It has been two weeks since I flew out to Kenya, at that time there was a mixture of emotions; excitement for the weeks ahead, nervousness for meeting new people and some sadness that I would not be able to see my friends and family for a while.

After an almost four hour long car journey to the backpackers accommodation, Stilts, I met Anna, we had previously spoke online before the trip so it was not as awkward a first meeting as some can be. We spent the rest of the day just in the bar at Stilts getting to know each other.  The next day Sam and Alex arrived and once they were ready we went out for a walk in the rain.  It was great that we all got on so well, being only four people it was easy to get to know each other.

We went our ‘luxury’ Handshake cottage on Monday, where we moved in with Lucy, Emily, and Laurence. Once the two days of orientation were over we got our Wildlife Handshake T-shirts! It felt like we were part of a team.

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The next five days we were all busy being driven here, there, and everywhere to film the projects.  There are some amazing and inspiring people living and working here. They are all trying to earn a living whilst living in harmony with the animals.  My favourite project was “The Blind Tree Nursery.” These people have come together to earn their living planting trees and selling them as seedlings. These people do not want handouts, they do no want people to feel sorry for them, and they do not complain that they have a disability.

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We could all learn a lot from people that are like this. I know in England I complain far too much and when you put it in perspective, is it worth the effort of complaining?

This Handshake experience has been the best of my life, when I first signed up to do this I thought we would be seeing more wildlife but this was not to say I have been disappointed. In fact, this was better as we got to see how the people live. That is not to say I haven’t seen any wildlife, there are monkeys everywhere! And when we went to Shimba Hills on safari, we got to see plenty of different animals. We also did a 4km walk to the beautiful natural waterfall there.

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Tomorrow afternoon, I fly back to England and once again my emotions are all over. I do not want to leave this amazing country and the amazing people I have met but I do miss the people at home.  I wish I could stay longer and experience more but I have a feeling that I will be back on another Handshake soon.

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