Creating a better future: Celebrating 10 years of Mahali Mzuri
As part of the celebrations, Virgin Limited Edition is looking to the future with a series of interviews with the team.
General Manager Wilson Odhiambo shares why it was so important to work with the local community when setting up Mahali Mzuri.
“Mahali Mzuri has employed over 80% of staff from the local community,” he explains. “And some of the staff were actually here from the word go, when the camp was being built.”
Mahali Mzuri has benefited the local community significantly, even beyond employment. It has built a school on the site, which many local children attend.
“It started from a very dilapidated classroom with only 50 students, but now we have over 300 children,” Wilson says. “We’ve built classrooms and all the infrastructure we need.”
But the school isn’t just about education – it also runs a feeding programme, providing meals for students and preventing them from having to walk 10km home for food during the day.
Head ranger John Kaleo explains why conservation is so important to everyone at Mahali Mzuri, the local Maasai community and him personally.
“The future of the conservancy mainly relies now on the younger generation,” he says. “And one positive thing about it is that the young generation have learned that conservation is a very important thing. And the conservancy will have a nice future because the young generation will support it in many ways.”
Betty Maite is the first female guide at Mahali Mzuri. She says that she loves her job because she worked hard and proved that women are just as capable of doing the job.
“The girls from my tribe, most of them admire what I do,” she says. “And if you ask them a question, they say they want to be like Betty.”
Bob Miinto was one of Mahali Mzuri’s first employees and he helped build the camp. After helping with the construction, he became a security guard, then he moved into a role as a waiter, rising through the ranks to work as head waiter before now working as the front of house supervisor.
“My career here has given me a chance of growing,” he says. “And that has been making me who I am now.”