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THE FIRST STEPS - Volunteer Kenya FAQ

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THE FIRST STEPS - Volunteer Kenya FAQ Powered By Docstoc
					    Volunteer Kenya
Frequently Asked Questions




 www.volunteerkenya.org
 info@volunteerkenya.org
      (317) 417-5512
                               Volunteer Kenya FAQ

Table of Contents:

  I. THE FIRST STEPS
      1) I am interested in volunteering. What do I do now?

 II. APPLICATION PROCESS
      1) How do I apply to be a volunteer and how long is the application process?

 III. VOLUNTEER PROGRAM INFORMATION
       1) Do I have to specify a particular program I'm interested in or can I work on
           several programs while in Kenya?
       2) I am unsure what program I want to work on. Is that a problem?
       3) Do I need to have any qualifications and/or training to participate in any of
           the programs?
       4) I have taken a similar course to the Red Cross AIDS Instructor Training.
           Is it possible for this to count?
       5) Will there be other volunteers in Kenya when I go?
       6) Will there be an experienced health professional present at the clinic, or
           will I work on my own?
       7) Is it possible to communicate with patients at the clinic in English?
       8) Is there any time during the year when placements are not available?
       9) What is the minimum length of stay required for a volunteer?
       10) Is there a maximum stay for Volunteer Kenya volunteers?
       11) Who will help me organize a game plan prior to my arrival in Kenya?
       12) What is a typical day like?
       13) Will I enjoy every day in Kenya?
       14) What is the difference between “Volunteer Kenya” and “ICODEI”?

IV. FEE INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS
     1) How much are the Volunteer Fees and what do they include?
     2) How are these Fees distributed?
     3) Are the fees the same for additional months/weeks, if I wish to stay
         longer?
     4) I do not have that much money. Is there any type of discount for long-
         term stays?
     5) Why do I need to pay the salary for the Kenyan workers?
     6) Will I give the remainder of the Volunteer Fees to someone upon arrival in
         Kenya?
     7) If I do not want to go on a safari, can I deduct this from my Fees?

 V. FUNDRAISING INFORMATION
     1) Is there any financial support provided for the volunteer‟s plane ticket, or
        other Fees?
     2) Can I raise money for my trip and have the donations be tax-deductible?
     3) What has worked for other volunteers for fundraising?
     4) Do you have a Power Point presentation I could use to solicit funds?

VI. TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
     1) Do you suggest I make my own plane reservations?
        2) Who will pick me up at the airport? Where do we go from the airport?
        3) How will we get from Nairobi to the farm in Kabula?
        4) Do you have any information about travel insurance?
        5) I am interested in doing some traveling besides the safari. Do you have
           any information about possible trips and their prices?
        6) What type of visa do I need?

VII. HOUSING IN KENYA
      1) Will I live with community members or in separate housing?
      2) Will the farm have running water and electricity?
      3) What are the washrooms like? Are there showers or toilets?

VIII. DRINKING WATER
       1) Is the water safe to drink?
       2) Should I bring a water filter with me? Are there other options for water
          safety?
       3) What is the availability and cost of bottled water?

 IX. DRESS
      1) Are there cultural restrictions as to what I can wear while in Kenya?

  X. SAFETY
      1) What is the political situation in Kenya right now and do you think it will
         affect any potential trips?
      2) I am a young female and very concerned about safety, especially since I
         have never traveled to Africa before. Will I be working together with some
         local people?

 XI. MONEY
      1) How should I take my money to Kenya?
      2) Are there ATM machines in Bungoma?
      3) Where can I keep my money safe?

XII. COMMUNICATION/CONTACTS
      1) Is there an email list I can join to learn more about the work in Kenya and
         what issues are currently being discussed?
      2) How often will I be able to contact home via phone or email?
      3) Do you recommend buying a cell phone once in Kenya?
      4) How long does it take to get mail and/or packages to Kenya from North
         America?
      5) What is the direct mailing address for volunteers in Kenya?

XIII. FREE TIME
       1) Will there be any free time?
       2) When will I have free time?
       3) What can you do with your free time?
       4) If I do not want to travel alone (either on a day trip, or for a few days), will
          someone from the farm be willing to go with me?
       5) I am interested in doing some leisure travel, can you help me arrange
          this?
   XIV. MISCELLANEOUS
         1) What type of clothes should I bring?
         2) Will I be able to buy some of the essentials in Bungoma or do I have to
            bring enough for my entire trip?
         3) Should I bring a sleeping bag?
         4) I want to bring a gift for the family. Do you have any suggestions?

   XV. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT KENYA
        1) What will the weather be like when I am there?
        2) Where can I find out more information about Kenya in general?




      I. THE FIRST STEPS
         Return to Table of Contents

   1) I am interested in volunteering. What do I do now?

First, you need to believe that Volunteer Kenya is the right organization for you. Learn
about us: our programs, our goals, and our members. If you want to be certain, go
through the following steps and it will help you to make a decision:

    Read through these FAQs. You will likely find that many (hopefully most) of your
     questions will be answered here.

    Look through the Orientation Packet. It will help you get a feel for Volunteer
     Kenya and for Kenya in general.

    Contact us if you have specific questions (hankselke@volunteerkenya.org).

    Get in touch with someone who‟s been to Kenya before. Feel free to contact any
     of the former or present volunteers directly if you have any specific or sensitive
     questions. The website contains a list of volunteers who are more than willing to
     help you in any way they can (visit the Resource Center and then click on “Past
     Volunteers”).

Now, if you are comfortable with Volunteer Kenya and wish to come to Kenya, continue
with the following steps:

    E-mail us (jenniferklinck@volunteerkenya.org) for details on how to fill in the on-
     line application.

    Ensure that you have the qualifications and/or training required for the
     program(s) you are interested in. Once you decide which program(s) you wish to
     be involved with, we can send you the appropriate documents. You should
       review these before your arrival. We will also put you in touch with the
       Director(s) of the program(s) you are interested in.

    Let us know when you are thinking of coming to Kenya. Then we can ensure
     there is a vacancy on the farm during that time. Once we are sure there will be
     space, you can look into flights, insurance, visa and passport details. Once you
     book a flight, let us know exactly when you are coming so we can make
     arrangements for your arrival.

     II. APPLICATION PROCESS
         Return to table of Contents

   1) How do I apply to be a volunteer and how long is the application process?

If you wish to apply to volunteer with us, email us at hankselke@volunteerkenya.org and
we will give you the user name and password that you need to access the online
application. Fill in the application and submit it online. Our Volunteer Coordinator will
review it and get back to you as soon as possible. This should not take more than a
week or two and likely less. Once your application has been reviewed and accepted,
you will need to follow through on other preparations. The length of time before you will
be able to come to Kenya will be determined by how long these preparations will take.
Make sure you have the necessary training for the program of your choice. Finalize your
flight itinerary. You will have to communicate with us to make sure we have space
available for you during the time you wish to come before you purchase your flight. Make
sure your documents are in order (valid passport, Kenya visa, etc). See a travel doctor
and have all required immunizations. Two weeks before you are scheduled to depart,
you will need to complete the “Personal Details” form (found under the Resource Center
link) concerning your flight details, health issues, emergency contact, and meal
preferences. We will give you the password to access this form online.

    III. VOLUNTEER PROGRAM INFORMATION
         Return to Table of Contents

   1) Do I have to specify a particular program I'm interested in or can I work on
      several programs while in Kenya?

It is possible to work on several of the different programs during your stay in Kenya.
However, we require that you have a focus for your time there. It will help those who are
in Kenya to organize your time and their time if they know your area of focus before you
arrive. Since most people have limited time in Kenya, it is a shame to waste the first
week deciding what you want to do. Your “game plan” will be centered about your
primary program of interest. However, you will always be free to contribute to the other
programs given the circumstances permit this.

   2) I am unsure what program I want to work on. Is that a problem?

Not necessarily. We will work with you to determine where your interests, skills and
energy can be best put to use, and then develop a game plan from there. Read through
the program information on this website and then email us with any questions you have
concerning specific programs. As mentioned above, it is a good idea to know what you
are planning to be involved with before you arrive but it is not 100% essential.
   3) Do I need to have any qualifications and/or training to participate in any of
      the programs?

In some cases, training may be required. Here are details for individual programs:

     The AIDS Education Program requires that volunteers take the Red Cross
     HIV/AIDS Instructor Training Course in their hometown. This is the responsibility of
     the volunteer to arrange and attend. You should also read over the contents of our
     HIV/AIDS presentations and the Empower Peer Education Course before your
     arrival. Email us and we can provide this information. Please note that if the Red
     Cross course is not offered, you may be able to substitute a similar course. To
     locate your local Red Cross, please visit:
     http://www.redcross.org/where/where.html

     To assist at the Bill Selke Memorial Clinic, the requirements are based on your
     level of involvement. Basically, you will be allowed to participate at the level that
     you would in your home country. So if you are a medical student, then you will be
     allowed to do only the same procedures that your school would allow you to do at
     home. If you are a pre-med student, then you can assist in a similar manner than
     that which you do as a volunteer in your local hospital at home.

     The Education Program only requires a love of children and teaching, and a
     desire to help. Previous teaching experience is an asset.

     The Microenterprise Development Program and does not have any specific
     requirements to participate, aside from volunteers being comfortable meeting with
     and speaking to large groups of women in very rural areas. An innovative and
     creative mind along with good problem solving skills is useful.

   4) I have taken a similar course to the Red Cross AIDS Instructor Training. Is
      it possible for this to count?

Maybe. Please contact us and we can discuss the course you completed and compare
the content and training. We will do our best to accommodate you if the courses are
similar.

   5) Will there be other volunteers in Kenya when I go?

Maybe. Since there are volunteers coming and going to Kenya at various times
throughout the year, there is a good chance that other volunteers will be there. The May
to August time period is the busiest, since this is when the students from Universities are
on vacation and go to Kenya. When you have a time period in mind, just let us know and
we‟ll inform you of the other volunteers that will be there at the same time.

   6) Will there be an experienced health professional present at the clinic, or
      will I work on my own?

Local health care professionals staff the clinic so that the services are still available in
the absence of volunteers from abroad.
   7) Is it possible to communicate with patients at the clinic in English?

Many of the people in the village speak English, since English and Swahili are the official
languages of Kenya. However, if the language barrier is ever a problem, one of the
family members from the farm or one of the health-care workers can assist in translation.

   8) Is there any time during the year when placements are not available?

We try to keep the month of March as an “off month” for the family on the farm. They are
responsible for the safety of volunteers and the running of all the programs year-round
and deserve some down time to relax. This means that volunteer placements are not
offered during March.

Keep in mind that placement availability is limited within each program. Hence, during
busier times, when placements are in high demand, there is a possibility that all
placements might be occupied when you apply. We suggest that if you wish to go to
Kenya as a volunteer between May and August that you contact us (at the latest) in
December of the previous year or very early in January.

   9) What is the minimum length of stay required for a volunteer?

Although we do not strictly prohibit shorter stays, we do request that our volunteers are
able to offer at least one month of voluntary services. Things in Kenya happen at a very
different pace than in the Western world. It can take some time for a volunteer to travel
to the farm, settle in, become accustomed to the lifestyle, learn their schedule, and
understand their role. If a volunteer stays for only two weeks, most of their time will be
spent getting settled in and little time will be left during which they can make a
contribution. We want every volunteer to feel that their time in Kenya was put to good
use and that they had adequate time to make an impact. Traveling around the world to
try to “make a difference” is a big commitment and it is important that everyone feel they
accomplished this desire.

   10) Is there a maximum stay for Volunteer Kenya volunteers?

Yes. We allow maximum stays of two months for a volunteer‟s first trip. Volunteer Kenya
does not have external funding and therefore, the running of the programs depends on
the program fees provided by volunteers, as do the salary fees. The extension rates
listed above have been established to help those volunteers who wish to stay a bit
longer, to ease the financial burden. However, these fees are not necessarily enough to
allow the programs to run for long-term stays.

Life in Kenya is difficult and very different from what most of our volunteers have ever
experienced. Kenya is a developing country and most of the people we interact with are
living in extreme poverty. Volunteers will need to adjust to living in conditions that can be
very foreign to them. No running water. No electricity. Lizards, mice, rats, cockroaches,
and even snakes for roommates. This can be a tough change for many people.

A visiting mzungu (non-Kenyan/”white”) can be seen as an opportunity by some. This
means that volunteers are likely to be approached by locals in need of food, money,
staples, etc. and that many people will see them as a chance to get out of Kenya or to
receive support money for themselves, their families, or their “organization”. It can be
difficult to make people understand that not every person from the Western world has an
unlimited supply of money available to them. Coupled with the differences in culture and
the rustic lifestyle, these demands can become trying for volunteers and are
compounded the longer a volunteer is in Kenya.

If a volunteer wishes to return to Kenya for a second trip, as many of our volunteers do,
they are welcome to stay longer than the two month maximum as long as they discuss
this with and get approval by our Executive Director, Reuben Lubanga.


   11) Who will help me organize a game plan prior to my arrival in Kenya?

Your initial correspondence will be with the Volunteer Coordinator and the International
Coordinator. Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, then the Volunteer
Coordinator will put you in touch with the director of the program(s) you want to assist.
You will then work with the specific Director to organize a game plan.


   12) What is a typical day like?

      Wake up between 6-9am
      Go on morning run (or sleep longer)
      Shower
      Have breakfast (bread, butter, jam, peanuts, chai)
      Go to a local school for an AIDS Education presentation, go to the Clinic, or got o
       the school (Epico Jahns) to prepare your teaching plans and start class
      For those participating in EMPOWER or mobile clinics, head out around 9AM
      Eat lunch at the farm, at the school, or eat a picnic lunch that you pack in the
       morning
      Continue your volunteer program activities (school, clinic, AIDS presentations)
      Take tea between 4-6pm when you return home from the day‟s work
      Hang out, chat, relax, write in journal, run, go to the market, etc.
      Eat dinner around 8pm
      Hang out, chat, relax, write in journal, etc.

Obviously, the day‟s events will vary. Events like the launching of a women‟s consortium
can take an entire day and community HIV/AIDS presentations can sometimes extend
throughout a day as well. The EMPOWER Peer Education Program takes about 2.5
hours per session so when a course is underway, this can change the daily schedule.
Participation in the Youth Agriculture Program will also change the daily schedule. There
are times when you will have half or even whole days off and you can choose what you
want to do with your free time.


   13) Will I enjoy every day in Kenya?

Probably not. While you will most likely have the experience of a lifetime, there will
inevitably be days when you will ask yourself "Why did I do this?” Living in a rural African
village can present difficult situations that you have never encountered before. You will
experience the realities of poverty firsthand. There will probably be a few times when
you want to just quit and go back home. However, for all this hard work you will do, you
will have many very rewarding and enriching experiences. A great deal of satisfaction
can be gained from making a positive contribution to the local community through the
development programs. You will most likely leave Kenya with a better understanding of
the human condition.

14) What is the difference between “Volunteer Kenya” and “ICODEI”?

   The above two names represent the same group and work. “ICODEI” (Inter-
   Community Development Involvement) is what the Kenyan community based
   organization has been known as locally since 1998. However, there is no name
   recognition with “ICODEI” internationally (i.e. ICODEI is not descriptive of the work).
   The name “Volunteer Kenya” came about during 2002 as a way to better reflect what
   we do. Hence, “ICODEI” is the local name for our work and “Volunteer Kenya” is the
   name internationally.

    IV. FEE INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS
        Return to Table of Contents

   1) How much are the Volunteer Fees and what do they include?

The Program Fee for one month (per person) is $1,055 USD. This includes program
materials, salaries for Kenyan workers, a 3-day safari in the Masai Mara National
Reserve (optional), pick up and return to Nairobi and airport, accommodations in Nairobi
(not including meals), and Room and Board in Kabula. Not included in this fee are
airplane tickets, but ticket from Nairobi to Bungoma ($8 USD), leisure travel, souvenirs,
and food/drink outside of the home stay. Room & Board does include 3 meals a day, 7
days a week while you are on the farm.


   2) How are these Fees distributed?

Program Fee Distribution (one month): $1,055 USD

               Room & Board:                           $200 USD ($50/week)
               Administrative Fee:                     $25 USD
               Salary Fee for Kenyan Workers:          $300 USD*
               Program Materials:                      $350
               3-day Safari:                           $180 (optional)
               Total:                                  $1,055 USD

*Salary Fee "Group Discount": Volunteers coming in groups of four or more will pay a
salary fee of 200 USD/person instead of 300 USD/per person for the first month.

**Volunteers will pay their own transportation costs from Nairobi to Bungoma. One-way
bus tickets can be purchased for $8 USD, and private taxis can be purchased for $120
USD (but can be split among up to three volunteers traveling together). Once you arrive
in Nairobi James at the Primetime hostel will help you make all your transportation
arrangements.
   3) Are the fees the same for additional months/weeks, if I wish to stay longer?


People wishing to extend their stay past one month may do so at the following rates:

               Extension Room and Board:                     $50 USD/week
               Extension Salary Fee:                         $40 USD/week
               Extension Program Materials Fee:              $60 USD/week
               Total:                                        $150 USD/week



   4) I do not have that much money. Is there any type of discount for long-term
      stays?

Unfortunately, not at this time. The fees have been set as low as they can be to maintain
the programs and to ensure that volunteers are provided with a balanced diet and
accommodations.

   5) Why do I need to pay the salary for the Kenyan workers?

We are a grassroots, community-based organization with no external source of funding.
All of our programs operate on funds raised by volunteers themselves and/or through the
Program Fee. This means that the Kenyan workers do not receive a salary at all when
there are no volunteers on the farm. They work continuously but their workload and level
of responsibility increase drastically when volunteers are present.

   6) Will I give my Volunteer Fees to someone upon arrival in Kenya?

Upon arrival, you will give your salary, administration, and program fees to the
accountant at the clinic (Joseph). Room and Board* fees will be paid directly to Betty,
who takes care of all household issues. All costs for transport and safari are your
responsibility and therefore, management of funds for these are at your discretion.

*Note: Room & Board is paid on a weekly basis or in a lump sum at the beginning of the
week/month. All volunteers who choose to pay weekly will have to pay on the same day
and it must be on or before the day chosen to do the household shopping.


   7) If I do not want to go on a safari, can I deduct this from my Fees?

If you do not desire to go on a safari, you may subtract $180 from the Fees listed in IV/2,
above. These fees are not paid to Volunteer Kenya and so it is your choice. Pick up from
the airport and transport to downtown Nairobi is arranged by our safari company partner
in Nairobi and is a free service if you book a safari with them. However, if you don‟t want
to go on a safari, you will then be required to pay for transportation between the airport
and downtown Nairobi, as well as overnight(s) at a hostel in Nairobi. This will cost
around $30 to $50 USD.

     V. FUNDRAISING INFORMATION
         Return to Table of Contents

   1) Is there any financial support provided for the volunteer’s plane ticket or
      other Fees?

No. Unfortunately, we have no external funding and operate on a shoestring budget.
However, we can assist you if you are interested in fundraising before you travel to
Kenya.

   2) Can I raise money for my trip and have the donations be tax-deductible?

Yes. If you are interested in fundraising for both the programs and your personal travel
expenses, please contact us and we can give you the details. Donations made towards
the programs and flight can be tax deductible whereas donations towards personal
expenses cannot be tax deductible. Volunteer Kenya is registered in the U.S. as a 501c3
public charity.

   3) What has worked for other volunteers for fundraising?

Past volunteers have found that talking to people you know and asking for direct support
has proved successful. If you or your parents are members of any organization (Rotary
Club, Churches, etc.), contact them and see if you can give a presentation about your
trip and solicit funds. You can put together events as well. Many companies are willing to
donate prizes that you can use to entice people to game days or challenges with entry
fees, etc. Please be sure that you are clear where the funds will be used. Some people
will give only to personal travel. Some will give only to the programs. Some do not care
where their donation is used. Be persistent. It will work out.

   4) Do you have a Power Point presentation I could use to solicit funds?

Yes. If this is of interest to you, please contact us so we can give you directions on how
to access this file.

    VI. TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
        Return To Table of Contents

   1) Do you suggest I make my own plane reservations?

Yes. Council Travel (USA), STA Travel (USA) and TravelCuts (Canada and USA) offer
great rates. However, they may have age restrictions on some of their flights.

   2) Who will pick me up at the airport? Where do we go from the airport?

A representative from Primetime Safari (who is the driver) will meet you at the airport.
They will bring you to Primetime Safaris, which is in downtown Nairobi. They have
hostel-style accommodations at this location. For those who will be booking a safari with
Primetime, the trip from the airport to the hostel is free and you get two free nights at the
hostel. Additional nights are 200KShs (about $2.70 USD). If you do not book with
Primetime, the pick-up is $11 USD/800KSh and the beds are 400 KShs. You are
welcome to stay elsewhere if you choose. However, the people at Primetime always
take great care of Volunteer Kenya volunteers, making sure they are safe and providing
information about things they might need in the city. If you choose to stay elsewhere in
Nairobi, you are responsible for all extra transportation expenses and making
arrangements to get back to Primetime‟s hostel.

   3) How will we get from Nairobi to the farm in Kabula?

Once you are at the hostel, there are several options for getting from Nairobi to
Bungoma/Kabula. You can either take the bus, a personal taxi or a large van. The
details of these options are outlined in the Orientation Packet. We recommend that
volunteers use the Easy Coach bus. This is a very safe, reliable, an inexpensive mode of
travel. The majority of volunteers travel from Nairobi to Bungoma through Easy Coach,
which costs around $8 USD and takes 8 hours.

Return options are similar. You can decide which travel option is best for you once you
arrive in Nairobi, with the help of a PrimeTime representative.

   4) Do you have any information about travel insurance?

STA Travel (USA) offers travel insurance. For more information, please call 1-800-543-
3797 or visit their web site (www.statravel.com). In Canada, check with Travel Cuts for
Bon Voyage Insurance (also available in the US). For info, call 1-800-361-3119 or email
bonvoyage@pottruffsmith.com.

   5) I am interested in doing some traveling besides the safari. Do you have any
      information about possible trips and their prices?

Yes. Please contact us with specific questions and we‟ll provide you with details.
Alternatively, you can directly contact our partner safari company in Nairobi:

         Primetime Safaris
         James Kamau
         Contrust House, 9th Floor
         Moi Avenue
         PO Box 56591
         Nairobi, Kenya
         East Africa

         Tel: 254 20 215773
         Fax: 254 20 217136

         www.primetime.co.ke
         E-mail: primesaf@africaonline.co.ke

**Please be sure to notify James or any Primetime representative to whom you speak
that you are coming to Kenya with ICODEI (pronounced “eco-day”)**

   6) What type of visa do I need?

Although it may seem like you would need some type of service or non-tourist visa, the
Kenyan Embassy in DC and the Kenyan High Commission in Ottawa have said that
anyone not earning any money in Kenya need just apply for a Tourist Visa. Please
contact Immigration in Nairobi to confirm this (The Principal Immigration Officer,
Department of Immigration, PO Box 30191, Nairobi: Tel. 254 2 222022). Let us all know
if you receive different advice. Contacts for USA, Canada, and the UK are below.

             Embassy of the Republic of Kenya
             2249 R Street N.W.
             Washington, DC
             20008
             Tel: 202 387 6101
             E-mail: info@kenyaembassy.com

             Kenya High Commission
             415 Laurier Ave. East
             Ottawa, Ontario
             K1N 6R4
             Tel: 613 563 1773/1776/1778
             E-mail: kenrep@on.aibn.com

             Kenya High Commission
             45 Portland Place
             London, England
             United Kingdom
             W1N 4AS
             Tel: 0870 162 0849

A single entry visa for Kenya will allow you to re-enter Kenya from Uganda or Tanzania
without paying any extra fees. If you are planning on traveling to any other countries
while in Africa, with the intent of coming back into Kenya, you should consider getting a
multiple entry visa. US citizens can get 6-month visas for Kenya. However, the entry
stamp needs to be updated after three months. Canadian citizens can only get 3-month
visas so if you are planning to stay longer, you will need to extend your visa (and update
the stamp) in Nairobi or Kisumu. Try Kisumu as they seem to be a little more
accommodating and it is closer to Kabula. Although Visa applications are most often
processed and returned in 7-10 days, it might be a good idea to deal with this sooner
rather than later, just in case there are complications and/or delays of any kind. Send in
your application as soon as you book a flight. However, for those of you planning an
extended trip, keep in mind that the visa is good from date of issue so if you apply a
month before you leave, you will have one less month in Kenya during which your visa
will be valid.

    VII. HOUSING IN KENYA
         Return to Table of Contents

   1) Will I live with community members or in separate housing?

You will live on a large sugar cane farm with Rev. Reuben Lubanga and his extended
family of 50+ members in the rural village of Kabula.

Volunteers stay in the four grass-thatched mud huts which were built in 2003 for the
specific purpose of housing volunteers. Each has two bunk beds and hence, they can
house 16 people in total. The huts are very nice and have a locking door, a cement floor,
glass windows, and a dry roof. Camping on Reuben‟s property is an option for those who
are more adventurous (but the Room & Board fee is still the same). The Orientation
Packet and Photo Album sections on this web site contain a picture of the volunteer
huts. There is also a picture of the huts rotating through on the Home Page.


   2) Will the farm have running water and electricity?

Water is drawn from a well on the farm. It can then be boiled and/or filtered for drinking.
It can also be boiled for showers. There is a power generator on the farm which works
during the evenings from about 7:00pm to midnight. When the sun begins to set, the
generated is turned on, which provide adequate light for eating, playing cards, and
interacting with the kids and/or other volunteers. It is recommended that you bring a
flashlight (the LED headlamps mentioned in the Orientation Packet are a good idea) for
reading (especially in bed) and trips to the latrine.


   3) What are the washrooms like? Are there showers or toilets?

While on the farm, you will have use of an outhouse on Reuben‟s property. There are
three shower stalls and three latrines. All have doors with locks. One of the latrines is a
long drop, which means there is a hole in the floor and you need to practice your aim.
Two of the latrines have actual toilets in them, which is a luxury and not common in
Western Kenya. The shower stalls have a small hole in the ground for drainage but do
not have a showerhead. You can boil some water and mix it in a bucket with cold water
from the well to use for „showering‟. Each volunteer hut is equipped with a plastic pitcher
that you can use to get water from the bucket for washing. When you are in town,
traveling, or on presentations, be prepared for some less-than-ideal washroom set-ups.
Most will be long-drops and many will be very dirty.

   VIII. DRINKING WATER
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   1) Is the water safe to drink?

No. Although most often the locals drink the water without treatment of any kind, it is not
recommended that volunteers do. Having not been previously exposed to the bacteria,
viruses, and parasites that can be found in the water, we are more likely to become ill.

   2) Should I bring a water filter with me? Are there other options for water
      safety?

It is strongly advised that people bring a water filter or purifier with them to Kenya. They
can be used on the farm, as well as when you are traveling throughout other parts of
Kenya. Please pay close attention when buying a filter or purifier, since you will want to
purchase the best equipment possible. Try to find a water purifier as opposed to a water
filter. They usually have filters with smaller pore sizes and the water will not have to be
treated further after purifying. The employees of any store that sells outdoor equipment
will be able to assist you. Another option is treating the water with chlorine or iodine
treatment systems. Boiling is also an option, although must be organized around the
cooking times.
   3) What is the availability and cost of bottled water?

Bottled water can be purchased in Bungoma. A five-litre bottle costs approximately $3
USD. Volunteers who do not have a water filter often just purchase bottled water for
drinking while they are in Kenya.

    IX. DRESS
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   1) Are there cultural restrictions as to what I can wear while in Kenya?

While you are on the farm, you can be somewhat less cautious about the manner in
which you dress. When you are out in the community, we ask that you follow local
etiquette. Due to the local culture, we advise that women wear pants and/or long skirts
when out working in the community. Footwear is anything from hiking boots to open-toed
sandals, basically anything you would wear at home. If you are a female volunteer that
enjoys wearing shorter skirts and shorts, please ask Reuben if the attire is appropriate
for any given situation. However, feel free to bring shorts since there will be plenty of
occasions when this attire is fine. As with any other issue, if you approach it with cultural
sensitivity in mind, you will be fine. Please ask questions when you are not sure what is
and is not appropriate.

     X. SAFETY
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   1) What is the political situation in Kenya right now and do you think it will
      affect any potential trips?

Visit http://travel.state.gov/kenya.html for more information about safety and the current
political situation in Kenya. Please keep in mind that you will be living out in a rural
village where people are very friendly. We are well established in this community (since
'98) and none of the past volunteers have ever encountered any hostility during their
visits.

   2) I am a young female and very concerned about safety, especially since I
      have never traveled to Africa before. Will I be working together with some
      local people?

When you are out in the community working on the programs, you will always be with
someone from the farm where you'll live. After some time in Kenya, you might feel more
comfortable and go out and about on your own. Always use common sense.

    XI. MONEY
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   1) How should I take my money to Kenya?

The ATM‟s in Nairobi and Bungoma are the best way to get money. There is an ATM at
the Nairob airport once volunteers walk outside of the security points. Volunteers should
use the ATM to get some travel money for their trip to Bungoma. Once you arrive on the
farm you can use the ATM‟s in Bungoma. There is a Barclays Bank ATM in Bungoma
that most volunteers use. Traveler‟s checks are also a good way to carry your money.
You can cash the traveler‟s checks at the Barclay‟s Bank in Bungoma or in Nairobi at a
Forex before you travel to the farm. It is also a good idea to carry with you $100 USD to
use in case of an emergency. It is also recommended that you have a VISA or
MasterCard.

   2) Are there ATMs in Bungoma?

Yes. Barclay‟s Bank has one ATM. The machine does go down on occasion but not
usually for very long. If you keep the $100USD (7,000KShs) on hand for emergencies,
you won‟t be terribly inconvenienced if this happens. Past volunteers have never had to
go more than a couple of days without access to an ATM.

   3) Where can I keep my money safe?

Your possessions are generally safe while they are on the farm, so you need not be
paranoid about people stealing your belongings. However, there are a lot of people
coming and going on the farm due to the Public Library, Preschool and Clinic being
located there, so if anything is ever missing, you need to tell Reuben immediately so he
can straighten things out.
Depending on your housing arrangement, there are various options. If you live in one of
the volunteer huts, there will be a lock on the front door. Reuben has some lockable
furniture where you can store valuables. You can purchase small locks in Bungoma for
$2 USD, so there is no need to bring them with you.


    XII. COMMUNICATION/CONTACTS
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   1) How often will I be able to contact home via phone or email?

Email and phone services usually operate daily in Bungoma, which is a seven-mile
(10km) ride from the farm. We also have two cell phones available for volunteer use.
The frequency of calling/emailing is up to the volunteer. However, keep in mind that a
trip to Bungoma just to send an email can take several hours if you are relying on public
transport (i.e. you have to wait to be picked up on the main road; there‟s no set
schedule; you have to wait for the vans to fill completely before they will leave Bungoma
heading towards the farm/Kabula). However, the trip to Bungoma only costs 25 cents
(US). On the return trip you can hire a taxi for $6-7 USD total, which can be worth the
extra money as you won‟t have to sit in Bungoma waiting a long time for the vans to fill
up. There will also be times when many people head into town and can use the 4-wheel
drive truck we own (so long as it is not needed for anything program-related).

   2) Do you recommend buying a cell phone once in Kenya?

It is up to you and depends on how long you will be staying. You can purchase cell
phones in either Nairobi or Bungoma for $50-$100 USD. You do not have to sign a
service agreement. You buy “Scratch Cards” which give you service. Once your minutes
are exhausted, you can buy more cards or you can just receive calls but not place any.
You only use your minutes when you initiate the call. Hence, you can still receive
incoming calls when your minutes run out. Not only is this convenient for communicating
with the people working on the programs, but family and friends from home can call this
cell phone too. Sometimes you have to leave the farm and walk 10 minutes toward the
main road or high ground to get service. You are welcome to buy scratch cards for one
of the two phones already available on the farm and put the minutes into one of these or
give these numbers as your contacts while in Kenya. You will need to have open
communication with the other volunteers so that phone-time does not become an issue.

   3) How long does it take to get mail and/or packages to Kenya from North
      America?

Letters can take from 5-14 days from North America. Packages from the United
States/Canada usually take 2-3 weeks to arrive in Kenya. However, volunteers have had
experiences in which packages never arrived or arrived after several months. It is very
inconsistent. Due to corruption in the postal service, it is not advisable to ship items of
excessive value.

   4) What is the direct mailing address for volunteers in Kenya?

           Name of Volunteer
           c/o Reuben Lubanga
           P.O. Box 459
           Bungoma, Kenya
           East Africa


   XIII. FREE TIME
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   1) Will there be any free time?

Yes. Your schedule will be determined by the amount of work that you want to do while
in Kenya. If you are tired and need a break, just tell Reuben and there won‟t be any
problems.

   2) When will I have free time?

Your schedule is flexible. If you are working on the EMPOWER Peer Education
Program, then you‟ll be working Monday-Saturday. Some weeks there may be program
activities on the weekend, so you can adjust your schedule accordingly during the week.
Taking a break is never an issue. You are there as a volunteer, so it is important that you
are working in the areas of your interests and within your limits. Please keep in mind that
nobody is going to be breathing down your neck saying, "Get to work". You have to be
self-motivated. Most people that go to Kenya to volunteer are there for a reason: to
make a contribution to the community while also gaining rich personal experience and
insight into the human condition. So you are free to take breaks, just let Reuben know a
little in advance.

   3) What can you do with your free time?
You can always travel around to other communities nearby. The Kakamega Rainforest is
only 1.5 hours away. Kisumu, one of the larger cities in Kenya, is only two hours away.
This is where most volunteers go for their souvenirs, since it is a lot cheaper than in
Nairobi. There are also some great hikes close to the farm. When you are not
volunteering, you will probably spend some time in Bungoma running errands (i.e.
sending email, buying chocolate, toilet paper, etc.). Spending time with people on the
farm is a great way to learn more about the culture, the family, and people‟s perspective
on life. Since the farm is off the main road, running on the dirt roads can be a fun activity.
Most of the time you will end up with a bunch of little barefoot kids running with you and
laughing (probably at you!). For those that enjoy beer, there is a small bar near the farm
that welcomes volunteers. Occasionally there will be live music in Bungoma, which
makes for a fun evening.

Most volunteers also take a weekend trip to go white water rafting on the Nile River in
Jinja, Uganda (which is only about 3 hours away from Bungoma). We recommend that
volunteers use Adrift Rafting Company (http://www.surfthesource.com/home.htm).



   4) If I do not want to travel alone (either on a day trip, or for a few days), will
      someone from the farm be willing to go with me?

Yes. However, you will be responsible for all travel costs, including transportation, food
and lodging. Please keep in mind that the family members from the farm enjoy showing
you around, but they lack the financial resources to do so. Basically, if you weren‟t there,
they would not go do this on their own.

   5) If I am interested in doing some leisure travel, can you help me organize
      this?

Yes. As mentioned earlier, we have a partnership with Primetime Safaris in Nairobi.
They give our volunteers a good deal and can arrange safaris as well as other
excursions for you.

   XIV. MISCELLANEOUS
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   1) What type of clothes should I bring?

Please read the Orientation Packet. There you will find a list of the “Necessities.” Let us
know if you have any other questions about clothing.

   2) Will I be able to buy some of the essentials in Bungoma or do I have to
      bring enough for my entire trip?

There are several grocery stores in Bungoma where you can get most anything you
need. If you are brand-loyal, then you might want to bring enough supplies for your
entire trip. Essentials like shampoo, soap, cotton buds, feminine hygiene products,
razors, shaving foam, etc are available. Items such as insect repellent, anti-itch
ointments (such as Benadryl or Calamine) and medications would be better to bring from
home.
   3) Should I take a sleeping bag?

Sleeping bags are a great item to take with you. If you prefer it to a blanket and sheet,
you can use it for bedding in your home on the farm. You can also take it with you during
your leisure travels. It is a good idea to also take a sheet because there will be times
when your sleeping bag will be too hot.


   XV. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT KENYA
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   1) What will the weather be like when I am there?

Please visit the following site for more information about the weather in Kenya:
http://www.weatherunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=Kenya

   2) Where can I find out more information about the programs and Kenya in
      general?

Please make sure to visit the “Resource Center” and then click on the “Orientation
Packet” link. This has 20+ pages of specific information related to our work. For specific
information about the Western Province of Kenya try this website:
http://www.kenyaweb.com/regions/western/vihiga/western.html

				
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