Airport Transfers and Orientation
Upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (airport code: NBO) in Nairobi, you will proceed through immigration and customs officials. One of our representatives will be waiting for you outside the arrivals hall. Look for a sign with your name on it. Our representative will accompany you to the orphanage the same day if you arrive before 5:00 PM. If you arrive after 5:00 PM, we organize for volunteers to stay in a hotel in Nairobi, and proceed to the orphanage the next day. We are able to assist with arranging accommodation.
If you are arriving via other transportation (such as train) please contact us so we can make the necessary arrangements to meet with you.
Upon arrival at the orphanage, we offer orientation which include meeting kids at the orphanage, a tour of the local area, discussion of the volunteer role, recent changes and current plans/developments at the orphanage, etc.
On departure, volunteer will be accompanied by African Orphanage representative to the airport.
Health, Insurance and Vaccination
It is recommended you have travellers’ health insurance when you leave your country. We suggest purchasing on-line www.TripTithe.com
On the orphanage compound, we have a well where we get our drinking and bathing water which is clean and free of diseases, so it is safe for all to drink. Most of our food is vegetarian, cooked from crops we grow on our own land. No volunteer has gotten ill from eating or drinking any of the compound’s supplies. However, in case of illness or any emergency, we have contact of a local doctor who has a clinic at mithini.
Medicines are readily available at pharmacies in Thika however it is advisable that volunteers bring their own first aid kit, and any prescribed medication. Basic medication such as paracetamol and for upset stomachs is available, as are basics such as bandaids, cotton buds and wipes.
Yellow Fever is absolutely required to enter Kenya and you may be required to show prove at the airport. Also, the following are recommended vaccinations;
Volunteers will also require anti-malaria pills.
What We Expect of Volunteers
Your Role as a Volunteer
As a volunteer, we encourage you to actively participate in the daily activities of the orphanage such as caring for children, cleaning, teaching, cooking, washing clothes/bedding, fieldwork, construction, watering the vegetable garden, collecting firewood, hauling water, feeding animals, preparing food, etc. We also encourage you to utilise the skills you have to assist in improving the lives of the children and workers.
It is important for volunteers to understand that the culture in Kenya may be quite different to what they may be accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Kenyan people are very friendly and social people. While we will endeavour to maintain a daily routine, volunteers should understand that things move slowly in Africa (and indeed even at the orphanage). Relax and enjoy the slow pace. Remember that life here is not as organized and predictable as life in developed world. Although work can be very busy and active, at other times work is determined by number of factors including weather, availability of resources, whether a relevant contact has turned up, cultural activities etc.
Access to Facilities
The orphanage is solar powered with inverter, so you are able to charge electrical items, such as phones, laptop, cameras, rechargeable batteries etc. At nearby shops, you are able to purchase basic supplies. For other facilities and a larger range of supplies, Thika is a short distance away (1 hour by matatu). In Thika, volunteers will be able to access the post office, banks and ATMs (including a Barclays), and a Western Union to change money. Also, there are large supermarkets where you can purchase most supplies, such as shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, various food items, and moisturisers.
Mobile phones in Kenya are GSM and there is excellent reception available in the local area. If you bring a mobile phone from your home country or an international phone, provided you are permitted by your service provider, GSM-enabled phones will work on this network. Also, it is possible to purchase simcards for a GSM mobile phone when you arrive in Kenya, or even purchase a mobile phone relatively easily. Also, you can access internet on your phone while at the orphanage.
What Volunteers Can Expect
Prior to your Arrival
Prior to departing your home country, representatives of African Orphanage will be available on email and via phone (if you prefer) to discuss your placement at the orphanage.
Once you have been selected to join African Orphanage community, you are sent an official acceptance letter, which gives you a go-ahead to book the flight that brings you to this part of Africa!
During your Stay
There are staff members at the orphanage to support and assist you. They assist with caring for the children, administration and managing the day to day activities of the orphanage. They are available to answer questions, act as a local guide and ensure that you settle into the orphanage and way of life.
Volunteers can also expect regular visits from a representative of the African Orphanage. This representative will be able to bring any supplies you require, provide information, support and assistant if you require. Also to resolve any issues that may occur. This representative will be available via phone and email at any time during your stay.
We will provide you with work that is suitable for your level of ability, experience and meets your interests.
After Your Stay
African Orphanage like to remain in contact with all past volunteers and we expect you to spread news about us to your community. We often send updates from the orphanage and the progress of children to past volunteers. Often, we receive volunteers recommended by our former volunteers with some even making return visits.
What To Bring
Below is a list of recommended supplies to have with you during your experience with African Orphanage, as suggested by past volunteers. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list but rather should give you an idea of some of the essentials as well as items that will make your stay more comfortable.
Also note that most of these items can be purchased with ease in the local town.
- First aid kit
- Camera batteries (rechargeable)
- Flashlight/torch (rechargeable)
- Bed-sheets & mosquito net
- International adaptor
- Umbrella /poncho / raincoat (dependent on when you are visiting)
- Durable Water Bottle (such as a Nalgene bottle)
For the Orphanage
If possible, we would love for you to bring some supplies for the kids! Anything that you can bring would be greatly appreciated but below is a guide! Many of these items are cheap to purchase and would be loved by the children.
- Clothing, mixed dresses, shirts, shorts for boys & girls, sweaters ages 4 – 14 years)
- School children backpacks
- Black shoes for school (boys & girls, ages 4 – 14 years)
- Toothpastes & toothbrushes
- Medical supplies (common ailment)
- Stationeries & school supplies.