a strong sense of achievement as we saw our work develop.
Again, like our experience in Tsavo Camp the staff here in Makongeni have played a huge part in making this experience so incredible! Julius, our brilliant chef, has been feeding us up and giving us a taste of a few local meals such as Chapati and Ugali (sima) plus a few home comforts including burgers and chips – YUM! Whinnie gave us an excellent Swahili lesson going further in depth than what we had previously learnt. Dr. W always keeps us laughing, and Combo has been an excellent leader with regards to the plastering and flooring etc in the primary school classroom.
Gladys, the camp manager, has created an environment in which we feel totally at home. When we’ve asked her about something she’s jumped on the case without a moments delay, and as a result we’ve had a tailor made unique trousers exactly to our measurements, plus we’ve had our hair braided with the colours of the Kenyan flag and next week we are also getting Henna tattoos! Last night Gladys and Whinnie came up with an excellent game which had us all laughing hysterically. In addition to the wonderful staff here, the local guys who run the youth group have been so inspiring with regards to what they have instilled within the community. It’s been great getting to know them and being able to hang out with them in the afternoons, learning about each other’s cultures. We really don’t want to leave!
After a week of hard work, we were rewarded with amazing weekends! We were taken to the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches to relax and top up our suntans. On our first weekend, we had the opportunity to go scuba-diving or snorkeling which was slightly scary at first but a fantastic experience as we saw many tropical fish! On Saturday night, Gladys took us for a night out African style to a local nightclub called Shakatak, which was such fun to let our hair down! Sunday was a chill out day at the beach and in the evening we had a ‘family barbeque’ with all the staff at the beach and watched the sunset-perfection!
Overall, the last two weeks of our trip have been unforgettable and makes going home next week even harder for us. At least we have the pictures and memories to always remind us of our once in a lifetime experience. We love Makongeni!