Here is how it all began...
During our (that's my husband Jason, our three children and myself) first stay in Mida Creek in January 2007, two
things became immediately obvious:
- Mida Creek offers amazing surroundings, but yet there was no place for guests to stay or eat.
- Locals couldn't afford medicine, some couldn't send their children to school and a lot of their illnesses are
related to poor diet based on ugali, made of maize meal and little else.
The solution, how to help these people was so obvious, especially as Kenya is a popular tourists-destination. The
initiative to build a place to have an income from tourism within Mida Creek came from the Mida community
themselves. They had started a campsite, but were missing funds and knowledge.
The second time we visited, a 9 month old baby had just died of a cough and a 2 year old boy of malaria. We
knew then to get involved and returned a third time a week later to start building. I wrote e-mails to friends and
family asking for financial support. To make funds last longer, we decided to live the same lifestyle like the locals
and use our own budget as well.
We stayed in a communal hut with them and ate the same food (I lost 25kg at one stage!). It was tough at times,
especially when there was no money at all...not knowing where to get the next meal from and children needing
medical attention queuing outside our hut. But people here were used to it.
To start, we bought a chainsaw and started manufacturing our own wood from dead palm-trees, we purchased in
the area, for the platform restaurant. The second big step was running a water-pipe to the main road. Water from
a tap - it made life so much easier.
After only three month, end of August 2007, the platform and the three huts were up, and the area for the small
campsite was cleared - which is extremely fast for Kenyan standards. But everyone of our 40 direct helpers
worked very hard, long hours, sometimes without being paid for weeks. This, the 100% support from the whole
community and the gratefulness of these lovely people made this the most wonderful experience!
We added some details as swing-seating areas, pond, a coma (hut to pray to ancestors) to give the camp a
'village-feel'. After we erected the signboard and the large coconut-arch at the main road, people started coming
in to have a look. The staff training started. We knew our workers pretty well by this stage and could tell which job
was suitable for which person. I never forget the cook being scared because the fish had turned hard and was
very cold - it had come straight from the freezer in the city - or the lessons of how to use a tin-opener. But it
wasn't one-sided. We had to learn, too. The guys were in stitches when they saw me hacking fire-wood the first
time and I still can't manage to balance a 20 litres bucket of water on my head - let alone a tree-stump!
The camp was ready for guests December 2007, just when travel warnings for Kenya went out worldwide, due to
the problems followed by their elections. It was a rough start, especially as the Christmas season is the main
money-earner of the year. We did survive though.
I returned to Europe in 2008, where I opened a registered charity and dealt with administrative matters.
The camp nowadays sustains itself and I only get involved in charity matters mostly concerning the school in our
village. Mzizima School
Children collecting rubbish
on the beach for food
Building a road to the camp
Connecting the water-pipe -
what an exciting day!
The big arch at the road-entry
goes up - everyone helps
Elder inspecting the work on