How exactly could anyone ever describe life in Kenya?
Each day is comprised of new adventures, new experiences, new struggles and new beauty. A day of life in Kenya is like seeing the world through a child's eyes - where everything seems to spark intrigue and wonder.
Below we've summed up what we believe are some of the most important aspects of life in Kenya, and what you might expect on your own adventure.
Life in Kenya
Kenya is a natural wonder, bursting with wildlife, culture and history. If you are a savvy traveler and enjoy adventure, you can access some of the world's greatest wildlife parks, climb the highest mountain peaks, explore ancient Swahili cities hemmed by the Indian Ocean, swim with vibrant coral reefs, discover deep cultural heritage and much more.
Often the beauty of Kenya is burdened by the plight of life. Malaria, cholera and HIV remain primary sources of concern. Along with challenges in medicine and health - unemployment, crime and extreme poverty continue to be strains on the country.
Friends Vision has three program locations outside of Nairobi - Naivasha (101km from Nairobi), Thika (48.4km from Nairobi) and Machakos (62.8km from Nairobi).
Volunteers are encouraged to take either short breaks during their volunteer time, or before and/or after their volunteer stay. Volunteering can be quite demanding and taking a break to travel can be a welcomed reward. Using your spare time to appreciate the national wonders of this country can spark renewed energy, as well as a renewed desire to help the people of this beautiful country. Some of our volunteer placement locations are in close proximity to some of Kenya's most beloved National Parks.
All our volunteer placements are nearby shopping centers, banks and public transportion depots.
The primary industry in Naivasha is agriculture. Much of the world’s tea, coffee and flowers come from the incredibly rich land that rests within the Great Rift Valley. Along the lake, you can find many camps with restaurants overflowing with backpackers and volunteers. Naivasha is one of the premier tourist destinations for backpackers and over landers looking to see the great sights of Kenya. Among the places to explore are Longonot National Park, Mount Longonot, Hell’s Gate National Park and Lake Naivasha.
The primary industry in Thika is textiles. This area of Kenya also happens to be famous for being the prime pineapple-growing region in Kenya. The town center of Thika is vibrant and offers ample access to popular shops, restaurants and transportation. Thika is the home to Chania and Thika Falls. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is nearby and is a short distance from “Fourteen Falls,” a landscape of waterfalls, where you can take a boat ride across the water to gaze next to the great, thundering sounds of the waterfalls.
The town of Machakos is a major rural center, to the south of Nairobi. Life in Machakos is a bit more slow paced and laid back in lifestyle. Access to open air markets is available for finding just what you need. Machakos is located just off of Mombasa Road, the road that leads directly to Mombasa and the Indian Ocean. The land here is lush with rolling hill landscapes and is a perfect destination for hiking.
It is expected that Friends Vision volunteers work a minimum of 5 hours a day / 5 days a week, from Monday to Friday. Volunteers will have the weekends to explore the many wonders of Kenya. Volunteers are always allowed to dedicate more hours to their work placement beyond the required minimum. Also, volunteers who have an interest in facilitating small projects (pre-approved by Friends Vision) are allowed to use their free time to make their even greater impact.
Safety in Kenya
The government in Kenya is based on a democratic electoral system. In recent history, in 2007, following the presidential election, political unrest was prevalent while violence and crime had increased significantly. Since that time, Kenya has regained strength and composure and most of Kenyan lifestyle has returned to normal. However, travel advisories do recommend that visitors are cautious while in Kenya, and some even state to avoid non-essential travel. Always check with your countries travel advisories before traveling to any country.
Avoid rallies and demonstrations. Be aware. Travel sensibly. Be cautious of your surroundings and belongings, especially while you are outside of your volunteer accommodation or volunteer placement. The volunteer accommodations and placement have been carefully chosen to ensure safety and security. While we have done all that we can to place volunteers in safe environments, as in any situation either home or abroad, there is no way to guarantee complete safety.
Climate in Kenya
Kenya is generally tropical in climate; however, central Kenya remains temperate and northern Kenya is typically very dry. Between July and August, it can be quite cool at night in Nairobi. Meanwhile, between February and March, the temperatures can be extraordinarily hot. Annual temperatures range between 10 degrees and 35 degrees celsius. The long rains begin in April and last until June, while the short rains begin in October and last until December. The famous wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara runs from July through to mid-October, which is a sight not to be missed.
|December 2018 Update|
|We have had another big year here at Friends Vision and although we’ve had some setbacks, we’ve also had many reasons to celebrate. In particular, we are always inspired by the many achievements of the children and young people we support. With increasing costs and floods wiping out most of our crops, we also need to continue to fundraise so read on to see what we have planned.|
|March 2018 Update|
|It continues to be an interesting, challenging, rewarding and evolving journey for us as we move into our eighth year. While it’s been around two years since my last update (so sorry), the wheels have still been turning over as we venture into new territory this year. Our focus on sustainability is in full force with some exciting new partnerships; we have gained tax deductibility status in Australia; welcomed new staff members and new children and had the first of our young adults finishing High School and beginning our transition program.|
|2015 News Update|
|All in all it has been a busy, exciting and challenging year for us at Friends Vision as we slowly move through some changes that have taken place within our organisation. Throughout the year we have welcomed new staff, gained our Kenyan NGO status, began our farming project and started to move towards a more sustainable future.|
|Our Directors Interview|
|Read Director Jannah Curries interview with magazine Essential Child to find out more on the journey of Friends Vision.|