6 Comments

Kenya

Where I traveled in Kenya

Where I traveled in Kenya

In February 2014, I traveled to Kenya with my father for 16 days to volunteer at the Nakuru Hope Project. All posts relating to that trip are linked on this page.

6 comments on “Kenya

  1. Thank you so much for writing about your time in Kenya and your experience with Nakuru Hope. I am currently considering volunteering for them and your posts gave me some good information. I would love it if you would be willing to tell me your opinion on working with them and if you would recommend them as a volunteer organization.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I enjoyed volunteering at Nakuru Hope. It certainly is an eye opener. If you like children, then you will have an amazing time because the kids are just so sweet and they love Mzungus (white people). I am not sure where you are staying but I stayed with Rosemary and she is absolutely wonderful. She made me feel like we were long lost friends who were catching up after a long time – even though we didn’t know each other. It’s just how she is. I can’t give any recommendation either way though because it is the only overseas place I have volunteered. All I can say is that I enjoyed the experience and would like to one day go back once I am qualified as an adult education teacher to do some literacy teaching with the adults if the project will have me.

      My tips:
      1. Be prepared for extreme and absolute poverty. This cannot be overstated. Prepare for the worst so that what you see isn’t too shocking. (I used to work with homeless people in Brisbane, Australia and I found the poverty comparable to walking into a squat here but if you’ve never walked into a drug addicted person’s squat, then prepare for the worst)
      2. Be prepared to be called Mzungu and recognise that in Kenya this is a statement of fact not a racial judgement.
      3. Bring a set of clothes that you wear in the slums and clean clothes that you wear at home because the slums can be really dusty in a grotty way.
      4. Have an open mind because things are done the Kenyan way, which can seem totally random or inefficient to our Western way of thinking.
      5. See James at the tourist market and ask him to take you on a tour to the crater. I wrote about it in one of my posts. It’s definitely an outing worth taking.
      6. Do go do the touristy things like visit the Masai Mara or other game reserves. It is okay to be a wealthy Westerner. The people of Kaptembwa don’t begrudge us our good fortune and our guilt will not change their situation. It is better to contribute to the tourist economy and to come away from Kenya with a balanced perspective than to spend all your days in the slums.
      7. Java Cafe at Nakumat is the place to go for your fix of coffee, chocolate milkshakes (best I’ve tasted anywhere ever), free wifi and western food. Don’t feel bad for eating Western food if you want to because you don’t go to Kenya for the cuisine.
      8. Look after yourself and your needs while you are there. If you need a day off, take it. It can be quite tiring and confronting at times. If you start to feel edgy or snippy (there’s no subtle way to put it), stay at your lodgings for the day and read a good book or surf the net or watch some movies. And don’t feel bad for it because apparently it’s normal to need some time out.
      9. Take a camera and take lots of photos. The children love them. And many of the mothers love to have their pictures taken.
      10. Enjoy the experience. Don’t take it too seriously. It’s good to be lighthearted because the better your personal experience, the more likely you are to speak positively about it and to encourage others to open their eyes to what’s happening in the developing world – and that’s one of the most important things about volunteer tourism – to help the West see what’s going on outside our countries so we can do little things to help improve it like donating to charity.

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