Out of Africa : Gilbert’s account of a week with Adventure Alternative in the UK

Last week a handful of Adventure Alternative/Moving Mountains staff touched down on UK soil. Friends and colleagues flew over from Kenya, Nepal and Russia to celebrate AA/MM founder Gavin’s wedding and to meet with clients, old and new.

Waiting in the airport...

Waiting in the airport…

Most of the crew have headed back to their homelands but Moving Mountains Kenya Chairman, Gilbert Njeru and AA Operational Manager and tour guide extraordinaire, Eva Muronji, are in the N.Ireland office working with us on the management of all our Kenyan projects and programmes.

It’s been a fast-paced and eventful week for these guys; not only was it Gilbert’s first time outside of Kenya, but also his first prolonged period of time in these cold temperatures, a sensation he has only felt on a five day climb of Mt. Kenya. I’ve been counting the times he has mentioned the cold so far today, in the space of 5 hours we’re up to 8 complaints (and I thought the office was relatively toasty). So I asked Gilbert to focus his energy on sharing the last week’s experiences with you. It must have worked; he’s been uncharacteristically quiet for the past hour, with only one mention about being cold.

Here’s Gili’s UK diary:

From the 23rd on arrival to UK we meet up with staff from Nepal at the airport and Gavin was there to meet us. We were collected by Tracey, one of the Adventure Alternative team who has been coming to Kenya for many years and made our way to Caerleon in south Wales.

That evening we met up with a group of students and their guardians from three South Wales Schools  who will be coming out to Kenya next year and we had almost an hour with them to share about AA/MM Kenya.  We also had one-on-one time with some of the parents and their kids. We were joined by Pasang Tendi Sherpa, Ang Chhongba Sherpa, Saraswoti Sherpa and Lhakpa  Yangji Sherpa, AA staff members from Nepal.

AA Kenya accountant, Kevin about to dig into a full English

AA accountant, Kevin about to dig into a full English

The next day the ladies had a chilled out day and all the boys went to Bristol for Gavin’s stag do!  We visited the famous museum, the ‘Great SS Great Britain’,  and spent the whole day touring Bristol on a cruise boat. That evening we ate at Za Za Bazaar in Bristol and it was my first time to eat Sushi. We finished the night with some dancing, but we will keep these photos private!
Moving Mountains Trust Coordinator, Michael Evans along with Moving Mountains Kenya Chair, Gilbert Njeru

Moving Mountains Trust Coordinator, Michael Evans along with Moving Mountains Kenya Chair, Gilbert Njeru

The week was full of lots of meetings that will benefit the Charity, Moving Mountains, and the company, Adventure Alternative. We got an opportunity to meet up with a lot of the clients who have been out to Kenya before. At one very well organized MM fundraising/get together in Caerleon we brought together over 150 people. Gavin talked about MM Kenya, MM Nepal, MM Ireland and MM UK that was great for people who are new to the charity and looking forward to coming out next year, and their families.

We also had an opportunity to visit The University of Wales, Newport and we had talks on how Moving Mountains is helping a lot of people based on long term development and sustainability, with a goal and an objective of creating an independent community. Staff spoke in a number of lectures and tutorials to pass on their first hand experience of tourism and development work abroad.

Also while at the University of Wales,we had our final third party audit for compliance with BS8848 (The British Standard for overseas expeditions and fieldwork) and we did pass, that means we do all the work in AA Kenya and AA Nepal to UK standards and in a professional way!

Sherpas on the tube

Sherpas on the tube

We also had an opportunity to go to Bath and we visited King Edwards School where we were given a warm welcome and we had an opportunity to meet up again with students who have been out to Kenya before and their parents. Kelly had an opportunity to give his life story to a theatre full of 200 students which is inspiring and also shows the way Moving Mountains helps people and especially street kids and disadvantaged children to achieve their goals and become responsible people in the community. We also visited another school near Bath called Writhlington School and we hope to create a long term relationship with them and Moving Mountains.

Members of UK, Nepal and Kenya staff met with a group of past and future supporters of MM medical camp supporters at the University of Bristol on Wednesday afternoon.

We arrived in London last Thursday at Clink Hostel. Clink Hostel used to be a prison and its quite warm and had a nice bar.  That evening, a group of about 25 AA/MM staff members made their way to Gavin and Elli’s home. The Russians and Nepalese did traditional ceremonies for Gav and Elli and gave them gifts. We then went and ate at an Indian restaurant. The night ended with a lot of Cobra beer and dancing.
On the Friday we had an opportunity to visit Cambridge University and meet up with the Committee for Moving Mountains @ Cambridge University, Bristol University and John Lyons School.
Rosie, Kioni, Kelly, Eva and Gilbert of AA Kenya, pre-wedding.

Rosie, Kioni, Kelly, Eva and Gilbert of AA Kenya, pre-wedding.

The next day was the wedding which was beautiful and lovely to meet up with so many people involved with AA/MM.
Gili, Kelly, Kevin, Scott, Kioni, OT and Sasha

Gili, Kelly, Kevin, Scott, Kioni, OT and Sasha

Now I am in Northern Ireland, staying with AA Coordinator, Andy and working in the office.
Andy and Gilbert in the AA NI office

Andy and Gilbert in the AA NI office

Some of Gilbert’s UK observations:
  • It is COLD
  • Schools have great facilities and the children get a great education
  • People look miserable, especially in London
  • Did I mention, it is cold?!

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