Michael Georgallis tells us about his first experiences in Mefou and why he decided to join the handshake in Cameroon. What made you want to join the Primate Handshake?? First of all, I enjoy travelling a lot, so experiencing something new with the handshake as a guide follows part of my dream to travel the world and to experience new cultures and ideas. I love a good adventure – something that is new and exciting with an element of exploration was right up my street. I’ve never been to central Africa and don’t know many people that have, let alone stayed at primate a sanctuary in the middle of the rainforest.  It was an opportunity not to miss. As a keen amateur photographer, I enjoy taking pictures of things I’ve seen and sharing them with others. I feel a great satisfaction with getting a good photograph when the right things to come together it always gives you a great sense of pride in your work. I suppose one of the main reasons I’m here, is to do with my friends Lucy and Mike who shared similar passions of adventure and conservation. They also shared their passion for primates and that made me want to learn more about them. What is your background and how does it relate to the trip? I come from a very technically focussed environment, I design and guid race cars for a living, it is a completely different world here in Cameroon to what I am used to. Quite honestly, I have no real experience with primates or conservation as such, but I have always dreamt about heading to the amazon to catalogue tropical fish as a marine biologist. Tropical life and biology has been something that has always held a great interest for me, so having the chance to go a trip to a similar climate with my friends while also getting to learn about primates and conservation seemed like a no brainer. I’m an avid cyclist and runner, having the chance to compete in a few Triathlons this year. Pushing myself to go further and improve is something I always aspire to in everyday life and I felt I could contribute to that goal with the handshake trip by broadening my horizons and seeing a different side of the planet. The opportunity was there for the taking and I went for it, with a once in a lifetime experience like this – it was impossible to say no.  All of the aspects came together, volunteering and helping people, conservation and primates.  Somewhere you can see these great apes in a sanctuary much closer...

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Our home for the twelve days of the Wildlife Handshake has been Diani Campsite and Cottages, a beautiful location just minutes away from the beach and bustling markets, and within easy reach of Shimba Hills National Reserve. With self-catering cottages, swimming pool, a fun and relaxed bar and restaurant and plenty of room for camping, this has been the perfect spot for us to live and work, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being here. Along with the comfortable and roomy accommodation, we’ve been able to get to know the lovely, friendly staff and befriend the dogs and cats that lounge in the grounds.  We’ve also enjoyed the food at the bar when we’ve been too tired to cook, and the swimming pool has provided a great way to cool down after a long day of work. We’d all recommend Diani Campsite and Cottages for working trips or holidays; it’s got just the right mix of feeling at home and feeling excited to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and new experiences. More information can be found at: Website: http://dianicampsite.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/diani-campsite-and-cottages/89227530196 tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g775870-d1961706-Reviews-Diani_Campsite_and_Cottages-Diani_Beach_Coast_Province.html...

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Sossi Recipe


Posted By on Oct 4, 2013

Ingredients (serves 8) 250g soy mince/pieces 2 cans chopped tomatoes 2 large fresh tomatoes 3 garlic cloves 2 onions 1 tbsp tomato puree 1 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp sugar Method Cook the fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic and spices until soft. Add the soy, tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with pasta. By...

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My time in Kenya


Posted By on Oct 4, 2013

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. 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. 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. 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...

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Laurence’s Birthday Meals


Posted By on Oct 3, 2013

It was Laurence’s birthday on Wednesday, we started the day with scrambled egg and beans on toast, then spent the day editing films we had created during the project. For dinner Lucy and Emily made ‘Laurence’s Birthday Curry’, this was really yummy, see the recipe below! Laurence’s Birthday Curry Ingredients  whole cabbage 3 red onions 2 cans chopped tomatoes 1 tsp tomato paste 250g split red lentils 2 tbsp paprika 2 tbsp mustard powder 4 tbsp curry powder 1 tbsp salt Method Cook the lentils with the tomatoes and enough water to cover the lentils. Fry the cabbage with spices and onions for 5 minutes. Add the lentil mixture and cabbage mixture together and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with rice and flatbread. By...

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We couldn’t bear to eat the egg mayonnaise we had prepared for lunch, which was then left in the car all day. None of us were up for cooking either, instead we ate dinner at the restaurant opposite our cottage. The food is really cheap and we even saved money by bringing our own beers. Surprisingly they had a few Kenyan dishes on the menu (it’s hard to find places that sell Kenyan food, its mostly pizza, pasta dishes, burgers and curry). I had tuna steak with masala chips and it was one of my favourites meals so far on this trip. This was only 600 Kenyan shilling (£4.29). I had never eaten tuna steaks before, it was very meaty so it was a struggle to finish it all. The masala chips were a lot spicier than the previous ones I had in Coast Dishes Restaurant, this was really good as it gave them more flavour. The margarita pizza also looked yummy, Laurence, Emily and Lucy had this.   By Sam...

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