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:

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:02 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 312013
 

(Sorry) Continued … our best bartering skills came out whenwe actually didn’t want something and started to walk away or said a ridiculously low price just to give the hint we really didn’t have the money for it. Although bartering was very stressful, these strategies sometimes really worked to our advantage. We each hadthe a coupleinstances where a seller would bring us into an empty shop and whisper to usabouta “secret price” and after the deal, told us a number we should tell anyonewho asked how much we spent forit. There were a couple things we bought together when bartering and pulled off being sisters to try and help with the price. .. I don’t think we have mentioned this yet, probably because it is so regular to us now, but absolutley everyone, no joke .. everyone, we meet thinks we are sisters. When we stayed at hotel before our safari we were even asked by the woman showing us our room if we were twins. After we had enough dealing with prices and ambitious store sellers, we took a matatu into town. We were then going to take a matatu back to happy life, but because it was getting late andrush hour was quickly approaching, Timothy called us and offered us a free ride! We were with other volunteers and we all squished together and after we picked up his girlfriend, they gave us a ride home and even invited ia to a movie withthem. We turned down the offer and made it back in time for the last feedingof the day but we thought it wad reallynice of them and he promised to have our flashdrives with all his music on them soon. We are winding down our night but looking forward to our weekend. We have plans [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 7:34 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 312013
 

This morning we woke up to some freshlybaked (microwaved) banana bread that Sara somehow managed to make with our few cooking supplies and ingredients … it was great though! After breakfast we continued on with our morning routine of feeding the babies and playing with some of the toddlers and older kids, including a fun game of monkey in the middle. We then decided to chheck out village market to get more touristy souvenirs, although we were dreading bartering. After waiting 1.5 hours for our taxi driver, we headed to village market which turned out to be quite different than what we expected … our driver had told us it was expensive but we heard from other people it was good so we decided to go. It was a very nice facility an the food court had a large variety of foods from several different countries … it wasour first time being surrounded by non -Kenyans and we felt slightly out of our element. Regardless, we enjoyed a delicious middle-eastern meal (still significantly cheaper than home) that was very different than anything we have ever had. When we realized all the stores were expensive and had marked prices?? What? We decided we had to head elsewhere to get what we set out to buy. (Sidenote : we just found out from another volunteer who just got here bit was here for three months last summer, that there is a little market all the way upstairs with cheap and unmarked items …. oops) We called our driver (his name ia Timothy, he is great and we love his music) and he called his girlfriend to figure out where the nearest market is. The consensus was westlands and he said he would be there in half an hour. Two hours later … [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:30 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 302013
 

Although we didn’t have any car trips today, we figured its about time we say a quick word.about the driving here. Kenya is not the place for people with car sickness. Roadtrips come in two varieties. Door number one: Super bumpy dirt roads that the cars need to.crawl most of the way on. It’s incredible that they can last a full trip at all. There hasnt been a backroads ride yet that’s lacked the rollercoaster feeling where your stomach jumps.up.into your throat. Option two: no streetlights free-for-all city driving. The taxi.driver who works with Happy Life has this great mix of.music that he plays in his car. It includes gems like Ricky Martin, Rihanna, Shakira, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas, all with a DJ.techno.beat in the background. We enjoy it so.much we went out today to.buy flashdrives so he can load the music.on them.for us to take home. Even during our 8am drives he has that blasting and its the perfect.energy level.to.match the driving. We weave and bob between huge trucks like nobodys business,  and since there are no.traffic.lights, when we need to turn onto a street in the opposite direction of the traffic.on our side,  the drivers just go for it. As soon as they can sneak their way perpindicular to the first lane of traffic they do so with complete.disregard to how long they are holding up a whole side of the road before they can turn into the next lane. its really hard.to.explain but the point is its crazy. we’ve also had easily ten instances by now where we could stick not our arm but just our hand out the window and touch a car pointed straight at us. another interesting thing that comes with city driving is the street salesmen. every day people walk between [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 9:00 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 292013
 

Sorry for the abrupt ending … just another kindle issue. We had a guide in Kibera who showed us around and even brought us into his home. We felt uncomfortable that people saw us receiving a “tour ” of their lifestyle and did not want to come off in a bad way. … There is really no way to describe all we saw and we were only exposed to the wealthier part of the slum. There are one million people living in 12 square kilometers. The houses were made of mud and other scraps … walking through was difficult because they were so close together and water streams full of garbage ran in between them. We were shown the clinic where they treat, most commonly, residents with Hiv, Tb, malaria, typhoid and pneumonia, among others. They mainly rely on donations as a source of medications and food for patients. When we asked our guide about criminal activity and theft, he told us no one calls the police because there is not enough time and he nonchalantly proceeded to tell us a story: One day he was giving a tour similar to the one we were. receiving when a mob justice system took place to deal with the robbery of stereo. The man. who stole the radio was attacked and killed with stones ans the daggers of nearby workers … They were cutting off body parts and our guide started kind of laughing when he told us the people on tour were “crying just because they had never seen it before” We cant imagine witnessing such a horrific scene. After Kibera we were ready to come back to happy life but this is when our car broke down .. We thankfully made it back not super late and were ready tor [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 7:57 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 292013
 

After our driver’s van breaking down followed by lots of traffic after yesterday’s adventures we were pretty tired anddecided to save journaling for today … We spenttheday yesterday with Sara andthe two other vicda volunteers we met during orientation. It was nice to meet up with them again and share stories over the course of theday. One of them has been doing a public health project with children in a local slum which sounded like a great idea and something the children have become really invested in. They also told us they have been doing a lot of grading and office work which made us feel lucky to have countless opportunities to personally interact with the children here. We started of our say yesterday at an elephant orphanage in Nairobi. We expected the elephants to be in a fenced in area where we could walk around and see the elephants. However, all visitors were allowed in at the same time and stood around an empty fenced in area … waiting for elephants to arrive. We later learned the reason for this is so the elephants are only exposed to humans for one hour a day and do not become too used to or reliant on humans. They also sleep in different spots every night so they do not become attached to a certain place in order to best prepare them to return to wildlife. One of the elephant caregivers told us the name, age and rescue story behind each elephant. The youngest elephant was 1.5 months and was very cute … the oldest was around two years. Next, we were taken to Mamba for lunch. Since we had so much to fit in in one day, we anticipated a quick and cheap lunch break. We got quite the opposite. We [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:57 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 272013
 

Its impossible to describe our last four days. the safari trip was unbelievable. we left Friday morning for the six hour drive to Lake Nakuru. apparently it is a slow time of year for volunteers so it was.just us two for the first day. about halfway there we stopped at a hotel for lunch which would have been pretty unremarkable except for the fact that besides our driver and. the staff we were the only.ones.in the entire buffet.style.dining hall. Needless to say we were.waited.on hand and.foot and then we hit the road.again. We pulled.into the Lake Nakuru park sometime in the afternoon (we never have any concept of time here). it was.super funny–we.got out to stretch our legs next to a bus full of Kenyan kids on a field trip. they shouted to us and.asked if they could take a picture of us–i think we.were as.rare.of a.sight to them.as.the local.animals were.to us. as the driver Anthony went to get a parking ticket we.looked at the swampy lake in front of us, with a few water buffalo wading by the bank, and although we didn’t admit it until later we were both a.little concerned. the view was pretty but by the time Anthony was returning.to the van we were both thinking alright… how long do we have to stay here for…? so our expectations were blown away when Anthony popped open the roof.of the van and we realized that an enormous park filled.with animals surrounded the lake. since we’re so short,  we stood on the first row of.seats in the van with our head and arms sticking out the top. it was so fun to ride around with the wind in our hair and a perfect view of everything around us. considering lake.nakuru has fewer.animals.than Masai Mara, we.couldn’t believe all.of the [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 7:12 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 232013
 

To start off our day we made breakfast and had to opportunity to talk to Rosemary. Even though potatoes are eaten here all the time, she was really confused when we made hashbrowns for breakfast and tea that wasnt almost all milk … she also chose not to put syrup on her pancakes because last time she tried it it was way to sugary. Regardless, we got a lot of information and asked several questions about Happy Life and the children here. We learned about one boy who was abandoned on the side of the road in an old toilet with a plastic bag over his head who was thankfully heard and found by women walking by, another baby girl who was left on the side of the road and had her arm eaten off by a dog, a baby girl who was left in a bag and actually rescued by a dog that brought her to their owner, and several who were left outside of a nearyby college by students. It was very hard to hear about all of these stories. We asked how the older children deal with it and although they have a social worker here full time to talk to she said the children cant really understand the idea of abandonment … which is extremely understandable. Another story she shared with us was about the oldest girl who lives here. Her father dropped her at a children’s home nearby and said he was going to find her grandmother to help take care of her and would be back tomorrow. Ie never returned but before he left he left a note saying that he did not want her to be adopted. She is a brilliant ten year old girl who has had several opportunities to be adopted [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:32 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 222013
 

Sara moved in with us today because new volunteers are coming tonight. I’m probably keeping her up with the light of the kindle right now (she wakes up at 5:45 so she also goes to sleep earlier) so I’m just going to give some breif highlights of the day.  after we fed the babies this morning we hit the road to take care of some errands. we needed to recharge the minutes on our Kenyan cell phone,  so we stopprd at a shop just dlwn the street. Big communication struggles. when we asked to recharge the minutes on our phone,  the man said he could give us 25 minutes. he then proceeded to plug our phone into a charger for the battery. we were so confused. it turns out that was the only service his shop offered and we felt bad for not giving his store business especially since he didn’t understand what it was we wanted. we stopped at another shop and ran into the same issue. but we were expecting it this time and spent a good 10 minutes rephrasing our requests. finally the woman understood and laughed at us. apparently that is called air time here, minutes refers to recharging the battteries,  so that’s good to know for the future. We  also.made it to the bank and the supermarket for some delicious yogurt (which is drinkable here unless you buy “thick yogurt”) and still.got back in time for the 12:30 feeding. I think our lungs are.little by little building up a tolerance to the dirt clouds we swallow as every vehicle drives by on the unpaved roads.  The poor babies are getting sick left and right. there are at least three of them.with large boils om their heads. its hard to balance supporting their necks with avoiding [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 7:29 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 212013
 

We had another great day at Happy Life! after the morning infant feeding, we cut out several strands of paper dolls for the older kids (3-9year olds)  to color and hang in their bedrooms. it was a bit of a shock seeing their bedrooms for the first time and realizing they sleep several to a bed in such a cramped room. however, the dolls were a hit and some of them loved hanging them up by their bed while others ran around with them crazy until their were doll parts everywhere. while making decorative nametags for the babies and toddlers’ cribs we deecided it would be fun to cut out big initials with names written in them for the older kids to decorate and hang op in order to designate their own spot in their bedroom. that is one of the many activities we plan on doing with then this week and thankfully the moms and older children have been helping us wihnour Swahili … unfortunately we still get laughs or blank stares when attempting to use most words. Living with Sara has not only helped us navigate the area without getting lost, but also helped us become more creative in the kitchen. after making hasbrowns  for  breakfast and guacomole with lunch, we decided to put our soon to be old mango to use by making jam! despite  the smell of burning sugar and a smoky kitchen area,  we successfully made jam and are looking forward to eating it on toast for breakfast tomorrow. in addition, foe the first time ever,  we finished all of the leftovers in the fridge today. this was an accomplishment because we hate throwing out food and people think we don’t eat enough, even though one meaal is easily enough for us each to get [click here to read more]

 Permalink  Posted by Steph and Lauren at 8:27 am  Kenya  Comments Off on
May 202013
 

Busy start to the new week. Church yesterday was such a great experience. The service was completely different from anything we had ever experienced. The music was so loud and lively and everyone in the congregation was singing and dancing along. There were literally times when people were fist pumping. We cant emphasize.enough how welcoming everyone we have met here has been. We were asked.to introduce ourselves in front of the church in the middle of mass and afterwards tons of people introduced themselves to us and told us how welcome we.are in Kenya. They even have a visitors room at the church and they brought us there after mass and.served tea and mandazis–kenyan donuts– and asked us all about ourselves. One woman.even invited us to her home.for.dinner! Speaking.of.dinner, we have really been enjoying the food here. The moms who work here and cook our meals.are. so wonderful. We have gotten to try a lot of traditional foods, and any requests we have are in the kitchen later that day. We have all been saying that pineapple banana and avocado here are so good that they are never going to taste right at home again. We had such a fun afternoon with the older kids today. We cut a bunch of construction paper crowns and brought them down for them to decorate. We weren’t sure how they would respond but it went over really well! By the end, every one of the kids was wearing a crown–at least one. One of the oldest boys decorated a bunch for the kids who.were too little to do their own. Hes such a good kid–they really all are. The staples ran out very early in the game. So we had to improvised with duct tape, and the stickers were used all over the [click here to read more]

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