Wow what a week! Most of the United Nations were represented last week in sleepy Muhaka as we welcomed 77 students and 8 teachers from the International School of Kenya for their final year school trip. They had travelled from the hectic city of Nairobi to the chilled out south coast of Kenya. The brief was for them to spend the week of their final school trip having lots of fun, experiencing traditional culture, participating in community project work and enjoying all that the coast has to offer. Vics recounts the week that just went by…
On day one they had a great taste of culture which was organised and facilitated by the drama group from the Amini Youth Club. They were taught all about the coconut tree, how each part of the nut can be used and utilised and even attempted to climb the tree itself. It swiftly became apparent that it is certainly harder than Jericho (the local coconut harvester) made it look. One overly self-assured student unfortunately scraped half his foot off from getting a bit too confident and trying the scale the 4 meter high tree, panic not though, he survived!
Makuti making was another activity whereby they learnt how to make roof tiles from the coconut tree leaves. The young people had also created handbags, stylish hats and even a helicopter from the makuti, all beautifully woven from a wonderful natural resource.
A village tour ensued thus making the group familiar with their surroundings and showing them the projects that Camp Kenya has carried out over the years and also the projects that they would be involved in. The local tailor was welcoming as usual and swiftly took an abundance of orders for shorts and maxi dresses, all made from colourful and beautifully patterned Kenyan kanga.
Both groups experienced the interesting local witch doctor and even got to see his ‘witch doctor license’ which many were surprised at. It was an insight into how local people treat ailments and illnesses but also if you are wanting to cure insomnia, the witch doctor is your guy.
Days two and three consisted of either a fantastically relaxing day learning to scuba dive or snorkel in the clear blue waters of Wasini Island, alongside a slap up fresh seafood lunch and chilling on a traditional dhow OR working ones butts off doing project work in the heat!
We are building an emergency ward at Muhaka dispensary and we are all so keen for this vital infrastructure to be built as soon as possible. Currently there is no such facility, therefore, if you are requiring emergency medical attention you are transported by a motorbike to the nearest hospital half an hour away with half the journey being on a dusty, bumpy road. Not so fun if you have a broken leg, are unconcious or are about to give birth unexpectedly.
The emergency ward will basically be an area suitably equipped for such incidents and patients will wait here until an ambulance arrives, which of course is a much safer way to travel to hospital. Tabitha, the nurse in charge, is so delighted with the prospect of having an emergency ward at her clinic and greeted all the students to say thank you.
The groups on both days worked tirelessly to achieve as much as possible within such a short time frame. The foundations are almost completed and when our next group of gap year students arrive they will be continuing where ISK finished. Its always a reminder of the importance of working together towards a common goal when we start new projects and we look forward to bringing updates of the progression.
They also worked hard to complete two tree nurseries on our shamba opposite Camp Muhaka. As the main source of fuel for cooking is charcoal or wood, many trees are cut down, and not many are replanted. Having a tree nursery where we can raise plenty of trees till they are strong enough to survive when replanted in the community, will give them a much better chance at survival so having the right kind of storage for trees is critical (and of course recycling plastic bottles into the nursery construction makes this little ecocycle perfect!)
Day four consisted of a jam packed beach day which incorporated a beach clean up followed by creating artwork from the washed up flip flops. Earings, bracelets, keyrings and juggling balls were created and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the ocean breeze whilst getting arty. Acrobats entertained then invited those daring enough to have a go. Those that did had a great time and were surprised at themselves as to what they achieved in such a short lesson.
Stretching and deep breaths ensued for the yogi’s with John from the Africa Yoga Project giving a fantastic yoga lesson as the tide slowly came in. Swimming in the glorious Indian Ocean, chilling on the bright, soft, white beach, beach volleyball, Frisbee, football and sipping cold sodas lasted all day. As if that wasn’t enough, a delicious beach bbq for everyone was prepared by our brilliant chefs.
All in all a great day was had by all and the final treat was a meal at the famous Nomads restaurant on the beach. This group certainly enjoyed their final meal and made the most of the ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet. We even managed time over the week to enjoy camp fires, watch a documentary about Mohammed Amin, the man who exposed the extent of the Ethiopian famine, who’s son is an ex ISK student, and participate in a whole group challenge organised by the student leaders. Making a guy a dress out of tissue paper, get the smallest person to eat 10 kit kat chunkies in one minute and racing in sleeping bags.. say no more!
Its safe to say that the ISK group had a fantastic time down on the coast and we look forward to their return!