Adventure Alternative Kenya
Adventure Alternative Kenya has its base in Jamhuri Park on the outskirts of Nairobi where there is an administrative office, a big store of equipment, several overland trucks and a safari minivan.
Many of the staff at Adventure Alternative Kenya met Gavin when they were still at school and he was living in Kibera and working on a street kid rehabilitation programme. During this formative time, a lot of the children became beneficiaries of Moving Mountains, and they had their education funded. Some of them chose tourism or international development as their career and thus became employed by either the company or the charity.
Back in the days...a lot of the people in this photo taken around the mid 90s ended up getting valuable work and life experience from Adventure Alternative, and some of them were employed. Andy and Chris (front, middle) are the current office managers for the UK company and founder trustees of Moving Mountains. Many of the children pictured continued their support from MM into adulthood and some went on to be employed by the company to help create Adventure Alternative Kenya. The very best still remain.
Class of '91. Gavin with the kids from Muthurwa Primary in Nairobi where he worked. Most of the kids were living in the slums or came from the streets. All of them ended up as part of the Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains story. They got educated and got work and now they are all adults with children of their own, many of them working for the company or charity, sometimes full time and others occasionally. They keep in touch and have reunions. Some of the stories are truly inspirational and it's amazing how far some of the children in this picture have come in life.
Eva is one of our top staff in Kenya and contributes greatly to the success of our trips in East Africa. She is highly professional and always friendly, knowledgeable and able to handle large groups as easily as a bespoke small trip. Her English is excellent and she can turn her hand to camp management, excellent cooking, guiding and logistics. In the office she is highly dependable and organised, and will often be the first person you end up talking to when you arrive.
Eva helps to mentor some of our upcoming staff and is an inspiration to the beneficiaries of our charity, Moving Mountains. By becoming one of Kenya's first qualified female safari guides she helped lead the way for many others to follow in her footsteps. She has also chalked up numerous ascents on Mount Kenya.
Eva lives in Nairobi with her husband and two children.
Gilbert Njeru is a trip leader for Adventure Alternative Kenya and the current Chairperson of Moving Mountains in Kenya.
He lives in Embu at our guesthouse and manages the Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains programmes there, plus all the volunteers and medical elective students who come to this part of Kenya. He is also active during the school and university trips, often helping to guide on Mount Kenya (over 40 successful summits of Point Lenana to his name). Despite the numerous ascents on Mount Kenya it wasn't until 2015 that he got the opportunity to climb Mt Kenya's bigger brother, Kilimanjaro... which he successfully summited with an Adventure Alternative team.
Gilbert is the self-proclaimed 'King of Embu' and an enthusiastic member of staff with a great sense of humour and infectious personality. He never fails to leave a big impression on everyone he meets and even before getting involved with Moving Mountains had dedicated his life to making positive changes in the lives of all the street children in Embu and now all the children, communities and projects supported and developed by Moving Mountains across East Africa.
Moses Kamau joined Adventure Alternative back in the late 90's as a driver for our smaller safari min-vans and 4x4's, establishing himself as a firm favourite with the other staff, children that we were working with and supporting at that time and with our visitors to Kenya who could clearly see the wealth of knowledge that he possessed for the wildlife, National Parks and Game Reserves across Kenya.
Having spent over a year living wild in Samburu Game Reserve, working as a guide, chef and managing a tented camp, there were few other people around at that time who had the experience of Kamau and his outgoing, fun-loving personality fitted in perfectly with the rest of the Adventure Alternative Kenya team. For us it was not just about getting someone with the knowledge that Kamau possessed on to the team, he is also an exceptional driver and many have witnessed him driving through rivers in National Parks in 2-wheel drive vehicles, passing 4x4's that are stuck on the way!
Kamau lives on his farm in Naivasha with his wife and 4 children and continues to mentor and share his knowledge with our younger safari guides, drivers and cooks. He's probably the only man you'll ever see on Mount Kenya carrying 2 x plastic bags for his kit rather than a ruck-sack!!
Kelly was one of the first street children that Adventure Alternative MD Gavin Bate met back in 1996 in Nairobi, and as a small boy he showed character and a desire to make an alternative life for himself away from the influence of the Nairobi streets. Despite being one of the smaller kids in the gang he was able to hold his own even amongst the older bullies. Gavin started on the long process of mentoring and supporting Kelly through the rest of his childhood, teenage years and life as a young adult.
Kelly attended Muthurwa Primary School in Nairobi where Gavin was working a lot at the time, before attending Secondary School at Kiriani Boys High School on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya and then on to college where he gained his tourism and safari guide qualifications. He joined Adventure Alternative as full time staff and is now a tour guide for the company.
Kelly is well known for his cheerful manner and easy going and light hearted outlook to life but he does have an enjoyment of wildlife and the outdoors. He works on our safaris and city tours where his story of 'streets to safari guide' captures the imagination of visitors. He also works on many of our youth and charity expeditions across East Africa and has numerous ascents on both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
Cyrus is very passionate about the mountains and has been our main guide on Mount Kenya for over a decade now, safely guiding hundreds of people to the summit of Mount Kenya over the years. His commitment to fairness, hard work, proper salaries for mountain staff and the local community plays a big part in the strong team of assistant guides, cooks and porters who all work under Cyrus and for Adventure Alternative.
When he's not on the mountain he sits on the board of Tigithi Primary school, one of the schools developed by Moving Mountains in the Naro Moru region and manages his small farm on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya. He is married to Millicent and has four children.
Cyrus also works on our youth expeditions and safaris and has a real talent as a chef, passing on his skills to many of the former street children and beneficiaries who come through Moving Mountains and work on our Adventure Alternative expeditions across East Africa.
Joseph Mungai has vast experience in trip organisation, logistics and in leading expeditions in both Kenya and Tanzania. He has climbed East Africa's main peaks (Meru, Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro) many times and is another former beneficiary of Moving Mountains who has ended up with full time employment through Adventure Alternative.He began at Muthurwa Primary School like so many of the others and he has become a respected married man and father.
Mungai works closely with the UK office in all the day to day organisation, accounts and trip preparation. He grew up in Kibera, sub-Saharan Africa's largest slum and it is here that Gavin met him as a young boy at school. Later, after gaining qualifications in community health he offered to volunteer his time on a project that Moving Mountains was developing in the slum, the continued construction and development of Ushirika Community Clinic and from there he started running community health projects for the charity and working as a co-leader with the company.
Anyone that visits Kibera on an Adventure Alternative trip will be guided through the narrow paths and open sewers between the small mud and corrugated iron homes by Joseph and he leads many of our youth expeditions across East Africa, particularly in Tanzania where he has built up a strong relationship with the team from Adventure Alternative Tanzania.
Beatrice Muthoni has been involved with Adventure Alternative since the very beginning, she was one of the first children that Gavin Bate supported and she attended Muthurwa Primary School along with many of the other street children initially supported by Adventure Alternative.
Beatrice was one of the street scouts who regularly attended our Africamp summer jamborees for street children from all over East Africa and even at a very early age she showed a true resilience to the obvious hardships that she faced daily and was always one of the most popular people in those early days.
After Primary School, Beatrice completed her Secondary education at All Saints Academy in Sagana, along with her best friend Fredah Auma (Fredah and Beatrice were inseparable growing up, wherever Beatrice was you were sure to find Fredah nearby!) and by 2010 she had graduated from All Saints Academy. Beatrice continued with her education in 2010, completing computer courses and volunteering with Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains to get some much needed work experience.
Beatrice is now a qualified VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing) Counsellor (her higher education was spent at the Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development) and works on many of our Adventure Alternative trips as an assistant leader. She also works as one of our volunteer coordinators, quickly proving a popular figure with her caring and down to earth attitude.
Beatrice is now married to former school friend and colleague at work Joseph Mungai and they have a child together.
Kenneth Amani was one of the first street children that Adventure Alternative worked with, his family are from Kakamega County in Western Kenya but due to droughts and lack of food at his family home back in the mid-nineties, he decided to try his luck on the streets of Nairobi. Being the oldest in his family put incredible pressure on Kenos after his father passed away when he was young.
Kenos joined up with the street gang from Shauri Moyo slum in Nairobi that Adventure Alternative helped to support back in the early days, quickly becoming a very popular figure within the group thanks to his great sense of humour and unusual, albeit 'excellent' dance moves. He was also built like a tank and knew how to look after himself and as a result provided very good security for the group.
Although he showed little interest in a formal education, Kenos has embraced a number of courses over the years to get his reading and writing skills up to scratch and to improve his English and eventually choosing a career fitting his passion of driving and mechanics. Kenos drives the trucks and smaller vehicles regularly but he also looks after our stores in Nairobi and works on our youth expeditions as an assistant leader.
Elijah Kimani has been a guide on Mount Kenya for over 25 years and leads the technical routes on Mount Kenya (Batian and Nelion). His whole life revolves around the mountain and when he's not guiding on the summits he's working as a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Ranger on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, helping to manage and protect the National Parks unique abundance of flora and fauna.
Elijah received his mountain guiding qualifications from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and spent considerable time in Austria updating his qualifications and training. He is also a team member of the Mount Kenya Rescue Volunteers.