Celebrating our Women; Meet Helen
This women’s month, we are celebrating the wonderful work that the ladies of Asiliado on a daily basis.
Get to know our lovely Helen Schutte in the blog piece below and be sure to check back for posts on some of the other incredible women we are so blessed to work with!
– Tell us a bit about yourself and what it is that you do?
I am the field operations managers for Asilia Kenya, I support all the Kenyan camps in the Mara. I have been in the safari industry since 2001 and have had the privilege to work in some of the most beautiful parts of Africa along with my husband Roelof: various parts of South Africa, Lower Zambezi Valley in Zambia, Tarangire National Park in Tanzania and now Kenya.
– Where is home and what brought you to Africa?
I am originally from South Africa, and have been for more generations then I can trace back. But working in other parts of Africa in true wildernesses has always been a dream since I was a young teenager and heard my first lion roaring in Kruger National Park.
– What is it about the Naboisho Conservancy that made you want to stay?
The freedom we had to makeNaboisho Camp our young families home, to live in this beautiful wilderness but still only be a hop away from Nairobi if need be for medical emergencies. To be part of this amazing community, that strives to conserve this natural heritage for generations to come, but in harmony and to the benefit of the local communities. It has been an amazing journey to be part of it as the camp and conservancy matured in time and became one of the role models in the Mara.
– What is the most special thing about being a mom in the bush?
The freedom our kids had to develop in their own time, to just be a child and play, but at the same time be so in tune with their natural environment and learn from it. What are the challenges?Schooling – home schooling tied us over for a bit, with the help of amazing teachers. But eventually, we had to make some tough decisions to be able to give them a more rounded education, as they missed other kids, sports and other social events too much.
– What advice would you give other moms who are thinking of becoming a camp manager in Africa?
Do it! And enjoy it while they are still small enough not to have to worry about their later education. Make sure to find good help, the days are long and the nature of the job can be all consuming, but with a good nanny it is doable and an incredible privilege to raise your kids in such an environment, away from city life’s mad rush and pressures.
–Who is the woman you most admireand why?
Any woman who can truly be herself, and not be restrained by what society tells us a woman should look like, behave, what jobs they should be doing, are my heroes. I have had the privilege to meet quite a few so far and always admire their strength and determination to be who they were meant to be, no matter the challenges they might face.