KATz Volunteer Adventure and Maisha Cottage are owned and operated by Kelvin, a Tanzanian local and his partner Jodie, an Auzzie Ex-volunteer, along with a small team of local employees and a few behind the scenes specialists who have kindly volunteered their expertise.
Jodie Hezron – Founder
“I admire the generosity and selflessness in people who choose to volunteer so it does not surprise me that the most amazing and unbreakable bonds are formed between people beyond borders. I look forward to welcoming you to Tanzania and being part of an experience you will cherish for a lifetime.”
Jodie has volunteered at Ilkurot and WIA Neema Nursery school in Tanzania. She was primarily involved in teaching and administration duties which extended to sponsorships and direct dealings with the district Education office, local and international teachers and countless volunteers from various countries across the globe. Jodie has worked in sales for numerous charity organisations such as Action Aid and Oxfam, and has taken on independent projects in Tanzania including child sponsorship, orphanage food drives, and raising awareness to the reality of poverty that is often misunderstood by Western society. Prior to volunteering, Jodie spent 10 years in the service industry during which time she completed her diploma in Hospitality management along with several other industry related courses. During her years in the hospitality field, Jodie worked her way up the management ladder in some of Sydney’s well-reputed hotels and restaurants. She has traveled extensively to the UK, US, Canada, Italy and New Zealand, with the majority of her time abroad being devoted to Tanzania, the place she now calls home. Karibu Africa Tanzania Volunteer Adventure was founded by Jodie in 2009, following her initial volunteer experience where she found herself disheartened by the seemingly unfair distribution of placement fees along with a lack of in-country support offered by many of the bigger volunteer organisations. She believed there had to be a way for people to volunteer for ‘less’ without their safety and the service being compromised, whilst ensuring Tanzanian communities were not the ones being affected. With that in mind, KATz Volunteer Adventure came to life.
Kelvin Hezron – Director
“Through volunteering there is a rare opportunity to truly experience another culture and explore some of the roads less traveled. I have been so privileged to form friendships with travellers from all over the world and have learnt so much through our exchanges. I look forward to sharing your KATz Adventure and having you stay with us at Maisha Cottage – your African home.
Safari njema (Have a nice journey).”
Kelvin was born and raised in Arusha and has traveled extensively throughout Tanzania. Prior to his involvement in KATz, Kelvin worked as head chef at La Bella Luna Lodge and Restaurant and has also held hotelier positions in several western hotels. In 2006 Kelvin held a management position at the Tembo lodge and campsite in Tanga where he built a strong team of dedicated employees and was able to fine-tune his English. Kelvin is an extremely enthusiastic people oriented person with an infectious smile. He has supported many travellers during their transition to life in Tanzania and knows how to drive a hard bargain. Kelvin will always go the extra mile and takes great pride in ensuring travellers enjoy their African experience and the country he just loves to call home.
Zion William – Assistant Manager
“Karibu (welcome) Tanzania. We are happy to have you join us for a wonderful experience.”
Zion completed secondary school and went on to further her career working as an assistant manager for a big Volunteer organisation followed by a 4 year post running a locally founded Non-Government Organisation. Zion is a passionate young woman with a profound love for her Country and people. She is a compassionate individual with a kind heart, who is constantly looking for ways to help support and develop the local communities of Tanzania.
Frank Lema – Maisha Cottage Right Hand Man
Frankie carries out much of the behind the scenes work such as Maisha Cottage maintenance and garden supervision, shopping, Safari preparation, vehicle maintenance and airport transfers. Frankie also assists with the administration as he is a well respected member of the community who has a large network of trustworthy associates.
Tom – Volunteer Co-ordinator
After completing Secondary school, Tom went on to study tourism and obtained his tour guides licence in 2012. Tom first started with the KATz team in 2014 as a weekend tour guide and has since joined the team full time as our Airport driver and Volunteer C0-ordinator . Tom assists volunteers in settling into their first few days/weeks in Tanzania, he runs Arusha town tours for our volunteers as well as helping them find their feet/seat on the daladala (local transport). Tom carries out volunteer’s placement orientation as well as some of the airport pick-up/drop-off’s.
Dada Doto is the KATz Hostel’s head mama. She is in charge of the cooking and cleaning at the hostel and ensuring guests are welcomed and well cared for during their stay. Dada Doto loves to cook and you will find her smiling away as she works. Doto is a woman of many hidden talents and she loves to bead local sandals in her spare time.
Dada Mwajabu is Doto’s assistant and helps with the cooking and cleaning of the volunteer house. Mwajabu also washes guests clothes for a small additional fee. Mwajabu is a friendly and happy member of the KATz team who always goes the extra mile to make sure guests are comfortable.
Loi is the Maisha Cottage night security guard. He arrives in the evening at approximately 5:30pm and stays until 6am, tirelessly walking the grounds to ensure everyone’s safety. Loi will also open and close the gate for late/early morning guest arrivals. Frankie covers Loi’s night off on Saturdays.
Nelvin Mongi aka ‘Fundi’ – Handyman
Nelvin is a friendly local who is a close family friend of KATz director Kelvin and founder Jodie. Nelvin is a skilled handyman, assisting the local community with woodworks, small electrical jobs, fitting doors, gardening, care of animals and moving furniture. Nelvin is a trustworthy local with a kind hearted nature and is an absolute pleasure to be around. He helps around Maisha Cottage with building, painting and general house maintenance duties.
Joshua – Supervising Driver/Guide
Joshua is an enthusiastic and fully qualified Driver/Guide with 20 years experience under his bonnet. Joshua knows all the secret sighting spots and best times of year for each Tanzanian Park. He works with the KATz team to custom design a safari itinerary to meet the most specific of needs and will ensure you leave with the experience of a lifetime to talk about for many years to come. Never a dull moment on Safari with Joshua, whose enthusiasm doesn’t fade from pick up to drop off.
Mr D and Maulidi – Safari Chef’s
Mr D – aka Mr Delicious and Maulidi act as the perfect compliment to Driver/guide Josh. Both cooks always ensure each safari group finishes every meal with full bellies, happy smiling faces and looking forward to their next meal. Mr D and Maulidi are as friendly and professional as you can get and have an amazing passion for not only cooking but seeing their meals enjoyed and appreciated. For an unforgettable feast, look no further than Mr D or Maulidi.
Behind the scenes
George Condell – Business Advisor
George Condell has been the director of Sterling Insurance Pty Ltd since February 2004. George has been in the insurance industry since 1970 and has been involved in the development and management of an extensive number of specialty insurance programs since 1986. Prior to joining Sterling, George held various positions with Heath Lambert, IUS, CBA, AMP and MMI. George has extensive experience in business start-up and finance which the recent success of his company re-branding can attest to. George has been a member of the Rotary Club of Crows Nest since 1985 and has received a Paul Harris Fellowship award for his contributions. George also served on the board of Lifestart, an organisation supporting families of children with special needs.
Jessica Condell – Marketing Manager
Jessica attained her Bachelor of Business (Marketing/HRM) at Charles Stuart University in 2001 and has since held several marketing positions within high profile companies including 3M and Westpac. Jessica is currently the Marketing and Communications manager of Sterling Insurance where she has recently completed the task of re-branding the company, including website development and implementation of marketing collateral. Jessica has been involved in several charity organisations including women’s refuge projects and recently completed her degree in Social Work at the University of Sydney in Australia.