It was wonderful to welcome the trainee guides from Mkuyu Guide School to Jongomero last week and offer them a day looking around and learning about the camp and the lifestyle they could have in the future if they continue with their studies.
In Tanzania there is a drought of skills and development due to the lack of opportunities but also the lack of funds to make their dreams come true. And these were some of the points considered by Leonard Fidelis Kilumile, who said “Nature is available to all, so I wanted to make Mkuyu available to all – low income, low education, girls, orphans, anyone who usually misses out is welcome at Mkuyu”. With this as inspiration he began Mkuyu Guide School near his home National Park of Ruaha. The fees are kept as low as possible to allow anyone to enroll, so even though the school is not a charity it does require financial help and support to ensure it is a success. So with this in mind Selous Safari Company reached out and offered Leonard and his guides a day at Jongomero to allow them a chance to visit a working camp and talk to the staff about their experiences.
After a game drive from the park entrance, with of course the necessary cup of tea and mandazi (doughnut) the nine young guides and Leonard were welcomed to camp. We did a brief introduction, followed by each of our Heads of Department showing them around each section of the camp - from Christian talking to them about the reataurant, and Silvanus explaining housekeeping, to David & Iddy delving into their culinary skills and kitchen duties, all the way to Alfred, our incredible maintenance fundi discussing vehicle upkeep, generators, solar, invertors, water pumps and electrics. A wonderful snapshot of life in camp!
Over lunch and sodas more camp details were discussed with a highlight on how education and full time employment can make a difference to them individually but also to Tanzania generally. By seeing the financial benefits of the country's conserved areas; offering them and their families employment, heathcare and pension plans as well as supporting local supply chains; they too will want to eradicate poaching and protect the wilderness and the animals that live there to ensure tourism is a revenue source for them and the future generations -“When you talk to a poacher, or anyone harming wildlife or the bush, they say to you ‘I am just following the ways of my father’,” Leonard explains, “so if we educate people, it becomes a wave of change."
On leaving they received a stationary pack to help them back at school and we hope to welcome them back one day soon as guides! Selous Safari Company is looking forward to supporting Leonard and his inspirational local business in the coming years with more textbooks and guiding books, internships and future employment so if you would like to support them as well please have a look at their website or when you are visiting Jongomero make a direct donation to our charity pot.