A Rocha teams around the world highly value the work of volunteers, and it’s always a joy for us to meet new people and work alongside them. The Mwamba team has recently welcomed new volunteers, so let’s have a look at who they are and why they came to Kenya.
A Rocha: Hello and welcome, Nans and Elsa. Please tell us more about yourself.
Elsa: Sure, we would love to!
My husband Nans and l have been married for almost one year now. We are very glad to be here. Nans and l are french. Nans is a primary school teacher, and I am a geotechnical engineer. We like to travel and discover new cultures. This year we decided to set apart three months to volunteer in a Christian organization. After some weeks of searching, we decided to be involved with A Rocha Kenya.
A Rocha: What a beautiful project: three months at Mwamba. But why did you choose A Rocha Kenya specifically?
Nans: Good question. We were looking for an organisation which cares about God’s creation and environmental issues. We wanted to be useful somewhere we would be helping to protect creation. A Rocha is totally responding on that project. We read on their website that A Rocha Kenya needed volunteers for various tasks: helping at the guesthouse, marine research, and other conservation efforts. This sounded good to us; that’s why we chose to apply to be volunteers with A Rocha Kenya.
A Rocha: Great! Now that you’ve settled in, what kinds of jobs are you doing?
Nans: For me, no two days are the same. So far, I’ve been helping with maintenance: fixing things that need repairing, monitoring rainwater collection, and gardening. I’ve also been really happy to get involved with marine projects hoping to survey sharks and rays. It’s hard work, but exciting watching the footage we gather waiting for different sea creatures to come along.
Elsa: I’ve been helping with housekeeping, as well as processing data for a butterfly survey and a marine survey to help the researchers. I’m also helping manage the online presence of the guest house to attract more guests. When guests arrive, both of us help welcome them and make them feel at home along with the guest house manager.
A Rocha: Sounds great! What’s it like living at Mwamba Eco-Lodge?
Elsa: We are quite busy, but the ambience is very good. The place is calm and peaceful. Sometimes we see the monkeys at the centre: they love to come around, and it’s a show that we are not used to in France. We also love the local life and food here. We have local Kenyan food for every meal – we love chapati! – and really enjoy the chef’s cooking. Best of all, Mwamba is just 80m from the beach! We love being able to finish work for the day and have a swim or enjoy a walk along the beach in the evening as the sun goes down over the Indian ocean.
A Rocha: You seem happy to be here. What do you hope to get out of this experience in Kenya?
Nans: Bringing together research and community projects is a great way to do conservation, so firstly, we want to give our vacation time to help A Rocha Kenya as much as we can. Every little thing we can do here is contributing to a cleaner earth. It’s also great to discover a new culture and a new way of working: we’re also learning new things from the people we’re working with. Finally, we’re excited to go on safari before we head home to France!
A Rocha: So for our readers out there – what would you say to someone who’s considering volunteering with A Rocha Kenya?
Nans: For anyone who loves nature, Mwamba Eco-Lodge is an amazing place to be. If you are committed to simple eco-living and have some skills you can contribute, you can make a real difference here.
Elsa: The people couldn’t be friendlier, and the surroundings could not be more beautiful. You will be made to feel part of a family, and will end up gaining more than you’d anticipated. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone at A Rocha if you want to hear more about the possibilities.
A Rocha: I think that Mwamba is the perfect place for you, and it looks like you will enjoy your time here. So welcome to the A Rocha team; it’s great to have you here. Karibuni!
Elsa & Nans: Asante sana!