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Isobel Farquharson

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Izzy's trip to Kenya

Isobel volunteered on our orphanage programme with her friends Ayesha and Kate. Her stay in Kenya was greatly appreciated by everyone she met and we're really glad she enjoyed her time volunteering. We disagree about the ugali, however - that stuff's great!

I heard about the great work Agape does through a presentation at my school led by the CEO of the organisation, Guillaume Lefevre. I was very interested in volunteering during the summer and had been searching for an affordable and reliable volunteering programme, and Agape Volunteers seemed to provide just that. A couple of friends and I decided to volunteer for 2 weeks on the orphanage placement, and I can honestly say that they were two of the most enjoyable, eye-opening, weeks I have ever had.

As soon as we walked in to the orphanage we were surrounded by smiling kids wanting to hold our hands/ hug us/generally climb all over us! The orphanage that we worked at, the Destined Hope Children’s Academy, was a fairly small one and we were needed to help the 'Aunties' with general tasks like washing up, cooking and preparing meals, cleaning the bedrooms and washing clothes. Now, this all may seem fairly easy, but once you see the rate at which the Aunties in the orphanage wash clothes and chop vegetables, you will realise that there is more skill to it than you first thought, you're going to need to put some elbow grease in! There is also plenty of time to play with the kids. I would suggest thinking of some games to play and planning a few activities before you arrive and perhaps buying the necessary equipment (arts and crafts materials aren't readily available out there). My friend even led a singing session which turned out to be a success - they were singing Tinie Tempah for days. On the last day we led an art class which ended up with some very... colourful... classrooms and children, but was great fun and let them do something that they wouldn’t usually get to experience.

I loved the atmosphere of the volunteer house

During our first week we got to visit the IDP refugee camp. We were given a brief introduction to its history and the work that charities including Agape and partner charity Marifiki have been doing there. We spent the day helping out with things like cleaning the classrooms, which the kids actually tried to take over as we were much slower than them! We also visited some families to distribute corn flour which is used to make a food called Ugali (which I can safely say is one of the only things that I don’t miss about Kenya!). The kids at the IDP camp are always happy to see volunteers, so be prepared to give out a numerous amount of high fives!

Another thing that I loved about Agape was the atmosphere of the volunteer house. Everyone got on really well together and there was never a dull evening. During your stay you will probably meet Jesse, Izzo, Gee and Tony, employees of Agape based in Kenya. They were all so kind and funny, and definitely want you to get the best out of your time in Kenya.

I would also really recommend that you book a safari trip - it was completely worthwhile and we got to see some incredible wildlife and sunsets. Just be prepared for a very bumpy journey (I still have the bruises).

All in all I had an amazing two weeks full of great memories, and I can’t wait to hopefully return next year!

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