Hello Everyone !
It’s been quite a while since the last newsletter! The reason for this has not been because of lack of news but rather because Kizingo and Lamu has not been as busy as it once was, but we are glad to report that this has now changed and we are a buzz again!
We will not lie, the last 6 years have been tough here, on our wonderful island as a result of travel warnings that we have always said were unfair and unjust to place on a peaceful place such as Lamu. Thankfully these have all since been removed and slowly but surely Lamu is returning to normal. During these tough years the van Aardts and our team of staff have all had to be inventive in making a living and managing to keep our wonderful little lodge going. My parents moved to politically and economically troubled Zimbabwe to set up a new venture there, which has had its complications but they have enjoyed the adventure. They marched against Mugabe along with millions of others.
Myself and George set up a logistics company doing contract work for the American government here in Kenya, it was going so well but then Trump won the presidency and selfishly under America first policy shut down our life line and I had to get back to looking for a new job. In the end I was persuaded to join a friend and guest of Kizingo and start pig farming. It was a big change, swapping a life of dawas and endless sun downers at the Kizingo bar for pigs and bacon. The biggest challenge was learning how to inseminate sows something that no man should ever have to do especially a man such as myself. I do have to say though that when those piglets were born I was rather proud of myself!
In that time we have all been back and forth to Lamu and this Christmas and New Year was wonderfully fun. So many of you our old and loyal guests returned on mass. It was such a treat to see the Solomon’s again from Cape town and Joost from Holland and after a 7 year gap the wonderful French as well a huge array of new gussets too. We had carol singing on the beach and swinging from the rafters. All the plot owners from the Rays to the Williams Ellis’s were back and the place was abuzz with life and activity.
We were lucky enough to have a new and vibrant couple come in and shake some new life into Kizingo. Catlin and Rory have been holding the fort for us offering allot more energy than we ever did and expanding the activities list from just one or two, to many more. They have been doing runs on the mainland as well as a a pilates / yoga mix exercise, now called pogalates, swims and all sorts of exercises devised personally by Catelin to suit each individual….. mind body and energy levels, this has been so popular. They have now headed back to Europe but will be coming back from time to time to offer fitness weeks and we will keep you informed as to when they are next due to visit!
Tom who also had to move away for a time and find a new way to make a living has returned back to the bar and his signature secret cocktail the naughty tom in back on the cocktail menu.
The dolphins and Louis are still doing their thing and this season we have been lucky enough to see whale shark on more than one occasion! We hope this will become a more regular occurrence.
The big news is that Richard and Camilla are to get married in October. My brother has asked me to be the best man and I am already terrified at the prospect! We are all very excited about this big day.
Emilie and Florian are still running ocean sports and my nephew has just turned 7! Matilda is now 4.
For those many of you that have experienced issues with bookings and delays in getting replies to emails from myself and Mary jo will be pleased to know we have a solution to this! Chris will be managing our bookings and social media for us!
The Kipungani Schools Trust is still going strong, building schools (19 of them now!), funding teachers and sponsoring children through secondary school.
John Seagrim our chairman came to Lamu and Malindi with his wife Josephine for the first two weeks of December. Emilie and I together with John and Josephine visited all 19 KST schools, our Polytechnic (which needs more work) and our latest build Kipaganjeni Primary School near Malindi. The Kipaganjeni project has been funded by the pupils, staff and parents of Marlborough College at the instigation of Ned Seagrim (John’s Son) who as head boy, persuaded Marlborough to make the KST their charity of the year in 2107. Ned’s endeavours raised over £45,000 and he’s also now become a KST trustee!
We had a wonderful opening ceremony at Kipaganjeni in December with singing and dancing and a tasty goat (to eat!)!
We all feel very proud to be part of the KST and to have shared in its considerable achievements - but none of it would have been possible without generous donations from many of our guests, especially Camilla & Edward Peake and Martin & Sally Woodcock as well as numerous other kind hearted travellers!
Please keep helping the KST if you can - sure in the knowledge that 100% of the money you donate will be spent on the ground in Kenya, in 20 years the KST has never spent any of its donations on administration or fundraising!