About Kenya

The Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to help develop communities through our partner organization in Kenya. Volunteers have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of work, including education and training for children from under-privileged backgrounds and HIV/AIDS counselling. Through this program, volunteers will have a chance to make a personal contribution and connection to the people of Kenya.

The volunteer opportunities are in the following areas:

  • Teaching Program
  • Children Orphanage Program
  • Medical/Health Program
  • HIV/AIDS Program
  • Maasailand Program

For more information about the Kenya volunteer program please visit Global Volunteer Network's Kenya volunteer page.

Recent Kenya Journals:

Reunion in Kenya

 Posted by Tomoyo Kasuya at 12:35 pm  Kenya  Comments Off on Reunion in Kenya
Sep 252013
 

  It was very long and beautiful flight. From New York to Brussell was night time, so I didn’t see anything, but from Brussell to Nirobi was day time, so I was able to see beautiful Switz mountains and Italian coasts, and Sahara desert from airlaine. It was absolutely amazing to see them from up in air. I think it was the first time in my adult life that I took pictures in airplaine. I finally arrived to Nirobi around midnight. I was very impressed was how friendly Kenyan custom officers were. They were smiling and welcoming everyone who were going through the custom. Usually, custom officers are not friendly and treating people like criminals. I never had any conversation and usually just answer yes/no.  In Kenya, I actually had conversation with Custom officers and they explained to me about visa applications.  It was especially nice after spending 2 whole days traveling. Once I went through custom and picked up my bags, I reunited with my best friend Susanna. It has been 2 years since we hang out.  We were supposed to pick up wine and had all night chat, but we were not able to buy alcohol…. According to Susanna, Kenya government created new regulation that they are not selling alcohol after certain time. We did not have alcohol, but that did not stop us. We chat all night about our lives. Well,  I see gurds everywhere, but things are rather calmer than I thought. Susanna said stores were closed for a few days after mall shooting, but most of stores are back in service with extra security. Since I was with Susanna, who is Kenyan, I just follow her and let her carry my valuable things at night.  To be honest, I was more scared of no traffic [click here to read more]

Orphanage Placement Received

 Posted by Meredith Rosson at 12:16 pm  Kenya  Comments Off on Orphanage Placement Received
Sep 172013
 
Orphanage Placement Received

Well yesterday I found out which orphanage I would be sent to!! The great thing about GVN is I was really able to tailor my experience to align with my interests, the dates that worked for me, the amount of time I preferred, and the type of service I wanted to provide. In turn this meant, I got to choose something with orphaned children. I got to select my least busy month at work, October, for my service time. I got to steer clear of the medical programs since I wasn’t blessed with a steel stomach. And I got to select which country. The one thing I did not get to select, was which orphanage I would work in. I did however, get to complete a form that allowed me to mark different areas that were important to me (i.e. working with other volunteers, staying with a family, tasks I would enjoy, skills that could be useful, ages of children, size of the orphanage, and more). Well they did a great job!The only request that wasn’t fulfilled was living with a host family, and instead will stay onsite. This will just provide more time for me to share the love I have been provided by all of you with each of them. I was assigned to DAYLOVE CHILDREN’s HOME in Dagoretti, Kenya. This home started out feeding needy children in the community and later became a rescue center for vulnerable children, providing education, care, shelter and love. In my program description they note that my primary duties will be playing with children, meal prep (poor children ), counseling, teaching, carpentry, tailoring, and teaching other life skills. They serve children ages 3 – 19 years and there are almost 300 children there. I was also told the names of the other [click here to read more]

Women and Girl’s Empowerment

 Posted by Peter Martin at 9:22 pm  Kenya  Comments Off on Women and Girl’s Empowerment
Sep 022013
 

As my 5 weeks of volunteering with Living Positive Mlolongo come to an end, I would first like to thank the three Kenyan women that helped make my experience a profound one; Mary, the director, and Abigail and Cate, the social workers. I also would like to thank my Kenyan family Elizabeth, Flora, Felicia, Jacob, Alfred and Lulu that took me in as one of their own the second I arrived. Prior to arriving here in Kenya, I was a firm believer in women and girls empowerment, particularly when it came to the developing world. My seven years of involvement back in the states with the organization CARE helped me to see the great impact women and girls can have on society and I was fortunate enough to be able to visit a CARE Kenya project in Embu that focuses on empowering women through a Group Savings and Loans project. One cannot deny the statistics that glaringly show how women and girls are oppressed and underutilized in many parts of the world. As I volunteered here for 5 weeks, I have undoubtedly witnessed this with my own eyes. In connection to this, one of the more profound moments I had while here in Kenya was with my friend David, who I met not far from my home on one of my first nights here. We sat down in his nearby Church and he talked to me about his belief in women ‘s empowerment and how he started a community based organization back in his village that focused on women’s empowerment. The organization did not have a significant impact on his community though due to the fact that his belief in women’s empowerment was not shared among the other men in his village. Essentially, he was the only man in his village who believed in [click here to read more]

Betsy’s Story

 Posted by Peter Martin at 3:28 am  Kenya  Comments Off on Betsy’s Story
Aug 292013
 

This journal entry carries more hope than my previous one and it focuses around the power of a common question that we often take for granted. Betsy (name changed for privacy) is a Kenyan woman in her mid-twenties that is HIV+, has one child, and lives in a slum not far from where I am living. She was infected by her first husband and fortunately her current husband is HIV-.  Only a few people in her community know of her status, among them her husband and a friend.  The reason for the lack of people knowing her status and the resulting lack of support is the stigmatization that surrounds the HIV/AIDS community. Myself and a a few coworkers were invited to her home by a friend of hers that lives in the same slum. As were sitting in her home and trying to get to know her, she was acting very shy and it was very clear that she is living alone with this disease. Our main goal in visiting her was to offer our support and assure her that she is not alone and that there are resources available to her. Amidst her shyness and hesitancy towards communicating with us, I looked in her eyes asked her the simple question of, “How are you feeling?”.  She didn’t respond. I then persisted and rephrased the question to, “What is the first emotion you feel when you wake up in the morning?”.  She then started crying and simply said, “There is a pain in my heart.” From this simple question there was a breakthrough with Betsy. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the first person to sincerely ask her that since the time she was diagnosed with HIV. We reassured her that she is not alone and that there [click here to read more]

Winona’s Story

 Posted by Peter Martin at 12:18 am  Kenya  Comments Off on Winona’s Story
Aug 192013
 

           From the moment I arrived here in Kenya, I have witnessed situations that are truly heartbreaking and others that carry hope. The first woman I met on my first day of work has a story that is hard to shake. Her name is Winona (I have changed her name to protect her privacy). She is 32 years old and lives in a slum with her family (Although I am not very comfortable as a someone from the Western world to use this term, in actuality it is the only word used by Kenyans to describe such areas). She was infected with HIV by her husband several years ago and is currently living with full blown AIDS and has lesions covering her face. Fortunately, she is receiving treatment but one needs to only take a quick glance at her to know she is not good condition and does not have a long future ahead of her. She has four young children, the oldest being a 14 year old girl who has a 2 year old child due to being raped by her father’s friend. (No criminal action was taken, which happens more often than not and is truly hard to swallow).  This daughter’s education is fortunately sponsored and she is able to attend boarding school which means that Winona is the primary caretaker of her grandchild. What this all means is that Winona’s first priority in life is taking care of her four children and grandchild. Her second priority is taking care of herself and doing the best she can to prolong her life.       The support system surrounding her is not a strong one. Her husband, the person who infected her,  brings negative energy to the home and often verbally abuses her. Additionally, Kenyan society tends to stigmatize people with HIV [click here to read more]

1st Journal Entry

 Posted by Peter Martin at 4:06 am  Kenya  Comments Off on 1st Journal Entry
Aug 052013
 

I am all settled in in Kenya. For the next four weeks I will be volunteering in Mlolongo, Kenya working with the HIV/AIDS population, primarily women and children. I will be working with a small Kenyan organization called Living Positive Mlolongo, whose primary focus is the empowerment of people living with HIV/AIDS. I will primarily be making home visits to the affected population. I am lucky to be able to bring my experiences as an HIV Counselor in NYC to the people of Mlolongo. I have no doubt this will be an emotional time for me, but I am confident that these women and children will have as much to offer me as I have to offer them. I have been here for less than a week so far I and am already truly inspired by their strength and courage. I also am living with a wonderful Kenyan family who welcomed me in as one of their own the second I arrived and it nice to go home to them every evening.

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 12:55 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
Jun 052013
 

We both thought we would wake up today sad to leave but also excited to get home. There is no way to describehow we have been feeling today though. We woke up and headed downstairs so that we could say bye to the moms leaving from last night’s feeding. This was harder than we anticipated and they were also emotional about us leaving. They kept saying things like “I’ll miss you” “why are you leaving” “just stay” and our favorite, “I’m painful”. It seems everyone we have run into today, even those we didn’t havetime to get to know too well, have been saying many similar things. Which, as you can imagine,  is making it no easier to leave. Despite all of this, the kids are what make leaving such a challenge. I’m sure we have mentioned this several times, but they are truly such good and sweet kids. They all show it in different ways but they each have such good hearts and we are going to miss them terribly. We will even miss hearing them run around and scream every morning at 4am (no joke) andbeing peed, spit up, drooled, and thrown up on every day. But mostly we will miss seeing their smiles, hearing them laugh andbeing able to give them the hugs they deserve. After feeding thebabies this morning, we spent some time with the toddlers. Again, it was great to see the boy being adopted bonding g so well with his new German parents and they seem so excited tobe with him. Whenever hismom was out of sight,  he would start screamingand crying so he is clearly attaching already. Onthe other hand, the four year old girl being adopted is still having a hard time bonding and connecting with her new italianparents. She ran away [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:13 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
Jun 042013
 

  We had a 6:48 wake up this.morning to say the first of.our goodbyes. Darrah and Joselyn left for their safari this morning and wont be back until after we are gone. Its so strange to have to accept that tomorrow is our last day. Printing our flight reservations and having the moms and kids.ask “you’re leaving tomorrow?” seems like it cant be right. we are both excited to come home but it really snuck up on us. During the morning  feeding Timothy stopped.by to finalize what time he is picking us up.to bring us to the airport. So many people.we are going to.miss. While.Timothy was here he also showed us something crazy! Lumumba drive is the street that Happy Life is.off of. Apparently the people have been asking the government to.pave the dirt road because the dust has been hurting their businesses, but the government has failed to.do.anything. So today they set up a protest. Lumumba is a fairly busy street and they lined it with rows of rocks so that cars couldn’t drive down it. Then between the rocks they lit fires inside of.old.tires all down the road. It was crazy because just looking at the street it seemed really intense, but the people seemed entirely unphased and went.on with their normal.daily activities like nothing was out of the usual. We talked to some.of the moms.about it when got back from the walk and they just shrugged their shoulders and said that’s the only way to get things.done around here. Even more.exciting  than the protests though was getting to see two of the new adoptive families. German parents of a toddler and Italian parents of a four year old were here to start their mandatory bonding days–one of the final.steps.in the adoption process. The policy at Happy Life [click here to read more]

Big News.

 Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:57 am  Kenya  Comments Off on Big News.
Jun 032013
 

STEPH ATE CROCODILE … and she really liked it! Aside from the pineapple dipped in chocolate (which was perfect), it was her favorite food of the night. (she is a vegetarian for those of you who don’t know). Reallyyy exciting. Anyway, we just got back from Carnivore restaurant where we were served so much delicious food. We went with three other happy life volunteers who we have been spending a lot of time with, one of them being Sara, because it is our last night all together. Carnivore is in the Safari Park Hotel which was absolutely gorgeous and had a great outdoor scenery. We were served a four course meal in which the non -vegetarians of the group tried chicken, pork, spare ribs, pig, crocodile (for all), lamb, ostrich, and turkey. Overall, ostrich and crocodile were the biggest hits. We were also treated to amazing desserts, fresh fruit and tea /coffee after our meal. It was nice to have some protein to supplement our almost -all -carb diet since we’ve been here. Not only was the food to die for, but there was a live dancing /acrobatic show that we both agree was the best performance we have ever seen. Thee were about thirty performers doing unbelievable dances and tricks including jumping over each other and through small hoops, somersaults and push ups in a high speed jump rope, limboing under fire one foot off the ground, a number of jaw -dropping human pyramids /stances, great dancing and really cool costumes. We heard there was going to be a show, but we were truly amazed by this performance and talent. To back track to the rest of the day … we started out our day with the infants where we noticed a strange pattern on one of the baby’s [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 6:40 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
Jun 022013
 

Last night when we made it back to Happy Life completely exhausted it seemed like.a great idea to put off the blog, but now we’re realizing that’s not the case since we’ve had two super full days. sYesterday started off with summertime haircuts for all the infants. After they finished  their breakfast we handed each one off to the moms and with a pair of regular craft scissors she chopped off all of their hair. All of the kids look so different, but there were two in particular whose hair had been  bordering on afros and they look like entirely new babies. But the short hair will be good as the.weather keeps getting warmer and hopefully less sweaty heads will lead to less boils that keep popping up on all of them. lAfter lunch, we took the day off and went to the Rugby championship game. Nick, a student from California who is studying in Nairobi and volunteers at happy life for one of his classes, came with one of his neighbors, Matt,  to pick us up. Matt is Kenyan but he lived in the US for awhile before coming back home for college. He showed up.in a (really nice BMW) five seater car. so he and nick took the front, and Sara, Sarah, Joselyn, Darrah, and the two of us squished in the back. It wouldn’t have been too bad except for that the half hour drive turned into an hour and a half one. it was Kenya’s independence day yesterday, and the presidennts house was on the way to the Rugby stadium. Even with Matt (and  a third of the traffic)  driving on sidewalks it was very slow going. It was interesting seeing the presidents enormous estate though,  and so crazy to compare it to the living standards [click here to read more]

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