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Ruthie's first impressions

Having joined the board of LivLife a couple of years ago, and having heard so much about KCEM, I planned a holiday to Tanzania around spending a bit of time in Meserani in March 2017. After almost 24 hours of travelling from London (including in a tiny plane) I was welcomed with open arms by Nai, KCEM Manager, who was (I think) as delighted to meet me as I was her. We talked a bit about what I wanted to get out of my flying visit, and set off from Meserani to our first stop - Meserani Juu outreach centre.


It was great to be there and to meet Alex, who gave KCEM his land on which to build our outreach centre, and to hear about what he and Nai would like to achieve there. The scenery around Meserani Juu was beautiful, and Alex is very mindful of the environment, planting trees and cultivating the land to work against the erosion which damages so much of the land. The nursery at Meserani Juu has about 50 children who attend. Sadly I was there in the afternoon and they'd already left for the day! On our way back to Meserani proper Nai and I walked through a sandstorm which coated us both in dust, meaning we really deserved the chai and mandazi that we tucked into on our return.


Some boring admin meant Nai and I needed to go into Arusha, but it also meant that on our way back we could pop in at Shanga, a local social business which employs disabled people to make handicrafts, and is now managed by former LivLife employee Amy. At Shanga I met a number of ex-KCEM students who had come to Shanga on work experience and then been offered jobs. The Shanga workshop manager, Dennis Salamba, said: "KCEM students work hard in any department, they like to learn. They're friendly and hard working and they fit in. Every work experience group we have them and we want to keep them!"