- Written by Silvia Mwendia for Kenyakidz
A new children’s camp in Kajiado is giving urban Kenya kids the chance to learn from their rural counterparts in a cultural exchange programme which also aims to foster unity in a country currently divided by tribalism.
Dubbed Mizizi Camp, the kids holiday programme aims to take take the urban children fro a multi-racial, multi-ethnic background to visit children from the Maasai community in Kajiado for one week.
“The urban children will have a chance to play, eat and even herd with the Maasai children. We hope this means of cultural exchange fosters bonding among the children,” said Njeri Sukuro, Mizizi Camp founder.
The week long will take place in two parts in Kajiado.
“We are targeting to host 40 children for the camp therefore the first 20 will attend one week and the second group will attend the following week. The five day camp will be inclusive of two travel days therefore children will be housed at Maasai Eco Lodge during their three day stay at Kajiado,” said Njeri.
The idea for the camp is nothing new but rather something Njeri has been doing with her own children for a while now.
“Every August I take my children and three to five of their friends to the Maasai Eco Lodge and during their stay we let them interact and play with the children in the area which was a lot of fun form them,” said Njeri.
She noticed from these interactions a change in her children.
“It did a wonder for their character. They became more appreciative both to one another and for what they have once they were able to experience a different world view,” said Njeri.
Apart from imparting culture, Mizizi Camp, which means roots in Swahili, would like to connect children to their culture and also teach them something new.
“I grew up in Kajiado and had the time of my life but I have noticed that today’s kids no longer know much about their culture. It is not a surprise because some of them ma not even be going to upcountry because their parents probably live in Nairobi,” said Njeri.
At the camp which is taking place in August will see three to five children attached to three Emanyattas-traditional Maasai homesteads. With their Maasai hosts, the campers will engage in communal activities.
“They spend time attending to the daily routine of those families such as herding, farming; play together and craft a souvenir, share gifts to the homes they shall visit,” said Njeri. There will also be karting, biking, cycling, swimming at Mizizi Camp.
Getting homesteads to work with was not a challenge for Njeri seeing that she grew up in Kajiado and Maasai Eco Lodge belongs to her family.
“From the previous times my children and their friends have visited the Emanyattas, the local community have really enjoyed so we do not see it as cultural exploitation,” said Njeri.
Seeing that it is a cultural exchange, Mizizi camp also hopes to bring the host children in Kajiado to Nairobi in April.
During the camp, there will also be mentors who will be looking out for various talents among children and advise them on how to nurture them.
“We would like to sponsor the children to come to Nairobi for a similar camp whereby the bonding and interactions will continue,” said Njeri.
For more information on Mizizi Camp, call Njeri on 0722 720840.