2008 - welcome back to the old guard!
After their very own (grown up) gap years. Jonjon and Simon returned to the UK office and stepped up to the helm of the good ship Quest Overseas. Big boss Michael decided that, after 13 years of organising incredible expeditions for nearly 3,000 students and volunteers, it was time to hand the baton over to some fresh blood so as to keep the projects and expeditions as challenging, rewarding and fun as they have always been, welcome back boys!
Simon and Jonjon took this responsibility very seriously and got to work on the crucial issues. Within weeks of being back, they had moved the office closer to the beach so they could have a lunchtime dip, introduced naked Tuesdays as a compulsory activity for all staff and set up a mini cinema in the office worthy of hosting Hollywood premiers - why did no one think of these things before?!!! At the same time though, they took on some top quality new staff in the forms of Andy Deaville (Africa boss), Kate Simmons (UK operations) and Ben Marrion (the all important finance), who not only did their own jobs brilliantly, but also knew how to keep these crazy two in check, phew!
Meanwhile, teams were still working and playing hard in South America and Africa. Peru saw the first year of free education for a number of children in Villa Maria thanks to the Quest Overseas school there, long may that continue to grow. Our construction project Lima's largest shanty town is also going from strength to strength, with homes for single mothers going up at an impressive rate. This was helped substantially by a fund set up in memory of ex-Quest volunteer Katie Ashbridge, she tragically died a number of years ago and her friends and family have begun to fundraise for the project she worked on. So far, 8 homes have been built thanks to their efforts, fantastic work!
Continued support on all our Africa projects saw them come on in leaps and bounds. Tonnes of concrete has been mixed, sand lifted and bricks laid alongside with help from all the communities we work with. In Malawi Quest teams built an orphan care centre and clinic in Kachumbe. In Tanzania the final floor of an Accommodation block capable of housing 100 people in Mshiri was completed. The Swaziland team built a classroom in just two weeks, completed Chromalaena surveys, game counts and giraffe identification. The Kenya team worked their socks off to complete 6 sand dams and extend several more to transform people's lives with a year round water supply.