"I met some awesome people on my trip from all around the world and was warmly welcomed by the Kenyan people. I would recommend Agape to anyone as they were very organised and professional but fun and enthusiastic at the same time."
"All of my expectations for a memorable summer were met and more. The Agape staff were very helpful and able to answer any questions that I had regarding my placement or cultural differences. I would highly recommend volunteering in Kenya through Agape for a memorable, rewarding experience which you'll never forget!"
"I can truly say that is was the best three weeks of my life so far and I would recommend it to anyone; Kenya was the most amazing, beautiful carefree country I have ever been to. I am already counting down the days until I can go back!"
"Had a fantastic experience with Agape volunteers! All of the volunteer leaders were very helpful and friendly. Had a great time and learnt a lot whilst volunteering. The excursions were an added bonus! Would highly recommend to anyone!"
"Had an amazing time with Agape Volunteers. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since. Would recommend to anybody! Thank you for an incredible experience!"
"Wonderful experience! Grace and the children at the orphanage are absolutely beautiful. It was my second time visiting Kenya, so I was already familiar with the culture. The volunteer housing was comfortable, within walking distance to the orphanage and I met some lovely people from all over the world there. Highly recommend anyone to volunteer in Kenya through Agape Volunteers. Look forward to planning my next trip soon!"
"I had the most incredible, wonderful, most loving experiences in Ghana. I have so many amazing memories, and now feel like I am part of such a brilliant, loving family. If I could go back tomorrow I would."
"Had an amazing time in Ghana at JIKO. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will definitely be going back soon! :)"
"Loving working with everybody :-) would recommend this to anyone thinking of volunteering!"
"Although I don't think it is possible to capture in words my time in South Africa, here is a little something! My 3 weeks in South Africa were full of life changing and one-off life experiences and opportunities. Here's a few of my favourites - elephant monitoring, walking through the bush, teaching children at a local school, enjoying the beauty of Sodwana Bay, hiking around False Bay, standing six metres from a rhino, helping to capture Mountain Reedbuck, touching an elephant's tongue, watching a leopard lie down in front of me, stroking a cheetah, tracking leopard movement around the lodge, doing static counts, watching the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I had an amazing 3 weeks in South Africa through a programme that offered me the chance to truly experience life in South Africa. My time in this wonderful country allowed me to develop the knowledge, skills, memories and a 'feeling' that could not have been gained in any other way. For that, I am genuinely thankful to Elton and Melissa for helping me live this experience for the 3 weeks! Thank you so much. And I think it's safe to say, I've caught the 'feeling' and I will be back one day!"
"After finding myself with 6 weeks to spare in the summer I decided to go to Africa to do some volunteering. After searching through google and researching a number of charities I decided to go with Agape. I worked directly with Gee to get the trip sorted, with a 10 day turn around from booking to flying out to Kenya. After landing in Kenya I was picked up from the airport promptly and taken back to the Waithaka volunteer house where I was met by the house mamma Florence, who is amazing! Breakfast and dinner is great, local Kenyan food and the house consists of the basic amenities along with a TV and DVD player. As there is a curfew keeping yourself entertained is a important, we generally played card games, monopoly, drinking games and watching movies. My first full day consisted of a tour around the local area and a trip to the main shopping mall and local market. You can buy most things locally around the house, such as water, food, DVD's (burned from downloads) and alcohol. On the first day of placement I was taken to Saint Dorcas Children's Home by one of the guys from Agape (Little Bony), where I was introduced to the head teacher and each of the classes.The St. Dorcas Children's Home is relatively small with children from all backgrounds, the age of the children ranged from 4-20 and they were all so excitable and lovely, it made the days fly by! You get lunch provided which is the same as what the kids eat, generally maize, corn and beans. After a day or two you are given a class to teach. I found myself teaching Class Five (10-11 year olds) English, Maths and Science. It was fantastic and it gives you such a great opportunity to bond with the kids and have some fun in the classroom. During my stay I did a number of excursions; Kibera Outreach Day, Maasai Mara Safari, Hell's Gate, Mount Longonot and then the two excursions included; City Tour and IDP Project. Kibera is a good opportunity to see just how much of a struggle it can be living within the country and despite the hardship so many people have are so positive and make the best of their situation. A bottle in the street gives the kids something to play with for hours. You get the chance to meet two families who are extremely welcoming and happy to talk you through how they ended up where they are. You will also go to a workshop where they make items out of animal bones, the employees are all from Kibera and help get them off the street and earning money. Safari is a great experience, you get to see loads of different animals in their natural environment, we managed to see 6 of the super 7 (Lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard, hyena and cheetah), missing out only on the rhino. If you do the four days, you will more than likely see a rhino. The accommodation is great, as is the food and you can stay up late in the group drinking and playing card games or just sit by the bonfire. Hell's Gate is probably one of the best excursions you can do, it consists of a bike ride, cycling past zebra's, warthogs, gazelle, and antelope. This is followed by a hike through a large gorge with a small amount of rock climbing. The views are phenomenal. You then get to relax in a sulphur spring pool before heading off to lunch. After lunch, you go on a boat ride aroundlake Naivasha where you see a lot of hippo's. Mount Longonot is a hard hike up the dormant volcano, at the top you get some fantastic views both into the crater and the surrounding areas of lowland, forests and lake Naivasha. Masaai Tribe is not for the faint hearted and you need to have an open mind. You pick up bottled water on the way but that's it, don't expect showers, toilets, a cooking hob etc. this is living the Masaai way with a fantastic hike (around 7 hours), children that are infatuated with you, going out hunting, milking a cow etc. It's definitely worth doing if you can live without modern comforts for a few days! City tour is a good little tour visiting a crocodile farm, elephant orphanage, giraffe sanctuary and a park with friendly, wild monkeys. During the tour you get to hold a crocodile, get a kiss from giraffe and have monkeys climb over you whilst you hand out some peanuts to them. IDP is a tour around the project where the charity is helping build homes for the displaced families currently living in tents. They have already built a school, a number of houses, a chicken coup and started on a medical building. It's great to see just where the additional money goes from the money you pay. The guys in the house - Florence, Izzo, Jo, Joseph, Tabby, Little Bony - are amazing and will always look after you, as well as taking you out on an occasional night out. I would thoroughly recommend going out to Kenya and I'm already planning my trip back for next year to work at the IDP project."
I had a fantastic time in Ghana and while it was a long time I was there, it went unbelievably quickly. I was teaching in 3 different schools and taught in the church every weekday. I also managed to play in church a couple of times! All the children were so motivated and ambitious learners and they progressed quick, I felt a bit guilty leaving after all their commitment! I was surprised how much I enjoyed Takoradi and the local area, it's a beautiful city and I was shown all corners of it. My favourite experience of it was going to the beach there at 6 am to see it bustling with people running, swimming, playing football and just socialising. The beach near where I was staying, 'Paradise' was too one of my favourite places and enjoyed taking the children there and teaching them to swim. I had only planned to go once or twice, but every weekend they asked to go again!I don't think any amount of preparation could have prepared me for travelling on a tro-tro. I landed at around 8 pm and set off with Ebenezer to travel the width of the country. Tired and confused I was so overwhelmed travelling on the small, hot, speeding bus, finally arriving at the orphanage at around 3 am! After some training and lessons on how to stop, say where I was going and how much to pay, I was confident on getting them myself; by the end, I managed to travel to Takoradi by myself at night to meet up with some volunteers I had met out there!
If you want your eyes opened and have a top experience this is the place to go, and Agape Volunteers was there to help at every step. I stayed in Kenya for just under a month - if it wasn't for the day job dragging me back I'd still be there. Wanting to do something a little different this year I set about searching the web for things too do - every site I went on seemed either really expensive for what you got or just too complicated to sort out. Luckily a friend had recommended Agape so I decided to book with them. Not a seasoned traveler I wasn't too confident in what I was doing - I considered trying to sort everything out myself and 'going alone' but looking back the facilities and guidance which were provided helped massively and I'm glad I booked via them. I'd signed up for the teaching program, this involved going to a primary school and helping out. It's not like any school you'd see in the UK. The syllabus was pretty basic in some subjects, but in others, I was surprised at how advanced it was. I'm positive I wasn't doing some of those maths equations till well into secondary school! (Don't worry if your education wasn't the best, I wouldn't say I excelled in maths but managed fine) I don't think you can get across in words the difference between schools in England and the ones in Kenya. Although basic, it works. The children make the trip, very chatty. You could spend all day with them asking questions about where you come from, inquiring about different aspects of life elsewhere in the world. Children would come up to you in the street and say "Hi" just to get the opportunity to speak to someone from a different country. I also spent a week at one of the orphanages which again was amazing, I had the vision of a massive institution-style building which the kids would hate being at - I couldn't have been more wrong. It was basically a massive family which I was adopted by as soon as I arrived, straight away I was helping out cement there yard. Living with the children you get a real feel for life out there. Walking them to school in the morning past the fields was one of the best parts, seeing locals wandering about carrying out their daily routine. When you see pictures on the web and think, I wonder where that is, it looks amazing - that's your view every day. One thing I'm glad about was the ability to swap and change what I was doing. Although I was only there for around a month I fitted so much in. The fact I was on the teaching program but was also able to stay at the orphanage was great, in my opinion, I fitted in double the experience. The safari is a must, and I'd recommend fitting in as many other excursions as possible. I had some spare money towards the end so mentioned to one of the Agape staff I wouldn't mind doing something, next day I was up a mountain. The relaxed way of life out there is something I'll always be jealous of. The staff there are all really helpful and I can't thank them enough for the experience. I'm already considering volunteering again, and Agape will definitely be used if I do. Anyone wanting to do something a little different I'd recommend Kenya and using Agape.
My adventure all began at my dining table in London, where I was searching for opportunities to volunteer abroad. I searched Google and found the Agape webpage where they had plenty of different opportunities to volunteer around the world, I found many volunteering companies online, but Agape Volunteers webpage looked the most professional. I chose the Kenya sports opportunity and flew out in June. In my mind, I was constantly thinking, ‘what have I got myself in to?’ Little did I know; I was in for the most motivating, inspirational and eye-opening 4 weeks of my life! I landed in Kenya and was immediately welcomed and picked up by one of the Agape team members who made me feel right at home, and instantly became a friend. He insured me that all is safe but keep your wits about you. I was curious to see my home for the next 4 weeks, so I was instantly escorted over to the most beautiful place (in my opinion) in Kenya named Maai Mahiu. I was greeted by another Agape team member who I was told that will be looking after me for the remainder of my trip (who has now become one of my closest friends.) I was to work in a school called ‘Southern Cross’ (which is situated just in front of the IDP Camps) and live with the head teacher of the School, in my mind I was thinking ‘UH OH, teachers hate me!’ Well this head-mistress became my Kenyan Mother and she still holds the title. Day One began and I started work at the school, one of the projects was to build a greenhouse where the school are able to grow fresh vegetables for the children at the school, because, at that time, the food that the kids have been eating was; ‘Kideri’ (Various boiled beans) and Porridge. We began the project instantly shopping for timber, nails, and various tools. One of the most exciting times of my trip, I was able to ride on the back of the truck and sit on top of large amounts of wood and ride back to the school.The second part of the experience began after a 9-hour shift of building the greenhouse, where I was introduced to Southern Crosses football team Vumillia. I trained 20 very talented and very fast footballers. Over the 4 weeks training, they improved immaculately, and I was honoured to have won 3 matches and a tournament. The house I stayed in was a family home, where I was privileged to see how a typical Kenyan family live. I stayed with Mama Mary, Peter (her husband) and their 3 wonderful kids. Though this may not seem all so exciting but one of my best moments that I shared in Kenya was that every other day I was able to walk through beautiful fields with mountain views and collect milk fresh from the cow from their neighbour. During the working hours from 9 am to 5 pm of building the greenhouse, we had short breaks, where I would play football and ‘chase’ with the children. The kids were so funny, and constantly want to play all the time. I would have to be dragged away from the children and forced to get back to work! I learned from the other volunteers that all the kids knew one song (which I don’t know the title of) and if you begin with shouting ‘HEAVINLY FATHER’ all the kids will instantly drop what they are doing and join in! The first time I ever saw this, it was amazing! There were at least 50 children singing this song! During the 4 weeks, the greenhouse was nearly complete, but unfortunately not finished, though as I have stayed in touch with most of the people in Kenya, I know that the greenhouse is up and running! I shared many magical moments in Maai Mahiu and would not trade it for anything! I hope to go back soon and surprise my Vumillia football team, and all the kids and teachers at Southern Cross School; I miss them all very much! Kenya is an amazing place, I advise all volunteers to go on the Safari trip where you can meet all the amazing animals, and it is definitely a bonus to the whole experience. I would like to thank the whole Agape Team for the experience and everything that the team has provided to make the trip even more special than I believed it was, Thank you all!
In July 2013, we volunteered for 2 weeks in Kenya through Agape Volunteers, based in the United Kingdom. Our friends had visited the prior year and fell in love! They were eager for us to share the same experience. And of course, we said, “Yes, we want to help!” Our expectations were exceeded! The Agape staff were easy to work with from registering to volunteer, transportation to and from the airport, accommodations, and helpful advice for safely experiencing a new country. We stayed in Dagoretti one night and had the pleasure to meet other volunteers. The remainder of the trip, we stayed in Kikuyu with the lovely and energetic host, Mary Kabz. She was wonderful, helping us with our daily scheduling, made us breakfasts and dinners as necessary, and supplied us with helpful advice throughout our stay. The highlight of our volunteer trip was indeed visiting the children! We visited, worked and played at the orphanages of Jesus Helpers Children’s Home in Uthiru, Destined Children's Home and Makimei Children’s Home in the Greenbelt area. It was the hardest thing to say goodbye to the happy, smiling faces of these children. Ones we had grown to love so much! Actually, it was not “Goodbye” it was….”Until next time!”
Looking back at the diary I kept during our time in Kenya with the Agape, I find I have begun each day’s entry with ‘BEST DAY EVER!!!’ or words to that effect. Although we were only with them for 3 days, we managed to fit so much in and each day I think we all experienced something each day which took our breath away. I know for certain that the vivid memories I have of those 3 days will stay in my mind for a very long time. On the first day, we hired bikes and visited Hell’s Gate National Park. I knew we would probably get to see some animals but I had never expected to see so much beautiful wildlife in such close proximity. There were herds of zebras grazing all around us and wandering across the track in front of us! We saw gazelles, tiny pumbas (warthogs) and spotted a secretary bird in the long grass. We even got to ditch our bikes and scramble up Pride Rock (as seen in The Lion King!) to marvel at the stunning scenery surrounding us. After the ‘bike’ came the ‘hike’ which involved walking, and sometimes scrambling, through an amazing rocky gorge. We even had our first hot shower of the holiday – a waterfall which derived from the hot springs (these hot springs also fed the geothermal power plant that we had a fascinating tour of later on). In the evening we were treated to a boat trip on Lake Naivasha and a walk on one of its islands where we saw more incredible wildlife – flamingos, storks, herons, pelicans, baboons, waterbuck, giraffes and even a family of basking hippos which we viewed tentatively from the motorboat!The second day was more educational and in the morning we had a tour of a flower farm where some of Kenya’s main goods are produced ready to be sold in UK supermarkets. We then headed off to one of Kenya’s many IDP camps (internally displaced people as a result of post-election turmoil). This was in many ways a really eye-opening experience as the level of poverty in the camps is severe; most people live in tiny shacks made of plastic bags, iron sheets, and newspaper. Although it was at times upsetting, it was reassuring to know that Agape volunteers are hugely involved in the camp and work to make a real difference to the quality of life of the residents. We were given the opportunity to help out by distributing food packages and those of us hoping to enter into in a medical or caring profession were able to assist the community nurse in giving out appropriate medication at the camp clinic. Some of the volunteers who had bought toys and clothes were surrounded by crowds of excitable children eager to have something of their own. I have never seen a child cherish a McDonald’s freebie with so much gratitude. It was hugely humbling to meet some of these people and to realise that in reality they are just like us with the same needs and emotions yet they have been through so much and have so little. We spent the day enjoying some of the more touristy attractions Nairobi has to offer. We arrived at the baby elephant sanctuary just in time for feeding. Watching baby elephants helping themselves to enormous bottles of milk is adorable. At the giraffe sanctuary, we were told to put a food pellet between our lips and stand at the top of a giraffe-sized tower, waiting to be kissed by a giraffe. I managed to avoid a kiss but apparently it was a truly romantic experience. The afternoon was spent in the Masai market where shopping reached a new level of extreme. There were all kinds of beautiful fabrics, jewellery, wooden sculptures, bowls, tribal clothing and everywhere we walked we were surrounded by eager stall-holders wanting to shake our hands, know our names and where we come from and introduce us to their stall. By the end of the afternoon, we were all accomplished hagglers and somehow ended up going home with heavier suitcases than when we arrived… To finish our last day in Kenya in style we were taken to an incredible Ethiopian restaurant in town (apparently the best restaurant in Nairobi – I can believe it). I was sad to have to leave Kenya but I’m planning on returning one day! Thanks, Agape for such a fantastic time.
I had an amazing time thanks to the people I met there - Eunice and her family did a wonderful job of looking after me and the other volunteers - I cannot praise them highly enough! I worked at a safe house while I was there and have made plans to keep in touch with them, which have already begun. Thank you to Agape for setting up my voluntary process - It was an unforgettable experience but far too short so I will be back in the future.
Six weeks in Kenya with Agape Volunteers was a great experience. I worked in two clinics in the slum of Kawangware, Nairobi, and later did some research into the need and feasibility of building a clinic at an Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camp in the Great Rift Valley. During my stay in Kenya, I was based with a local family living in the outskirts of Nairobi. As a first year medical student, I went into the clinics with few clinical skills, prepared to learn and do my best, always putting the patient first. I certainly learnt a lot, experienced taxing situations, and I believe, played a part in bringing change, little though it may have been. I worked at two clinics: Fremo Medical Centre and then Wema Nursing Home. The former was smaller and on the outskirts of Kawangware; the latter was slightly larger and in the heart of the slum. At each clinic I first learned clinical skills and then performed them under supervision. During my first two and a half weeks I was at Fremo. Initially I was in the laboratory, doing diagnostic tests under the lab technician Nixon’s supervision. It was heart wrenching each time someone tested positive for HIV/AIDS. The prevalence of AIDS in Kenya is about 7% according to official statistics, and though low for Sub-Saharan Africa, this still imposes a huge disease burden on society. I had a few opportunities to sit in during patient consultations with Dr Fred, a great teacher. In my second week I met Vicki, an enthusiastic and inspirational Australian mid-wife, who raised money and changed the face of Fremo by providing simple but essential sanitation and care. Soon I had assisted with my first birth, was cleaning bloodstained bed linen by hand and was conducting post-natal checkups. (The latter was initiated by Vicki after a mother brought in a sick baby too late: a preventable death.) It was a great privilege to be part of an important event in a person’s life and I almost cried when a mother whom I was visiting named her son Samuel after me! More volunteers arrived in Fremo, and I was moved to Wema: a clinic with in-patient facilities but shabbier and with no running water. My attention here was divided between the consultation room and the wards. In the former, I took basic observations, dressed wounds, prepared and gave injections, as well as sorting out and arranging drugs as they arrived. In the latter, I monitored vital signs and assisted women in labour. During my time at Wema, Agape Volunteers conducted a free one-day medical clinic at the IDP camp in the Rift Valley. Though organizing the big make-shift clinic at the local school was a bit chaotic, it was a great day and I was able to use my newly acquired skill of giving injections. Two weeks at Wema largely concluded my experience in clinical medicine. During my last one and a half weeks, I went to the IDP camp to do some research. The IDP camp is Agape’s main project in Kenya. The camp houses people made homeless by the post-election violence of 2007. Agape has built and run a primary school at the camp, as well as occasionally providing food and health care for people in the camp. There had been plans to build a permanent clinic here but these had fallen through, hampered by a lack of solid data on the needs and feasibility of the project. I and another medic went to the camp to gather information, staying at a school in the neighbouring town of Maai Mahiu and conducting a survey among the camp's inhabitants. We also spoke to nearby healthcare providers and government health officials. We concluded that a clinic was needed and that two options existed: either build a private clinic on Agape-owned land in the camp or try to acquire government support for a new clinic in Maai Mahiu, across the road. My time spent at IDP provided many insights into the Kenyan healthcare system. On a different note, it was a sad thing to witness tensions within the camps and with the local villages hindering development. It was wonderful to be able to help in a meaningful way. Through this, Kenya has provided me motivation to do my best in my future studies and become the best doctor that I can. In addition, time in Kenya was an eye-opener to third world health conditions (e.g.:- mothers giving birth in tents in the IDP camp, women in the city walking to the clinic while in labour and delivering in the dust, and patients being held hostage in hospital for failing to pay the bills), which made me appreciate the NHS all the more. So, I have gained much from Kenya, and hopefully have been able to give back something meaningful in return.
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 it was great fun and let them do something that they wouldn’t usually get to experience. 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 really 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!
I had the most incredible time in Ghana, met so many amazing people and had some life-changing experiences. A fantastic trip.
Agape Volunteers made it easy for me to achieve something I had always wanted to do. From the start they were organised and had great advice, making me feel at ease and ready for my adventure! I stayed with an incredible family in Ghana who cooked us delicious traditional food and the two young children were so energetic and enthusiastic about showing us around and talking about their village and their friends. I felt right at home straight away.Volunteering at the local school was such an amazing experience, and the children loved getting involved. This was such a fantastic and unforgettable experience, made even better by Agape Volunteers support and organisation.
Last year I went to Kenya and met a young guy Gee (Agape Volunteers) over there. After meeting with him and seeing several other volunteers who liked Agape, we decided to try this year with them. I felt that this was a reputable organization and felt that things would go smoothly. Being older than most volunteers (Our group--4 people in our mid 50's) smoothly is a good thing. Every communication prior to and en route was promptly addressed and from when we touched down in Nairobi, we were met and taken care of. No problems. The only thing to add here is that the Kenya staff are really great people (Gee, Izzo, Mama Bishop, Mary, and even you Mike---Are reason enough to come back. Sorry if I've left anyone out). You couldn't ask for better people. FYI, I highly recommend Mary's hugs. Our Maasai Mara Safari was one that we'll cherish our lifetime, including one little extra. Our crazy new friend Izzo brought along Peter (13 yrs old) with us. It was his reward for doing well in school. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we had a blast. Also, I really admire these people who not only have a heart for doing good things, but actually do some impressive stuff here. While we did have our own itinerary, our Agape and Marafiki staff were ALWAYS there to assist with anything we needed, be it food, transportation, invites to functions, assistance with our projects, etc. I do warn anyone going to Kenya with Agape though, that leaving is tough. To leave new friends, a beautiful country, the best Checkah's (Smiles) on children's faces isn't the easiest thing to do. It does, however, give you the feeling that you'll be returning there. When we do, it'll be with our Agape friends. A very heartfelt thanks for everything guys. Please know we think you're great.
When I arrived in Kenya I didn’t know what to expect at all but it turned out to be a million times better than I could have ever imagined. I went with my friend Catherine and I did a teaching/orphanage placement, whilst Cat did a medical placement. Gee, the guy in charge happened to be there for most of the time we were and we all stayed at the same homestay. Staying with Maggie and Oliver was lovely, their hosting was impeccable- if you stay here you will NEVER go hungry. They have three lovely daughters, Kim, Crystal and Beautiful, who kept us busy and on our toes constantly wanting to play. Thankfully after a few days, we managed to convince them that sleeping lions was a good game to play which kept them quiet for a while… well, a minute or two. When Cat and I first went to the Agape Hope Centre (the school and orphanage) it was a Friday afternoon and it was play time. We walked through a small gate into the play area and was swamped by children from every angle. They all wanted to hold my hand, touch my skin and play with my hair, I couldn’t move. After a good half an hour of being prodded and poked Ben came to my rescue. As one of the older boys there he told the younger children to give me some room to breathe and I could finally take in my surroundings. It was smaller than I expected considering that so many children go to school there every day but it was a very happy place. We played lots of games with them; football, skipping, me being chased, me having my hair done, them stealing my camera and singing English pop songs… They are all massive Akon and Rihanna fans. A word of warning though; if you play football with them watch out. They’re good! I think I got beaten by several people under the age of 8.(6 at best.) One of the weeks I was there I painted the orphanage bedrooms with some other volunteers who were in the area and two local boys, Joe and Jesse. I think more of the paint ended up on us than on the walls (all Gee’s fault) but the job got done eventually and the rooms looked much nicer than they had before. All the kids really wanted to join in with the painting and they loved that I ended up covered in blue paint looking like a smurf; in fact, they were partly responsible for it. It was hard work but definitely worth it. I also spent quite a lot of time at the centre out of school time when just the orphans were there. Gee and I spent most of our evenings there playing football with them and taking the kids to watch the local football team, Dagototo, train. Gee attempted to join in these training sessions but to be honest he was a bit outpaced and outclassed.On one of our first nights after Gee arrived we had a bonfire at the centre with all the orphans and the Dagototo boys. Everyone joined together to cook a meal and I got introduced to all the boys on the football team. They were all of a similar age to me ranging from about 18-22 and they were all so friendly and absolutely lovely. A few of them tried to teach me how to play African poker (which I am officially rubbish at!) and how to dance to reggae. Moseti taught me to make Ugali and all of them generally mocked me as much as they could. It was a really fun evening and was lovely to see the sense of community that there is. It’s something I really miss now I’m home. At the weekends we tried to do fun things at the orphanage. One day we made cakes with the orphans and another we took them loads of paper, pens and stickers and had picture time. They loved it. The cakes went dramatically wrong and definitely didn’t look like cakes but they tasted amazing and drawing pictures ended up with everyone being covered in stickers. Although neither day went to plan the way they ended up was definitely more fun. Oh and we also taught them to dance. They now know how to do the Macarena and Gee’s signature dance move, the canoe. If you are ever there ask them to show you :) I also spent a bit of time getting to know some of the football team better. They showed me where they lived and told me about their lives. Jesse and Moseti introduced me to reggae and we even went CD shopping so I’d be able to listen to it all at home. I watched a few of their football matches and cheered them on. So many of the local community turned out to watch it was great, although I think I was bad luck as they never won when I watched. A very interesting yet amazing experience in Kenya has to be the matatus (local buses). They are old minibuses with way too many seats in for their size and are how the locals get around. They are always packed; at one point Gee had 3 people sat on his knee, and are really uncomfortable but could provide me with hours of entertainment. They play the coolest music I’ve ever heard ridiculously loud and usually have flashing neon lights. An evening matatu ride is something I think everyone should get to experience! They usually end in very funny events which could include: a dog eating your pizza, a local man offering you a towel because your feet are so muddy, trying to get into a random van that isn’t a bus, someone wanting to marry you… or your sister… or your friends… or any other English female you might know and lots of laughing. Another highlight was going on safari!! It’s pretty self-explanatory so I won’t say much but it is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. We watched the sunrise and saw baby lions climbing up a rock with the rest of their pride… the rock even looked like pride rock in the Lion King! All it needed was a monkey to lift up one of the cubs and it would have been perfect. Seeing that left me on a high for the rest of the day and combined with a reggae filled journey back to Nairobi and dinner at Jesse’s house I really don’t think I could have been happier. One of the things already included in our trip to Kenya was going to an IDP camp. It was shocking to see people still living in tents so long after they were first given them and it was sad to see how reliant they are on the help Agape is providing, but I’ve never done something so worthwhile. When went and took medical supplies and helped a doctor to see all the people who were ill. I was in charge of taking peoples weights and temperatures, but others did blood pressure, registration, HIV counselling, and some medical students did injections. It was great to be able to help the people who so desperately needed help, but heartbreaking having to leave. They just kept asking when we would next be back. On a more positive note I saw all the buildings Agape are building for them (hospital, church, sewage system). Work had stopped for the time being as they needed to raise more money but when they are done they will be such a help to the community, I really hope one day I can go back and see it all finished. Although I did and saw some incredible things in Kenya it was the people that made it so special. They were probably the kindest, friendliest, most welcoming, generous, loving people I will ever meet. I will remember and love them all forever and just hope I get to see them all again very soon. Here is a bit about just a few of them: Izzo (Safari Slim) - Probably the coolest guy you’ll meet he is very smooth. He loves to explain how the African male way is the best way and also seems to be a massive fan of African time (always being late). Jesse - He’s an angel. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body and will always greet you with a smile. His generosity and the way he looked out for me was incredible. He also happens to be pretty amazing at football; he’s even played for Kenya U21’s. Moseti - I don’t even know what to say about him… I’m a little bit in love! 99% of the time I spent with him I was laughing or being mocked by him. He has the most amazing smile and is the star striker in the Dagototo team. He gave me my first reggae CD, which I now play all the time, and taught me to make Ugali and dance African style. Ben - I will never forget this boy. His happiness is infectious. He has a massive personality and certainly knows how to get your attention. He helped me lots when trying to explain things to the younger children, usually wanting biscuits for payment, a born businessman. Saying goodbye was hard. I don’t think they’ll ever quite realise how much of an impact they’ve had on me. I just hope I managed to give them even a small amount of the happiness and love that they gave me. This experience is something I’ll never forget, I can’t wait to go back!
I stayed for a total of 2 weeks in Nairobi, Kenya, and I initially started working within a clinic located in a very poor neighborhood. To date I have never done something as rewarding and fulfilling as the work I carried at Wema clinic. The doctors place an immense amount of trust in you and they gradually introduce you to more and more tasks ranging in difficulty. To gain as much experience as possible I also volunteered in the HIV/AIDS programme. I initially found the experience of walking through deprived areas rather surreal; however I found that you quickly adjust to the culture barrier since the locals are friendly and approachable. Knowing that your presence has helped to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of some of the most underprivileged people on earth feels incredibly satisfying. On evenings and weekends you spend time with other volunteers in the guest house, these moments were endlessly enjoyable and amusing, and the friends you will make there will last a lifetime. There are also excursions that take place on weekends which I cannot recommend more. This trip was absolutely amazing and I am left wondering; Ken-ya have a better trip?
In August 2012 I went to Kenya to do a volunteering teaching project. I spent an amazing 5 weeks in a local town called Kamangu, which is 40 minutes away from the capital city of Nairobi. I have never been to an African country before and I did not know what kind of experience I should look forward to while staying in Kenya. Luckily everything went much above my expectations. I am a kind of a globetrotter and have already taken part in similar projects but I have never met such warm-hearted and friendly people elsewhere in the world. I totally exposed myself to Kenyan lifestyle and adjusted as much as I could to the everyday routines, habits and social norms. Living and sharing life with a family was a fantastic opportunity to get to know the real African daily life. The teaching experience was one of a kind. Kenyan schools lack equipment and basic teaching resources. However, that did not seem to be an obstacle to lively and adorable students. The most surprising to me was their attitude to learning and teachers. The respect and gratitude were equal to the amount of effort they put into every lesson they learned. All of them were extremely energetic and attentive little learners. I am glad I could be a part of their educational adventure. Their passion and enthusiasm for gaining knowledge seems to be a driving force and hope in their lives. Seeing their smiley and happy faces were the greatest reward to me. I would not hesitate to go back to Kenya again. The beauty of the people overlaps with the magnificence of the country. Safari, hikes, trips, new friends ….all these things made it a worthwhile and unforgettable experience.
I spent 4 weeks in Kenya on the orphanage programme. I stayed with Susan and her two adorable girls Linda and Sylvia, and living with them was one of the highlights of my trip because I got a real host family experience. Susan was so welcoming and I really enjoyed our conversations, she taught me so much about Kenyan politics and culture and I was so grateful to her for sharing her life story and her hopes for the future with me. You will also never go hungry, her food is AMAZING! Schools in Kenya don’t teach art so I did lots of crafts and drawing with Linda and Sylvia who had lots of fun, the flat was certainly never dull with them around! I worked at Destined Children’s Centre, half an hour away from Susan’s, which had around 40 children, many of whom were under 10. The orphanage had three classrooms on its site where the children have lessons and then all gather to play, eat and sleep. The kids were adorable and I know as I teacher I shouldn’t say this... but it didn’t take long for me to work out my favourites... there really were some characters! We had lots of fun at playtime especially with bubbles and they loved taking pictures with my camera (even if one boy did manage to delete them all, meaning that a mad dash to the shopping centre, for the generous use of their free wifi, was needed to recover them!). Lunchtime was always amusing not only as Sarah, the 13-year-old matriarch of the group, managed to get them all sat down in three seconds, but also because it never failed to amaze me how much such tiny little people managed to eat! It was quite astonishing; no wonder they were all so strong! The kids enjoyed practicing their English with me and they taught me some Swahili, even if I was pretty rubbish! I loved my time at the orphanage and Esther, the lady who runs it, only opened it two years ago - to look after the number of children she does with very limited funds and resources after such little time is truly inspirational. Going to the IDP camp was a lovely experience too, the Southern Cross Academy school that Agape has worked hard to develop is really taking shape. I took loads of children’s clothes with me to donate and it was nice to go and visit the families that live there. Tony, Izzo, Gee and Jessie – the volunteer coordinators in Kenya – did an amazing job keeping us occupied on the weekends. We climbed a mountain, visited animal sanctuaries, and trekked through Hell’s Gate National park, which I came away from feeling totally invincible... and covered in mud (beige shorts were not a good call). Hats off to Gee for coaxing me up that wall - even if he did admit afterwards that he got scared when my teacher's voice came out half way up due to my utter terror; and also to Jessie for carrying my bag all the way round. Going on safari was one of the most magical experiences of my life and one I would massively recommend, especially as Agape charge less than a third of the price of normal tourist rates. If you are lucky enough to have Magical David (god of the Mara) as your driver – he knows literally everything, the man is a legend – then he might let you drive the van... I must say, I didn't think my first experience of driving an automatic would be in the Maasai Mara, in a van, with nine people, while desperately trying to avoid clipping a wildebeest! I would wholeheartedly recommend volunteering with Agape – they don’t nanny you, but the team is there if you need them. They provide you will a real, unsugarcoated volunteering experience which I was very thankful for. Be brave and go for it- you won’t regret it!
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