What’s it like to volunteer in Kenya?

My time with the Masai in Kenya!

Hi, sorry I’ve taken so long to get back to you about my experiences in Kenya but here it is.

Getting picked up from the airport was very straightforward. The taxi driver was happy to stop at a supermarket for us to buy a few supplies.

When myself and my son Oliver got to the village, we were a bit overwhelmed at first but settled in very quickly as our host family were very welcoming and some of the other volunteers helped by showing us around and telling us about projects going on at the moment.

lynn-and-giraffe

A passing giraffe says hello to Lynn.

A variety of experiences

We’ve got so many happy memories that I don’t know where to start. Being taken down to the valley to see the wild giraffe quite close up, going up the mountain to the spring, a traditional Kenyan church service, going on a piki piki (motorbike) into the nearby town, trying to milk a cow, teaching the pre school children and so much more. Our host family taught us quite a few words in Masai and were more than happy to answer our questions about their culture. The children love to spend time with all the volunteers in the village and the Masai are so friendly and stop and talk to you. They like to know about our lives back home as well.

14 of us (volunteers) went to Karen, a suburb of Nairobi, to the Giraffe Centre where I got a giraffe kiss one Saturday then we all went to a Bistro for lunch. It was a fantastic day out. There is an elephant orphanage near by that you can visit too but is only open for an hour between 11 and noon.

Weather good and camp bonfire in the evening

The weather was good to us, although the nights are pretty cool, on a couple of days we were caught unawares by the midday sun and I got slightly sunburnt on my neck.

On the occasional evening, some of the volunteers used to meet up and have a bonfire and have a good natter and socialise.

lynn-oliver-and-the-group-in-the-hills

The volunteer group in the hills above the Masai village. The hills are the main access into the town Ngong just over the ridge.

Getting around with taxi – motorbike

Myself and Oliver didn’t walk into the nearest town Ngong although some of the other volunteers did. It took about an hour and a half apparrently on foot which you are advised to do with one of the Massai who are always happy to go with you. We preferred to go by piki piki (motorbike – two passengers and the driver on each one) for the buzz and we were impatient to get to Ngong.

First teaching and we lose the children!

It was hilarious our first teaching experience. Francis the teacher of the older children, left me and Oliver on our own to teach the 2 to 3 year olds the alphabet, Within about ten seconds of Frances leaving our classroom we lost at least half of the children into the playground, fortunately Hannah their teacher turned up and regained control. Our faces must have been a picture.

It was about a quarter of an hour walk from our host family to the primary school but it was a really nice walk enjoying the scenery and talking to Massai and other volunteers on the way down to school.

When teaching the younger children, being lively and having colourful prompts helps to keep the children,s attention as some of them can be quite easily distracted  (as young children all over the world can be).

We were always made to feel welcome in all the Massai homes especially when we called for other volunteers.

I would recommend a book and a torch for quiet moments in the evenings as it gets dark quite early in August when we went.

oliver-milking-the-family-cow

Lynn’s son Oliver learns to milk the family cow.

An emotional departure

We cried when we left, especially when our host family wanted us to stop a few more days. They told us that we always have a home there with them.

Wet wipes, sun lotion, painkillers, dry shampoo and a sleeping bag are essential things to take with you.

I would also recommend pillows which you can buy there if need be. Also take photos of your family and general life at home as the Masai love to see what our lives are like.

We intend to go back and build an extension for our host family as they live in a two bedroomed hut with six children.

Thank you again for a great experience!

If you would like to find out more about volunteering in Kenya do not hesitate to drop us a line.

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