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Kenya HIV / AIDS

Help to combat HIV and AIDS in Kenya

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Make a difference in Kenya

Help promote the future health of the community in one of Agape’s toughest but most rewarding placements.

As a volunteer on our HIV/AIDS programme, you will be working in clinics as well as in the wider community with support groups. A lot of the work requires a great deal of personal strength and understanding, particularly as many of the sufferers are children. You will be carrying out HIV tests, counselling sufferers, educating young people in the community and carrying out home visits.

You will be made comfortable with all of your responsibilities in your orientation, and you will be given extra advice about precautionary measures you should take when in contact with infected people.

A lot of the work requires a great deal of personal strength and understanding, particularly as many of the sufferers are children

Your work in the clinic will mostly be carrying out conducting tests and other procedures, which you will be taught by local clinic staff. However, counselling is likely to be your most demanding responsibility. We counsel people with positive and negative results, talking through what can be done to help them as well as giving them preventative advice.

You may also be carrying out home visits to distribute food and medicine to families who can no longer work due to their illness. The Kenyan government provide a supply of medicine which you will help distribute. During your orientation, and in your first few days, you will be assisted in all of these duties, and we will make sure you are prepared for the challenges you will face.

 

Breakfast and dinner will be provided for you with your host family. Breakfast will probably be bread, butter, jam, eggs and chai, a type of African tea, although this varies by the day. Kenyan food often has an Indian influence, and dinner consists of rice, beans, mixed vegetables, chapatis, ugali and stewed meat. You are encouraged to try out the local vendors and stalls near your placement for lunch; they provide food very cheaply and you will be promoting Agape’s support for the community, as well as having the opportunity to sample local cooking. However, your host mum will provide you with a packed lunch if you prefer, just ask on the day. It is recommended that you drink only bottled water during your stay, which is available in most shops. If you have any special dietary requirements, do let us know and your host family will be informed.

You will be living in volunteer groups near your placement. You will be living in either 'host-family' accomodation or in a 'volunteer-house.' Both will provide beds, a mattress, pillows and sometimes a mosquito net, but you should bring your own sleeping bag. In line with the Christian values in most Kenyan households, your host family may expect you to sleep in single sex rooms.  Volunteer houses vary, but you can make a request for a single-sex room. All of our home-stays in Nairobi have electricity but very few have running water, instead using drainage pipes and water tanks stored inside the house. All our host families are exactly that; families, so there may be some house rules that you will be given when you arrive.
Within a day of arriving in your home-stay you will receive the Agape Volunteers orientation. This is explained in much more detail in the information pack, but the general idea of this is to make sure that you are as prepared as is possible for your stay in Africa. It explains things like culture, customs, language and how to stay safe on a day to day basis. This also gives you a chance to meet other volunteers who you might not be staying with.

 

All Kenyan and Masai volunteers recieve two extra trips included in their volunteering costs.

The first of these is the IDP outreach trip. IDP stands for "internally displaced person" and these camps are a hangover from the 2007 election violence where thoudands of people were made homeless. Unfortunately, since then for whatever reason these people have not been able to retuen to their communities and still live in tented camps spread out accross the central African Rift Valley. The conditions in these camps are not good and unfortunately since the UN withdrew in 2009, Agape Volunteers are one of the only full time aid organization opperating in these areas. We run a food outreach trip every two weeks where we travel to the camp to distribute food and general supplies and a medical trip around every month, where medical supplies are distributed with the help of local doctors. As part of your volunteering fees you will take part in one of these trips if you want to that is. Most volunteers describe it as their most striking memory from their stay in Kenya but also as the point at which they felt most useful. Agape Volunteers is committed to continuing these outreach trips but is also investing in longer term solutions to the problem, which include the building of a school, completed in 2010 and a hospital, due for completion this year.

The second trip is the city tour. On one of your free wekend days in Kenya you are entitled to a free tour around the city of Nairobi with other volunteers. As part of this trip you will visit the monkey park, animal orphange, crocodile park, elephant sanctuary and some beautiful city parks. There is a nice lunch included too, provided by your host, but as this is taken in the monkey park, you will have to guard it with your life!

You don't need to worry about organizing either of these trips as one of members of staff will be in contact about them once you have settled in.

After breakfast with your host family and the other volunteers, you will head to your placement. Placement work starts at 9am, and you will begin at the clinic to discuss the day ahead with the staff. Testing is usually done in the morning. You may want to carry out tests and counselling in a group with other volunteers or members of staff at first, and help will always be available with these aspects of your work.

For lunch you are free to meet up with the other volunteers on your placement, or eat with the other staff. After lunch, you may be carrying out home visits with another member of staff, or holding counselling sessions. Each visit lasts for 45 minutes, and you will be delivering food, checking on the children and getting to know the families you are working with. At around 3pm on some days you may go into a local school with a group and another staff member to present a talk on the dangers of HIV and how it may be prevented.

At 5pm, the clinics close, and HIV volunteers either join in with another project, playing games and looking after HIV positive children, or return to their host families. Dinner will be with your host followed by games with the other volunteers, and then bed around 10pm.

There are plenty of optional extras you can choose to include in your trip. At the weekends, you can get involved with lots of activities taking place in and around the city. Teaching at Saturday school is optional for volunteers, and usually involves lots of games rather than serious lessons. You can explore the Maasai markets, and take advantage of the city tour of Nairobi included in your programme fee. Your host family will also have good recommendations for places you can visit.

Most families will attend church on Sundays, and whilst this is optional, they may invite you to try it. 

For more extended trips, you can visit the spectacular Fourteen Falls, go to Diani Beach near Mombasa, visit National Parks and even climb Mt Kenya. Most of our volunteers also choose to take a safari, which is an unparalleled experience in some of Africa’s most beautiful parks. It is available to our volunteers at a reduced rate from the tourist prices. You can find more information about all of these optional extras in our information booklet, and once you get to Kenya. Second to this, after you have booked, your trip adviser will ask you if there are any other trips that you would like to take whilst you are volunteering.

 

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