Through my travels, I have been interested in accommodation establishments that work with the community in different way. When I received accommodation on Mara Explorers Camp in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, I camped on their website to see what work they do to uplift the Maasai villages. I was very impressed by The Porridge Project they have that provides a meal for the kids at the Ole Keene Primary School. Through sponsorship, Mara Explorers Camp are able to keep the porridge project running. There is also a small library of books which travelers donate their old books that they have read and you can buy a book from the library, and all proceeds go to the Porridge Project.
This is also where I learned about Pack for a Purpose. Pack for a Purpose is an international drive that encourages all travelers to leave a bit of room in their luggage and fill that space with meaningful contributions that will go to the community that they are visiting.
You can visit the Pack for a Purpose website or the lodge you will be staying with to get a list of what the community you will be visiting needs. These differ with the different communities and the goal that is aimed to be achieved.
Before I started backpacking Cape to Cairo I had a farewell party and asked all my friends that they do not buy me farewell gifts but to rather buy me stationery that I will donate to the Ole Keene Primary School when I got to Mara Explorers Camp.
And my special friends did just that, they brought me stationery. I managed to squeeze my clothes into my bag and carried it through Southern Africa and East Africa till I arrived in the Maasai Mara. I was able to visit the school and meet some of the learners. I donated the school stationary and the principal was very happy to meet me and truly appreciated my efforts. I ad lovely chat to him for over an hour about Africa, being African and most importantly the learners and how their biggest challenge was sex education especially because sex is taboo to talk about in the Maasai culture.
The principal also shared some stories with me regarding the Porridge Project. There is only one condition for the learners to be able to get a meal. Everyone has to bring a stick every morning so that they are able to make the fire to make the porridge. Sounds simple enough considering that there are sticks everywhere in the Maasai Mara but the learners would not bring any when the initiative started and the principal explained to them why they were not being fed. The next day, nobody brought just one stick for the fire, they had up to three mountains of sticks to make the fire because no one wanted to go without their porridge. This was a bit funny the way the principal explained it, made me realize that, kids will always be kids, no matter where in the world they are.
If you are able to donate to the Porridge Project, you can contact Mara Explorers Camp here.