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Volunteer Work at an Orphanage | Kenya | 2017

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Wonderful Easter in Kenya with Underprivileged Children

I was lucky enough to be able to do the 2 week volunteering program in Kenya this Easter. I was working in an orphanage in Nairobi with Volunteering Solutions; they are known in Kenya as Children's Home.
I was received at the airport in Nairobi by the local coordinator appointed by VolSol named Joe. I was advised by Joe to buy a local SIM card for my phone, and to my surprise it was amazingly cheap. A SIM card with data is like £2, which was sufficient for my entire stay of 2 weeks.
The drive to the volunteers house is less than an hour if I remember correctly. It's an apartment within a block, the block is gated and there are guards there to let cars in and out. It's very safe. About 5 minutes walk from the apartment there are a few shops, a chemist, a dry cleaners, and corner shop. The corner shop sells all sorts- again- incredibly cheap compared to the UK!!
The apartment has all the basic amenities needed for a stay. 2 bed rooms, with each room has 2 bunk beds so can fit 4 people and a small wardrobe. It has 1 bathroom with a loo and shower. The shower does often go cold but it's ok because you just have to get someone to flip a switch and the hot water comes back on again.
The kitchen consists of a fridge, microwave and toaster, and all other basic things required in a kitchen.There is a dedicated cook, named Paul, appointed by VolSol who lives in the block and will look after you. He makes your breakfast every day and dinner.
Breakfast consists of eggs and bread and bananas. So we bought a bit more to bulk it out. (Corner shop) Paul comes at around 7.30 but you can pretty much ask him when you would like breakfast, he is flexible. Dinner is mainly some kind of rice or potato dish. It's pretty yummy but I bought sweet chilli dip to give the food a little more flavour.
There is wifi only a bus ride away ( or Matatu I should say) It costs 50 shillings to get there and takes about 20 minutes- it's called West Gate. It's a big shopping centre with cafes, shops and a cinema.
You can get the Matatu just near the shops by the apartment. Make sure you agree the price before you get into the Matatu as the drivers may try to rip you off. Having the correct change is better but they can give you change if needs be. Everyone from my experience spoke English so you can just ask the driver to tell you when to get off. They are fine to take at night as well and run till about 11ish but it's better not to leave it that late!
About the orphanage:
The orphanage where i worked is managed by these three wonderful ladies; Margret (the owner), Rachel (Senior) and Rachel (junior). They live in here only.
To get there you need to take 2 Matatus, it takes about 45 minutes. Each Matatu costs about 20 shillings. It's then only a 10 minute walk to the orphanage.
When I first joined there, the orphanage had 5 babies under the age of 1 but there are now 2 more babies since then. There are 2 toddlers and the rest of the children are old enough to be at school. You can pretty much pick your hours, they are just happy to have volunteers so don't mind what time you come and go.
You get given lunch which is rice and potatoes and cabbage and sometimes 'ugali' which is a carbohydrate sort of like Cous Cous. Very big helpings! You can also have tea of off in the morning.
There is no running water so bring lots of hand sanitizer do you can keep your hands clean.
Your main responsibilities will be to look after the babies, you can get as stuck in as you like. You can choose the kind of responsibility you’d like to handle, but don’t expect it to be a cake walk. No one said volunteering will be easy. I chose to be there and do as much as I could to help but you don't have to change nappies or mop up sick if you don't want to. You could just stick to bottle feeding the babies and cuddling them.
There are 2 other ladies who work there who spend the whole day cooking and washing. Two of the girls have special needs- one with autism and one with seribalpauslsy. You may or may not meet them. Angel is also in a wheelchair chair.
If you want to do something nice, I took a few children to the cinema one night with Rachel and Rachel. (At West Gate) Super cheap, it was a special deal on a Tuesday 600 shilling for film, popcorn, drink and a hot dog!! These children don't really go beyond their school and home so it was really special for them.
They ran out of wet wipes after like 2 days and were then just using water and toilet paper so you may want to buy wipes for them. That's what I did!!!
It was an incredible experience and you are made to feel incredibly welcome by the staff. Both the Rachelsand Margret are truly wonderful people!!! Everyone I met is also incredibly religious so be prepared to talk a lot about God.
You get awarded a certificate at the end of your 2 weeks which is very kind. Also, if you ask, one of the 3 lovely ladies will take you to the airport (for free) Allow an hour and a half from the orphanage to get to the airport. That should give you plenty of time.

If anyone would like to know more about my experience (this was obviously a very watered down version) I would be more than happy to chat to you via Skype or email.
If you do indeed to do this project- enjoy!!!! It really is wonderful

Oh, by the way, you don't need malaria tablets. Nirobai comes under the low risk category. To be fair, I was advised by Volunteering Solutions I didn't need to take the tablets but the girl I was with had been advised by her doctor to take them. Do it's obviously up to you, but I didn't and I was fine. DEFINITELY Yellow Fever though as they ask for your certificate at the airport when you arrive.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Good time in Kenya with children

I definitely loved the children and the moments when they smile and laugh. An amazing experience was the safari in the Masai Mara and my trip to the Hell's Gate National Park. I would recommend every future volunteer to go there.

The local staff at the orphanage is really friendly and caring. But, even though it may be normal for Africa, the work there wasn't well organized. Sometimes the food was really good and I loved it but sometimes I only had e.g plain spaghetti. There should have been more vegetables and less carbs. The accommodation was really nice if you compare it to the African standard.

I would recommend VolSol to anyone i know is willing to volunteer abroad; mostly because of the variety of programs.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Mi viaje a Kenia

Tuve tiempo increíble en Kenya, gracias a Joe y el personal del Voluntariado Soluciones. El proyecto fue muy interesante. Fue una buena experiencia para enseñar a los niños y ayuda a clasificar los granos y lavado zapatos etc. El destaque fue ayudar a los niños y nuestro viaje a Mt. Longonot y Naivasha.
En general, fue una buena experiencia y me gustaría ir en un viaje de nuevo.

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