My trip to Kenya was different as the mission I went for was unique and very meaningful to me. I went on a volunteering trip where I have stayed for like two weeks. I thought this period was quite enough or maybe long but honestly it went so fast and if I redo it, I would definitely stay more than that. The country is quite big comparing to other African countries and there are lot of activities to do such as Safari, mount climbing, swimming and Volunteering which is very common due to the existing local and international volunteering organizations and the increasing number of volunteers who come every year.
Is a well-known area -in Nairobi the capital of Kenya- for volunteers since it’s considered one of the largest slums in Kenya and the second in Africa after Khayeltisha, Cape Town in South Africa that comes on top of the biggest slums in Africa. Kenya has a lot of slums such as Mathare, Korogocho, Kiambiu, Kawangware.
Labelling Kibera as the biggest slum in Kenya could be just a slogan used by media, NGO’s and politicians. The estimated size population as per many sources are 200,000 persons whereas figures shared by NGO’s declare that the range of size population is between 300,000 to 1,000,000. Anyways, the figures could vary based on the statistics and methods used to collect data. Yet, we cannot deny the fact that this place or any other slum in that country are the opposite image of the world, an example of day to day struggle to get just the basics of life needs, people there just ask for water, electricity, infrastructure, education and job. Kenya has faced attention from news outlets, NGOs, the UN and celebrities from across the world, but still remains overwhelmingly underdeveloped despite many rehabilitation efforts. Still the basic needs are not met and the governments along years have failed to solve the issues of Kibera and the other slums in Kenya.
As I said earlier, my purpose was volunteering, I applied on a program for women empowerment where I got the chance to meet with outstanding and gorgeous ladies who work every day and make their income despite all the challenges, the poor conditions such poverty, lack of education, infrastructure, and the poor hygiene which is very common due to unclean water. I was based in Kitengela, a very rural area not in the city where I had to take a Taxi if I want to go directly or multiple public transportation which is the MATATU there to explore more the city and save money at the same time.
Getting informed in advance in Kenya is very important. Knowing the basics for day to day communication is essential and will help in saving time and money and avoid from being victim of fraud. Getting acquainted with the fares for a taxi, Matatu or a bike will help to make decision when you want to go somewhere. Knowing the DO’S and DON’TS of what to eat, what to wear or where to go is helpful too.
Kenya is a great experience to make specially if you are looking to explore a different culture, observe what people face every day to make their own lives and just get the basics not even luxury stuff. It’s ideal for those who want to make their own resolution about life, to understand that life is not just fancy cars, villas and luxurious life but also about suffer, hunger and people in need. And yes, if you love life of service and helping people, then definitely it’s the right place.
A TWO day on Safari in Masai Mara
Who can come to Kenya and don’t do Safari?!! It’s one of the most amazing experiences you can have in Africa specially if you consider going in the period of June/July to November/December where more than 1.5 million animals mostly wildebeest, and Zebras arrive in the Masai Mara as part of their annual Great Migration from Tanzania ( the plains of the Serengeti) to Kenya ( in Masai Mara). I have got the chance to see the big five: Lion, Leopard, African buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros plus to giraffes ,gazelles, hyenas, cheetahs, baboons and the park’s rivers which are home to hippos and crocodiles, while birders can look for more than 450 avian species.
What to wear on Safari?
Plenty of articles discussing that topic are available on internet already, however I would say, wear what you feel comfortable in. I prefer earthy colors just to get in the mood. Some would recommend wearing nude colors in order to be invisible by animals which I’m not fully agree with because you are already in a 4*4, well secured and in safe plus you are hundred meters afar. If you want to upload a new pic on Instagram, then you can choose whatever you like but keep the wild or casual look just to keep the harmony in your pic. Don’t forget to bring your hat or sunglasses, enough water to keep you hydrated during the day, binoculars and a good camera to capture unforgettable memories.
Maasai Mara people
The Maasai mara tribes are primitive people who keep their traditions, they wear blankets in form of dresses just to cover their bodies. The colors of blankets say which tribe he/she is from. Their physical features are different; They have long ears, they are very skinny, they eat meat and drink milk mixed with blood, they live in very small houses built by women. Building a house can take 2 months and can stay up to 9 years, then they move to another place and so on. The houses are very tiny where the parents and children live together.
The responsibility of men is mainly to protect the land and animals from thieves or other big animals.
Polygamy is very common and there is no limit with number of wives a man can marry. The women work a lot as all women in Kenya, yet she is discriminated in personal life and in jobs too.
Maasai morans are the young generation, their hair color is different, it’s more of orange, they are aggressive. They leave their villages in early age looking for maturity, they seek manhood which is proved by fighting and killing a big animal. That’s the only proof to prove to his village that he is a real man. Later, he comes back to the village to do what his fellows do.
What can you do on your trip?
You will have many activities to do in Kenya such as Safari as I’ve shared earlier but also you can have
Safari in Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National Park, the second park after Maasai Mara in Kenya.
Visit the elephant’s orphanages & giraffe center
Go on a day trip and enjoy the flamingoes at lake Nakuru in Naivasha
Chill at Mombasa and enjoy Diani beach
Go on a hiking trip in
Looking for some adventure, you can do zip lining
Go on Tea & coffee tours to Kiambethu farms in Limuru
Do’s & Don’ts
DO Enjoy your time and be open to discover new cultures 😊
DO greet people and study couple of Kenyan and Swahili words, people will appreciate that a lot
DO try a bucket shower for once!
DON’T make random sex, HIV is common and it’s very risky ☹
DON’T drink unsealed bottles of water
DO Try Chapati, cooked cabbage, tropical fruits like pineapple and mangoes, avocado. No for Ugali :0
DO take medicine, if you are allergic, don’t forget your anti mosquitoes spray.
DO dress up properly and hide your money in a safe place.
DON’T take pictures without permission, people are very sensitive to that.