Our medical volunteers spend full days at these hospitals and are able to get involved in various departments and gain much experience under the supervision of a local qualified health professional. Opportunities for involvement include laboratory, physiotherapy, maternity, pediatric and child-care unit, comprehensive care clinic (HIV & TB patients), counseling, orthopedics, administration, outpatient care, pharmacy and x-ray.
There are a host of opportunities to gain medical experience, learn from health professionals, and the exposure to medical care in an African country is certainly an eye-opener.
Medical Outreach: Home based care in Kawaida Village:
This initiative is run by a local community health worker and six untrained community field workers. This initiative aims to act as the middle man between the public health centers and destitute and vulnerable who often do not have access to proper medical care. The community based initiatives offers services in:
- Home based care
- Dressing of wounds
- HIV care and counseling (VCT)
- Treating of sand infestation
- Community awareness
- Training of staff.
One of this programs most obvious attributes is its ability to expose participants to a diverse array of health care issue while remaining within the boundaries of a small African village. Volunteers get the opportunity to treat patients who are afflicted with Chiggers, TB, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Cancer, and Elephantitis, while also witnessing the community’s culture, economy, and ultimately the major limitations of its health care system. The challenges presented by the lack of resources encourage experienced health care professionals to be creative in how they treat their patients. It is clear that the medical knowledge volunteers bring to Kawaida is desperately needed and appreciated within the local community.
This hospital is particularly well-known for its specialized eye unit. It has a variety of departments and wards that volunteers can get involved in, such as the maternity ward, orthopedics, the HIV and diabetic clinic, theatre/surgery, nursing and emergency care. Kikuyu Hospital also has an outreach program, in which health professionals and volunteers go into rural areas to give the needed medical care to communities that do not have accessible health care facilities. Your medical background will determine your placement at the various hospitals or community outreach. If you have no medical background at all, you will be placed at one of the orphanages or pre-schools on the mornings dedicated to Hospital work; other than this, the volunteer duties and work will be the same.
Orphanages/Pre-schools in Limuru:
There are over a million orphans in Kenya mainly due to AIDS, of which only 5 % get any kind of support. There is a huge need for assisting orphanages and children's homes. There are several orphanages in Limuru that we are involved with. These children come from backgrounds that have been affected by HIV/AIDS, abuse, poverty or illness. These children are in need of love and attention. Many of them are developmentally delayed and need extra attention in order to promote their development. The children's ages range mainly between 4 and 15 years. The orphanages offer opportunities to become involved in:
- Helping with the teaching of the children, and general care such as cooking for the children's meals or organising sports and play activities to promote the well being of the children.
- Building/improving the facilities to make it feel more like home for the children: by painting pictures on the walls etc. Some of the orphanages we partner with are building to expand and improve their facilities. Your pair of hands will be greatly appreciated in this practical work. The kids are very energetic and will gladly challenge you to a game of basketball or soccer. You will have a chance to make a huge impact on these children's lives by spending time with them, and contributing to their learning and development.
Mukuru and Kyangombe Slums - Educational and Community Support, Nairobi:
Every year many lives are lost in Kenya due to HIV/AIDS related illnesses and even more to water-borne diseases. 85% of these deaths occur in the slum areas. This is due to unemployment and poor housing and drainage systems. Slums in Kenya are shanty houses built using torn cartons, recycled wood or even worn out iron sheets. The houses are single rooms of about 2 square meters.
Each room houses a family, consisting of anything from a young mother with 2 children, to a family of 9 children. The slums are heavily populated with a single pit latrine serving over 20 families. Those who stay in these slums are generally unemployed. Challenged by the problem of the increase in child mortality and the decline in maternal health and coupled with the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS-related complications, a local clinic has been created with the goal of playing a part in helping to provide health solutions to a slum population of around 62 000 people.
Volunteers would have the opportunity of helping this local clinic situated on the outskirts of these slums. The clinic provides services such as maternal & child health care, family health care, curative health care, primary health care, voluntary counseling and testing, training in health and HIV/AIDS awareness.
- Gain medical experience under the supervision of qualified doctors and nurses. Please note this is only applicable to those due to study or currently studying medicine or qualified in a medical field suited to the Hospitals needs and requirements.
- Assist in various orphanages in Limuru, by helping with improving or enhancing the actual facilities as well as becoming involved in teaching and caring for the children
- Get a glimpse of life in the slums of Nairobi and have the opportunity to make a difference in a poor and desperate community
- Get a taste of the Kenyan culture; learn a bit of Swahili!
- Make friends for life
- A great platform to experience some of the finest safari destinations on the continent.
For the past two years our volunteers contributed over 21531 hours to community development on our volunteer projects in Kenya. Our project structures, together with the support and advice of our charitable foundation team at The Happy Africa Foundation, are continuously assessing our work and project strategies to ensure that these hours are meaningful with measurable outcomes.
For the same period, we have painted the new baby centre and fence at the Limuru Childrens Centre. We have also painted the walls at the Nest Orphanage, as well as assisted with teaching, feeding, ironing and doing arts/crafts with the children at the orphanage. Our volunteers have been involved in the Orthopedic Department of the KiKuyu Hospital as well as getting involved in the HIV Clinic and its outreach program. We have also assisted in upgrading the School in Kyangombe Slum by brightening up the classrooms with blackboards, desks and providing learning materials such as posters, pencils and books. We have recently joined up with a few more health centres in the area where our medical volunteers are making a great impact.
Optional activities and excursions:
Travel Highlights: Safari and Travel Options. Kenya offers a variety of safari options, not far from its bustling capital, Nairobi, perfect for a weekend ‘get-away’ during or after your placement. Our office in Kenya is able to put together a number of different 3-4 day safaris into the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park and Aberdare National Park, as well as trips to the Kenyan Coast, Nairobi’s Elephant and Giraffe Sanctuaries, and much more!
Where will I sleep?
You will be staying at the Brackenhurst Baptist International Centre, where 2 x 2-bedroomed cottages are kept for our volunteers. Brackenhurst provides secure accommodation with everything that you will need. Internet and phone services are readily available. You will be sharing a room with other volunteers (maximum of four in one room). Your room is fully furnished. A cook will be provided to cook for you in the kitchen of one of the cottages. Included are laundry and house keeping services on a regular basis. One of the cottages also provides a great lounge area with a fireplace and satellite TV, which will be a wonderful social area for all volunteers. Brackenhurst has beautiful grounds that are perfect for having an afternoon nap in the sun, playing sports, such as ultimate Frisbee or soccer, or going for a jog. On a clear day, you will be able to see Mount Kilimanjaro in the one direction, and Mount Kenya in the other from the Brackenhurst grounds. Brackenhurst is a Christian conference centre that forms part of the greater Limuru community. In this culture, drinking alcohol is seen as 'taboo' by the local Christian community. There is therefore no alcohol allowed on the premises of Brackenhurst. However, 20 minutes drive away is a lovely restaurant where you can have a couple of drinks in the evenings.
And Meals? You will be provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is on a help-yourself basis and usually consists of cereals/porridge, toast, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner are full meals, and will be provided for you. Lunches may also be packed or may be local lunches at your placement.
How do I get there and travel around?
Fly direct to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, where you will be met by one of our experienced team. International flight routings include direct from London or via Johannesburg in South Africa or Harare in Zimbabwe.
Do I need experience, is there orientation?
Upon your arrival in Nairobi you will be met by our representative, who will escort you to your new 'home'. Once you have settled in, you will be briefed on the itinerary of the orientation program. You will receive a detailed Welcome Pack, which will contain all the important information you may need. You will be orientated to the area that you will be living in, as well as be shown the areas that you will be volunteering in. In the next few days, you will visit the project sites and be introduced to the relevant projects, key people and volunteer coordinators that you will be working closely with. You will receive relevant information about common diseases & illnesses that you will probably come into contact with (e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria etc.). Support: Throughout your stay at your placement you will have the support and guidance of experienced field-workers and coordinators. They are part of our greater support team, and will provide you with competent 24-hour field support and assistance.
A day in the life:
Monday, Thursday, and Friday:
7:30 - Get up and start getting ready for your project.
8:00 - Self service breakfast at Brackenhurst.
8:30 - Head off on the drive to your project which can be anywhere from 20 minutes to a 1 hour drive.
9:00-10:00 - Start work at your allocated placement – local orphanages, nursery schools, medical clinics.
12:30 - Lunch break - packed lunch will either be provided for you by our chief, or volunteers take their own snacks and our chief prepares a hot lunch for when they return from project.
15:00 - Home time - you will be collected by your coordinator/driver and taken back to the volunteer cottage at Brackenhurst. Here you will be able to check your emails, watch TV, socialize or just relax and unwind in the beautiful gardens of Brackenhurst.
Evenings are very sociable affairs. Generally, volunteers discuss their day’s activities whilst having supper together and prepare for your project the next day. A hot favorite is also going for a walk through the beautiful walking trails in Brackenhurst in the early evening (or even a run if you’re brave enough, but be warned it’s quite hilly!) and then go for an outdoor swim and drinks at The Limuru Country Club.
Please note: On a Friday afternoon volunteers have the option of going to Village Market, a large shopping centre just outside of Nairobi, where you can change money, go shopping, post letters/packages home, have a luxury coffee and piece of cake etc!
7:30 - Have a bit of a sleep-in before we hit Nairobi's traffic! Get up and start getting ready for your project
8:00 – Self service breakfast at Brackenhurst
8:30 - Leave for the slums – this is quite a long drive (1-1.30hr), but Nairobi traffic is an experience of a lifetime!!
10:00 - Help in the local medical clinics, schools or home-base care
14:30 Break for a local lunch
15:00 – Home time – you will be collected by your coordinator/driver.
Evenings as above – you will arrive home from the slums by approximately 17:00.
Every second Wednesday you will head to Limuru to assist in distributing food to 300 destitute elderly, alternate Wednesday morning you will be able to use your time to prepare lessons, do some research, compile or make resources, assist in writing a report, evaluation and recommendations of your placement to ensure continuity once you leave or perhaps have a much needed sleep in.
8:00 – Enjoy a sleep in.
8:15 – Self service breakfast at Brackenhurst
8:30 – leave for the feeding program in Limuru town or prepare for you day of planning and research.
11:30 – Return to Brackenhurst for an early lunch prepared by the chef.
12:30 – leave for a school for disabled children situated in the Rift valley or a local medical outreach project and assist in cleaning and renovations.
16.30 – after all your hard work head home and enjoy a refreshing shower or a swim in the country club pool.
Evenings as above – you will arrive home from the slums by approximately 17:30.
- Project Fee: this entails financing that goes directly back into the project that you are involved with. This project fee facilitates funding for items such as building materials, equipment, supplies, foodstuffs, etc. Project fees are also used to buy vehicles and equipment as well as for developing new housing for volunteers to provide for the expansion of the project.
- All airport transfers from Nairobi Airport upon your arrival and departure
- Orientation program
- All daily transfers to and from your projects during your stay
- Full board and lodging which includes 3 meals a day at Brackenhurst Baptist International Centre, Limuru
- Weekly laundry service during your stay
- Assistance in your projects by various staff and volunteer coordinators. Full support and your coordinator throughout your time on your Limuru placement.
- What is the minimum stay: 2 weeks
- Where exactly is it: Limuru, in the lush hilly outskirts of Nairobi
- What will I be doing: Impact communities in and around Nairobi through medical and community programmes.
Prices from: £785/ €1020/$1415.
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