How far in advance do I have to apply?
We suggest 3-4 months in advance as a comfortable lead-time for planning purposes.
Do I need to be fluent in English or know the local language ?
It is useful to speak English because the majority of Kenyans speak English. Although it is not essential to learn the native languages, it would be useful to know some basic words like hello and thank you. The local people will want to teach you their language while they also greatly appreciate practicing their English with you.
English is considered the official language, while Kiswahili is the national and official language. Kenyan local schools are taught in English and so the majority of the people will speak English, Kiswahili and their native language. In Naro Moru, many people speak Kikuyu because this is the predominant tribe in the Naro Moru area.
What is the food like in Kenya?
Kenyan people rely on a simple, largely vegetarian diet. The staple food is Ugali (dough) or Uji (porridge), which is cornmeal with water and either maize or millet flour cooked to a consistency like thick mashed potatoes. Ugali is eaten with stew of beans or green vegetables, beans, rice, potatoes, chapatis (tortillas) and green vegetables (e.g., kale) are also important to the African diet. Sometimes, meat from goats, lamb, fish, chicken, or cows is included. Fresh fruit (e.g., banana, watermelon, pineapple, avocado, papaya and mango -- depending on the season) are abundant as well.
Is it safe to drink local water?
It is generally recommended that you drink bottled water during your travels but while at the volunteer location you can drink well treated water or boil your drinking water.
What is the weather and climate like in Kenya?
While Kenya falls within the tropics, climate and temperature vary depending on the altitude and proximity to the ocean and lake regions. Coastal and lake regions are hot and humid while the central plateaus are warm and dry, with cool nights. The weather is always fluctuating so it can be difficult to predict!
Will there be any inconveniences ?
Everything takes longer in East Africa than it does in the United States or the developed world. It is part of the charm of the culture. The bank and post office takes a couple minutes in the US while in East Africa it can take up to an hour to do a transaction. People take time out to be social and say hello to everyone and people are rarely in a rush. Things often do not run as smoothly in East Africa and flat tires are common. “Hakuna matata” “No problems” or “Hakuna haraka” “ no rush” is a common saying in East Africa. So please be patient and open-minded.
What type of clothing do I need to bring?
There are no special items that you need to purchase for your trip. Casual clothing is the most appropriate. Dress in light, informal and practical clothes. Washable cotton clothes in neutral colors are best. A light jacket and warm sweater are recommended for early mornings and evening as well as in the higher altitudes. Pack a good pair of walking shoes. Also recommended for women is to bring a casual skirt, and men casual slacks to wear while visiting villages and walking in town.
Dress code varies from area to area. It is good to follow local etiquette while in the community. Female volunteers need to wear pants and/or long skirts. However, approach your dress attire with cultural sensitivity in mind. Please ask if you are not sure what is not appropriate.
How are the roads?
Roads in East Africa are bumpy and dusty. The distance it would take to travel an hour in the developed country will take about 3 hours in East Africa. Get your seat ready for a bumpy ride!
Best times to volunteer in schools?
School holidays in Kenya run during the months of April, August, and December to early January. During the holidays and vacation periods there will be no volunteer projects in the schools.
How do I get to the project?
The volunteers will be met at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by one of the staff members. Depending on the arrival time, you will get transferred to our arranged accommodation in Naro Moru for an overnight stay or go straight to the project location in Naro Moru village, Mt Kenya area.
What is the minimum age to volunteer ?
The minimum limit is 18 years old. Anyone below the age of 18 years old must be accompanied by a guardian or a parent.
Do I need special skills or qualifications to volunteer?
There no special skills or qualifications needed for the volunteer work. What is needed is patience, interest, enthusiasm, creativity, a good sense of humor and commitment.
Are there extra expenses once I arrive?
You will need to have additional money for bottled water, snacks for days off, departure from the program, airport departure tax, and any personal shopping you may do. Short excursions or outing will be available on weekends.
How many hours am I expected to work each day?
Volunteers will be required to work between 4 and 6 hours per day, 5 days a week. Weekends and school holidays are free time.
Are tours Available?
Safaris, short excursions and mountain expeditions are a popular activity for many volunteers. Our partner organization, African Wilderness Safaris (www. Africanwildernesssafaris.com), will be able to help you organize safari packages or mountain trek expeditions at competitive and special rates.
Will I have access to email or telephones?
E-mail access is not available in Naro Moru village. However, you will be able to find an internet cafe in Nanyuki town which is to 30 minutes to 45 minutes away. Access to telephone services will be available within the project vicinity.
Who will oversee my program and the volunteer project?
There will be a local coordinator and this is the person who will be coordinating communication and activities between you and the host community project .
Do I need a visa and how do I get a visa?
All visitors must have a valid passport to travel to Kenya. Your passport must be valid through the time that you leave East Africa. Visas are also required. You may want to contact the Kenya Embassy to get information about the process and costs of the visas. You can also obtain your visa at Nairobi Airport.
What immunizations do I need to travel to East Africa?
Vaccine requirements vary dramatically at various times in all countries. At the present time there are no inoculations required for Kenya however there are many vaccinations that are recommended. We recommend that you consult your physician for specific requirements.
From what we understand the vaccines recommended include:
• Inactive Polio Vaccine
• Yellow Fever
• Hepatitis A -- you need 2 shots that are 3 months apart
• Hepatitis B -- a series of 3 shots over 6 months
Accommodations are at a pleasant Youth Hostel with beautiful grounds located near the various projects. The Youth Hostel provides a comfortable and safe place where international volunteers can stay. Occasionally there is also a very clean home that is available for smaller work groups. There is electricity and hot water. It is also in a quiet and beautiful place!