It's been an incredible year for Cam and I living in Mahale, the mountains hold a certain kind of magic that makes this place truly unique. The natural beauty is breathtaking and not a minute goes by without us discovering something new and wonderous that makes us feel very lucky to call this home. Living with Chimpanzees, monkeys, warthogs, leopards and a variety of other shy forest creatures is incredibly humbling but some of the best parts of living in Greystoke are the people we share it with.
Our Mahale Family have become part of us and they are the ones that create a lot of the magic here in Greystoke. We have all been very busy over the year working on behalf of the Nomad Trust and the generous donors to support Katumbi, our local lake shore village, where the majority of our team come from.
Here are some of the stories and highlights of our achievements this year….!
Guest's generous donations arrive on the shores of Lake Tanganyika at Katumbi Village
PACK FOR A PURPOSE -
Pack For A Purpose is a wonderfully simple and incredibly effective initiative that allows a traveller to locate their destination and camp online, find projects that are linked to the lodges/hotels they are staying at and select the most needed items on their list that they can pack in their luggage and bring directly to the source. Over the year we have had hundreds of kg's of items brought to the camp through this charity. It has supported our small clinic with much needed and otherwise unobtainable supplies. The school children also benefit from having sports equipment, stationary, text books and other gifts brought along and the guests enjoy visiting the village to donate these directly into the hands of the children!
To find out how you can help please click on this link: http://www.packforapurpose.org/
Hassan and Butati handing out much needed babies clothes to Nurse Elizabeth who looks after a delivers all the babies in the village!
Each year a donor will sponsor our nursery children to have porridge in the mornings - something that keeps them going throughout the day!
A big THANK YOU to Safari Tracker Adventure in Arusha http://www.safaritrackersadventure.com/ who donated for 2015 and great news that we have a wonderful donation for 2016 from Andrew and Giulia Lodder who raised the funds as part of their wedding gift from all their guests!
As part of Governemnt policy all children must have uniform to attend school, most families can only afford one set which can get a lot of use! With lots of broken zips we had a kind donation to allow us to hire a sewing "fundi" to stitch 100's of uniforms! We are in the process of raising more funds to buy the material to make shirts, skirts and shorts for all the children.
PENCILS FOR HOPE -
Last year we had two lovely guests from Germany, Fabio and Barbara, who brought 50kg of medical supplies through the 'Pack-For-A-Purpose' initiative. They then spent a life-changing day with the children in Katumbi handing out all their gifts, playing football, taking polaroid photos for the children to keep and generally having a great time meeting our local friendly residents. Since their first visit they were so inspired that they have been working very hard back in Germany over the year setting up their own charity in order to raise funds to help develop the school and the clinic. Together with Nomad Trust we have bulit a close relationship and have made some great achievements already and have many more plans in the pipeline, to find out more please see their website: http://pencils-for-hope.org/en/projekte/
The school children receiving t-shirts and stationary from Pencils For Hope
Mwiga Mambo one of our star guides at Greystoke who works as part of our Nomad Trust Committee always gets the children laughing and inspired!
He's great at football too....! Here he's taking on the local handmade football!
Pencils For Hope also donated sports equipment for the school; footballs, frisbees and skipping ropes which were a huge hit with the girls!
One of the first of their larger projects was to raise funds to build 50 desks for the school. This was very much in need as most of the children had to learn whilst sitting on a dirt floor. A great success we have just finished the first 50 desks and the children now have a better learning environment! Here's to the next 50!
The head Teacher receiving the 50 new desks with our Trust Team!
Football is BIG in Africa, and Katumbi has one of the most picturesque pitches I've ever seen!
Under the the palms and huge mango trees the village community spirit is kept alive with the thrill of a good match - lots of our guests have donated much loved footballs and kit. Our Greystoke team love to spend a rare afternoon letting off steam with a good game! They often win too!
THANK YOU Fabio and Barbara for all your compassion and hard work, we look forward to working with you next year!
ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT -
David Middleton a recent guest, runs a wonderful foundation "All About The Light" where he provides inflatable solar powered "Luci Lights" to people all over the world who have no electricity. He kindly brought with him 12 lights which he delivered to some of our well deserving residents who now benefit from having a cost free solution to cooking or studying at night rather than buying kerosene for their lanterns.
This lady now has an easier solution to looking after her 2 week old baby!
Nurse Elizabeth often has to deliver babies at night on call so now she has a portable hanging lantern to make life a little easier!
To find out more visit: http://www.allaboutthelight.org/
Hassan Rashidi - An expert chimpanzee tracker, boat driver and all round superstar!!!
Hassan works tirelessly to help his community and is the one on the ground who facilitates and oversees all of our projects out of his own will to see his community thrive. Without his good heart and the rest of our team none of these projects would be possible!
One of our major projects that Hassan finally helped realise at the beginning of this year - the building of a teacher's house to give a comfortable home to the teacher's who come from other areas. It has a prime view overlooking the forest at the top of the hill behind the school!
Butati, another of our star guides and former Katumbi resident gives a talk to the community to explain our work!
We value our relationship with our local communities and know that it's important to help them to understand why were are here and what we do, with the success of our annual football match with the schools we hosted the winning team for a day of education and a visit to the chimps! The children were blown away - let's hope we can move a step closer to helping them protect their wonderful enviroment as well as giving something back!
It's been an incredible year - THANK YOU to all who have helped make life on the lake for those in Katumbi a little bit easier!
Looking forward to what 2016 will bring!