My Favorite Memory: Besides getting to play with the children and work alongside the orphanage staff everyday, my favorite memory occurred when I was on a Matatu on the way to Thika with one of the orphanage workers. I was practicing my numbers in Kikuyu, the tribal language, trying to say the cost of the ride. Three older women in the back row were so excited that I was learning their language they started to talk to me. With some help, I was able to speak with them. Before they got off they said that I was their son and invited us to their homes.
The most difficult thing I experienced was…. Finding a way to feel helpful and productive for the first few days.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Learn the tribal language: I got a great reception when I tried to greet people in Kikuyu.
Personal Items: Bring a dust mask and work gloves for doing manual labor.
Donations: Bring small gifts for people that you meet. Oftentimes Kenyans will give gifts, although they have very little. It is great to have something to give back. I brought matchbox cars for small children and I also recommend bringing something that represents your home country (like stickers or small flags…etc)
Sightseeing: Masai mara definitely lives up to the hype.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA, and in-country? I started the process very late and without Sarah’s help I would not have been able to volunteer this summer, so I am very grateful. The workers at the orphanage were some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life.
How would you rate and describe your accommodation ( ie: on-site, shared housing etc) We lived in an on-site dormitory. It was basic, but it worked.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Definitely. jreplinger[at]gmail.com
Jack Volunteer Abroad in Makuyu, Kenya
Volunteer Name: Jack Replinger
Project Location: Makuyu, Kenya
Program Dates: June 20 – July 12, 2011
Volunteered At: Orphanage/Sport project
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