Abigail Blain - Care & Community in Kenya
My two weeks in Nakuru, Kenya doing the Care and Community project was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish!
I made the decision to volunteer with Projects Abroad about two years ago. My three best friends and I decided we would all go together and spent a long time going through all the possible projects in all the different countries. Finally, we decided on the Care and Community project as we all wanted to work with people to improve a local area.
Of all the countries that we could go to we felt it would be most valuable to visit Kenya as it is a country that’s developing quickly and would really benefit from any possible aid in order to ensure that no area and no person is left behind as the country becomes more and more economically stable. We were all sure that we wanted to go to Africa and get an authentic African experience and Kenya seemed to be a country that was rich in culture with an interesting history and beautiful landscape.
We liked that English is the official language of Kenya as well as Kiswahili. We knew we would be able to communicate with everyone but also get the opportunity to learn parts of a new language. We also researched local customs and food. We thought that ugali looked interesting and we would love to try it as it is the staple food in Kenya. After finalising the decision we booked our trip to Kenya and began to get more and more excited about building a pit latrine for an orphanage as well as spending time teaching children.
Arriving in Kenya
After a lengthy flight we arrived in Nakuru, Kenya at our host family’s house. It was a lovely house in a gated community. Our host mum, Miriam, was kind and welcoming. She lived alone as her children were all grown up but she had a very nice maid named Lynette. We felt included at all times and got to try all sorts of exciting Kenyan food. At dinner times Miriam told us all about Kenya, the culture, her job and religion.
We slept under a mosquito net which was interesting as I had never seen one in real life before. We woke bright and early the next morning for our first day at the placement. Our driver Gitau took us to Sure 24, a local orphanage with a school on site as well as other people living and working. It was so interesting to see how this small community all worked together.
My Care & Community Placement
There were cows and chickens around as well as men doing building work and women cooking food which they then sold. We met the children in the orphanage and at the school. They were so sweet and entertaining; they asked lots of questions about us and also tried to teach us some Kiswahili words and songs.
We then set to work building a block of pit latrines for the children in the orphanage to use. We had to begin by taking rocks over to the building site as they would be used as bricks. We then filtered gravel then mixed it with water to create cement. Each day we progressed much further and laid new layers of bricks. After a few days the latrines began to take shape and by the end of the project we had fitted the doors. On the last day we were given paint and everyone on the project wrote their names up on the wall of the latrines we had built.
Constructing the pit latrines was our community project and we spent our mornings doing this however we also undertook Care project in the afternoons. We visited Kaadesh, a local orphanage for small children up to five years old. We heard the tragic stories of the children and how they ended up in the orphanage - this was very sad and moving.
We then spent time playing with all the children as well as helping out with some cleaning. We also visited Hope Children’s Ministry, a school in a nearby slum. Here we taught the children games. We spent the majority of our time at the Sure 24 School where we taught some lessons to the first and second year students. This was an amazing experience and all the children were so lovely and grateful. Some of them wrote us letters thanking us. It was very sad to say goodbye.
I loved everything about our trip to Kenya. It was a really special opportunity and I met so many lovely people. All the Kenyans were so kind and sweet and the children were adorable. This was a special and unique experience and one I would certainly undertake again. In our time off we visited Lake Baringo and went on a safari. We also visited shops and markets. All the Projects Abroad staff was so fun.
I would fully recommend visiting Kenya!
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.