Volunteering in Kenya. How to help vulnerable children on a remote island on Lake Victoria?

As you know, I think that volunteering is one of the best ways to get to know the local culture and also contribute to making the world a better place. Personally I volunteered in Russia, the USA and Thailand but haven’t volunteered in Africa yet – it’s still on my list. Today I invited Murat from Turkey to share his experience with volunteering in Kenya.

Murat is volunteering in a program which is helping vulnerable children on Mfangano Island on Lake Victoria. The purpose is to make the level of life better for local community.

Interested? Here’s what Murat has to say 🙂

Volunteering in Kenya on Mfangano Island

I decided to be a volunteer abroad because I wanted to see other parts of the world. I love interacting with people, getting to know about their culture, food, history, everything. That is why I wanted to volunteer.

I found the organisation for volunteering in Kenya by an online portal called workaway. When I wanted to do volunteering in Kenya, I needed to find a place suitable for my expectations. Everybody has some kind of criteria when they search for their next host.

I mostly look for a place that has a community cause. More than something personal. In some countries you have to reconcile due to lack of many hosts there. But it is not a bad thing. This way you can learn new experiences.

Application process

Unfortunately, it happens that application process takes quite long and I don’t know why. Sometimes you notice that people read your mail but they do not respond to it.

This makes volunteering harder.

You just want to have a positive response and get your backpack ready. Sometimes hosts respond so late that you might have finished two volunteering opportunities in two different countries. I wish all hosts and host candidates read this article and get something from it.

Dorota: luckily, it’s not always a case, I haven’t had such bad experiences, don’t get discouraged guys! Check the below article for practical tips on organizing a volunteering trip.

How To Volunteer Abroad? Step By Step Guide To Organizing An Adventure Of A Lifetime.

I and other volunteers are helping one of NGOs in Kenya on Mfangano Island – St.Linus Catholic Parish and its heavenly Reverend Cavin O. Obeto. He has started a feeding program to 50 vulnerable children to enable them to have universal life standard.

As volunteers in Kenya we have a mission to accomplish. That is to establish health facilities offering health services to the entire Mfangano Island.

Therefore, Mfangano Island is expecting any kind of help, from donating to volunteering in many areas such as childcare, teaching, farm stay, organic gardening, doctors and nursing skills throughout the year. We welcome every race from different backgrounds and religions to work with us and change the lives of the children.

Volunteering in Kenya: Daily tasks

While volunteering in Kenya I am doing a variety of things from cooking for children to exchange of culture and from teaching how to take pictures to painting.

I wake up at 7.00 and after a breakfast with other volunteers we go to make porridge for kids. We do the dishes. Then, we start preparing lunch for volunteers and host family. We have lunch together. Later we do computer work like updating their website, shooting videos to promote the organisation. We even help them fund raise. If we have places which need to be painted, we paint them. We finish the day with cleaning and preparing dinner.

I enjoy volunteering in Kenya and being a part of an organisation which has a public cause such as taking care of orphans. The experience I have truly met my expectations.

Currently, I am not a paid volunteer. It is an exchange of work for food and place to sleep. To be fair, they have been offering quite good conditions compared to native people. I have running water, I have a kitchen and a stove to cook, ingredients and most of all nice atmosphere. And for me it is enough. I am not seeking more than that. I enjoy what I am doing.

Volunteering in Kenya: Overall impressions

Kenya is a quite different country.

People are very outgoing, positive and cheerful despite the fact that most people have a challenging life. To be honest, I was expecting to see a more advanced country but I understood that there is a big gap between regions when I reached Mfangano Island.

One of the most shocking things I have experienced there is that even young people do not know what McDonald’s is. Every foreigner talks about going to safari but it is not that easy. It is already one of the most expensive activities a person might have.

I am happy that I have made it here and that I can be at service of these great people. I wish I could do more for them. It would be great to have a helping hand from the folks outside of Kenya. It is not easy to mobilize people for a good cause. You need to make them truly believe it.

My name is Murat Cehreli. I am from Istanbul, I have been out of my country for almost for two years. I love travelling; making something meaningful in life. Because I believe that we all are have a kind of responsibility to do something good for others.

I hope you enjoyed reading Murat’s story 🙂 If you’re interested in reading other guest articles on volunteering, check the below:

And if you liked this post, tell me in the comments below or please use the buttons below and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+! Thanks! 🙂

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