Africa was absolutely unforgettable – Jane Strand


One volunteer placement was not challenge enough for Jane Strand.  She took on two very different projects in two very different  projects in Ghana and in Kenya.

It has been absolutely unforgettable, was Jane’s simple summary of her 8 week trip.

Starting in Kenya, Jane, 22-year-old from Childer Thornton in Cheshire, joined a small baby orphanage in Nairobi in Kenya. Working alongside Kenyan staff and volunteers to feed and nurse over 30 orphaned babies Jane undaunted by a totally new culture took on the role of nursery nurse for the first time.

The baby orphanage’s main aim is to find adoptive families for the children whilst they are still young so they can avoid a more uncertain future from within an institution.

According to a report by USAID, in 2005 more than 34 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa were orphans with this figure expected to reach 42 million as we approach 2012. The prevalence of AIDS is expected to be the biggest influence with affected families running out of people to look after the new arrivals. Orphaned children usually face one of two futures: the streets or an institution.

Jane said her greatest passion is travelling which provides her with an opportunity to continually learn new things and develop. Jane describes herself as naturally inquisitive. In her short visit to the baby orphanage in Nairobi and with little experience Jane was soon implementing a baby progress monitoring system.

Jane even managed to organise and fit in trekking and living with the Massai before jetting off to the other side of Africa to Ghana for a second volunteering placement. Jane’s responsibility stepped up a mark as she stepped into coordinator’s shoes, moved into a children’s home as live-in staff and increased her responsibility for over 60 children and young adults. Besides basic child care and domestic duties which involved bathing, feeding and collecting water from the well Jane was also responsible for teaching basic English and numeracy. Following on from her experiences in Kenya Jane also helped to get the children on the health care register.

Commenting on this live-in position Jane joked: the volunteering never finished!.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you and found your service fantastic.
I will certainly be volunteering through your company again.

Jane Strand in Africa.

If you would like to more information about volunteering in Kenya click here

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Volunteering in Africa was life changing and highly rewarding


Volunteer who work at baby orphanage in Kenya gets in touch to share her experiences with Original Volunteers.

To Original Volunteers Team, I just wanted to drop a line or two to you regarding my visit to the baby orphanage in Nairobi.

Thanks to yourselves I was allocated a month placement in Nairobi, Kenya. The time I spent in Kenya was life changing and highly rewarding. However my host family were the icing on the cake with their warm welcome and flexible attitude. In particular Julia, my host was very supportive and loving towards me and took much time to see that i was comfortable and happy. I would recommend her to anyone wishing to volunteer in Kenya (Nairobi); and wish to emphasise that her home was clean, comfortable and brilliant for the short walking distance to the orphanage.

Whilst working at the babies home I found that I bonded with all 20 babies very quickly. Although a toddler named Candy seemed not to take to me as much as I tried to play with her or make her laugh. Round about the third week of my stay I had pretty much come to the conclusion that she just didn’t like me. But one day I walked into work and to my surprise she ran towards me smiling and shouting my name the best she could, ELINA ELINA. I picked her up and she squeezed me so tight that i could have fallen over with shock. I learnt that some children have seen so many passers by that they learn to be non-attached. But continuing in love and playfulness towards her meant that she learnt to trust and love me back and from that day she always called my name and expected a big hug from me on arrival and leaving the house.

Thank you again for connecting me to volunteer work in Kenya and i look forward to a soon return.

Many thanks for your time.Yours sincerely,

Selina Whinnery

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Ellin Evans Kenya Masai


What members of staff do you remember the most and why? My host family were amazing! Francis and Jasinta were very accommodating I felt like their daughter and didn’t want to leave. The whole support team were very helpful and could not do enough to help.

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
The accommodation was much better than expected, it was very basic but comfortable and homely.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted the experience of a lifetime and a chance to help out those who need it.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I feel like I made a huge difference to the lives of my family and the community. They were so grateful for any work I did, big or small.

What did you do for fun?
Mostly just went into Ngong (2 ½ hour walk) or sat in on the mountain and chilled with all the volunteers

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Just helping out was a brilliant experience in itself! We built a toilet for the school in order for it to become registered with the government, finally finishing it was so satisfying we all jumped up and down because we were so happy.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
GO FOR IT! It will be the best experience of your life!

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
Millions of baby wipes! A good torch as it is very dark in the nights; a good warm sleeping bag and a jumper as it is cold in the nights; ear plugs (to block out the animal noises); a pair of flip flops just to wear around the house as there is no floor only hard mud; lots of snack bars; maybe some spices/flavourings for the food because it can taste very samey; dry shampoo; mirror; hand gel and a water bottle for daily water!

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Try everything, the best experience you will have is if you muck in and get involved.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Catrin Elder Kenya Masai


What members of staff do you remember the most and why? 

All of them because they did their best to support me, for example, I was sent to the hospital in Ngong and they all came to see me as they were concerned

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
I thought it was fine, I wasn’t expecting anything more and my host family were so warm and welcoming. They even apologized for the accommodation which was not needed at all!

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to do something helpful. In the UK, people moan so much about not having money. But in Africa they suffer poverty every day, yet the children there are so happy and the people there just get on with life and work so hard just to get by.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes, I definitely made a small difference, obviously it is hard to change the way things are there when going for a short period. But I worked together as a team to fix a road in Olasiti, and the results were visible and the road was more accessible when I left. I taught in a primary school, which allowed the teacher to do other things which was a help. Also the children love volunteers just being there so much and they will remember us and our time there forever.

What did you do for fun?
Safari!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
So many! Going to see the giraffes in the next village on foot was incredible. Also I would say just spending time in evening with my host family and volunteers were really enjoyable, listening to my host, Leah’s stories about living in the village. She told some very interesting ones about when they had a lion on the loose.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I made friends with the volunteers because we got on well, and they were very nice people with lots in common.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
I was staying in a village called Olasiti, a very small village, so I just found out where the other volunteers were and hung out with them round there or in Ngong.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
Definitely!! Not sure about going to Kenya Masai again, just because there are so many places I want to see. It’s just such an amazing experience in so many ways. It brings you out of your comfort zone into so many exciting new cultures and allows you to meet wonderful people. It is an emotional experience, it makes you realise what is important. It is inspiring to see people with absolutely nothing so upbeat.

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
A money belt is a good idea, also a camera which uses AA or AAA batteries is a good idea as you don’t need to worry about charging it as long as you take lots of spare batteries.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Plan your stay around the rainy season, as you will be able to do more then. Just try to be as open minded as possible and try things you wouldn’t normally

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Stella Gleeson Kenya Masai


Why did you want to volunteer? 

To try and help people experience their own lives better, without changing their culture or views. I also wanted to experience a totally different life and broaden my horizons.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I think I made a short term difference. If the project was more organised and had more step by step goals it would have been a better use of time

What did you do for fun?
Sang and danced with our families and fellow masais, went into ngong, helped on the land with cattle.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
All the time spent with my host family. They made me feel so welcome into their home, we all cried before we left!

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
All the other volunteers were very friendly.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
We mostly stayed at our individual houses in the evenings, and at the weekend we walked into the town of Ngong.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
They should go for it and try everything that comes with it!

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
Supplies for schools, English food for masais to try, diary to take down your experiences, head torch and a radio – anything solar powered would be a good idea!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Stephanie Wells Kenya Masai


Names of staff involved in your programme:

Albert, Paul, Josphat, Samsung, Frances.

What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
Josphat – he is so hardworking, such a gentleman – walked me back to where I was staying in the rain and dark one night! Very friendly and polite, has a great sense of humour and really makes you feel welcome. Please make sure you pass this on.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I have always wanted to do it, to experience different cultures and living, to make a positive contribution to people in need.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes, by staying with a Kenyan family I felt they learnt more English and about the UK culture. The masai children learnt from volunteers, such as playing games, sharing, saying please and thank-you etc. We (volunteers) purchased pipes for the masai to obtain water/fix existing pipes to get water We (volunteers) built a big vegetable patch for the masai people to grow vegetables and sell the produce to make some money Helped with the chores and cooking

What did you do for fun?
Went on safari, visited the lake, visited the nearest town – Ngong, played with the children of my host family, and organised games such as rounders, football, parachute with masai children

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Finishing the vegetable patch in the garden! Such a good feeling!

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
With all the other volunteers (8 of them) because we were all out there together for the same reason

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
A cafe in Ngong does good garlic chips! There arent any places in the masai village to socialise as houses so far apart and gets dark early

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
It is worthwhile doing and a great experience.

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
Torch, lots of extra clothes as get filthy everyday!, suncream!, lots of snacks, Imodium, sturdy boots!!!!, strong backpack, photos from home to show host family, lots of batteries for camera, phone charger as can charge in Ngong.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
The school is closed in august for those who want to teach. Take extra torches as gets dark early, take lots of snacks, and take lots of toilet roll!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Roger Justin Kenya


The most amazing thing?

The Village and the local people, so welcoming and loving, they really care about your well being, and they are so grateful that you are there to help.

Best memory?
Building a Library from sctrach

Best bits about free time?
Safari, amazing!!!!.

Tell us about the people
The village took us into their hearts, the relationships between the volunteers and the village was so strong, tears of joy when leaving, as we had achieved something for the whole village, a library.

Would you consider volunteering again and where?
Yes, probably back to Olasiti as it was amazing…

Tips for future volunteers?
Don’t worry if over pack as, it’s nice to leave things behind for your host family. Sleeping bag, Wet-wipes/cleansing wipes, toilet wipes and bacterial hand wash. Small pocket mirror for guys and gals.

Further advice, stories or statements
Quotes from the volunteers”Prior to the trip we were virtually strangers, now, we are all the best of friends … That’s Powerful””Our greatest fears prior to coming to Kenya, led to our greatest ever life experience” “Extraordinary””Magnificent trip, amazing. This should be compulsory for all employees”
“Communication and relationship building between colleagues from different departments and resorts was exceptional””Life changing” “A natural team bonding experience” “If the company wanted to improve staff morale, build loyalty, energise and inspire employees, Kenya ticks all the boxes and more”

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies