So it has been over 2 weeks since I left the UK! And what an interesting 2 weeks it has been!!
I live in a city on Lake Victoria in Kenya called Kisumu. It is the third largest city in Kenya and has a population of around 300 000 people. I am very lucky, currently 2 other PULSE Volunteers are here until the 17th Jan and I am sharing a house with them. The high street is filled with shops (especially mobile phone shops!) and a few supermarkets. There is also an outdoor fruit and vegetable market. The market is crazy, but great! You can buy almost anything from there; best of all, the fruit taste like real fruit.I may live from avocados for the next 6 months!
Because I only started volunteering early Jan, we had some time to explore Kenya .We took a local bus for 4 hours to a little town called Malot and then a 4×4 to an eco-camp in a conservancy area, close to the Maasai Mara, called Mara Nubian Camp. Due to heavy rainfall, you really needed a 4×4 to get to the camp. I was holding on for dear life. The driver was brilliant! Driving in London is nothing compared to this! The camp was sandwiched between two valleys, it was picturesque. For the next few days we went for a safaris (driving or walking!) and saw loads of animals. In the Maasai Mara we came across lions, elephants, giraffes, you name it and we saw it! I would definitely recommend it to any visitors coming over ( hint hint ;-)). It was amazing!
I am volunteering at the Ogra foundation. Have a look at their website, they do really great work. www.ografoundation.org/. Ogra is a non-governmental organisation. They work with partners (donors) to improve health by combating TB/Malaria, HIV and other preventable diseases.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet everyone in the office and visited the different projects out in the field. Our first stop was Ogra’s Medical centre in Ombeyi. The staff was very welcoming and I look forward to spending more of my time there. We also visited a primary school where Ogra provide lunch to over 800 primary school children (project HealthStart) and the Omen feeding centre that provides breakfast and lunch to over 75 orphans. I also visited a number of other medical centres/clinics; one was in the slum here in Kisumu. On Friday I attended 2 sessions in rural areas, where health care workers trained people from the community on HIV. People were really eager to learn and asked loads of questions. At one of the sessions I could assist the health worker. It was really great to talk to people about importance of getting tested for HIV and the support available to them. I will definitely get more involved in this project over the next 6 months.
One of my key observations since we left London was, things that we sometimes take for granted in our developed countries such as good roads, safe housing, clean water, healthcare and food are not easy accessible to everyone in Kenya. Even though there are a great number of charities, some people are very poor and struggle. I hope during my 6 months in Kenya I can make a difference, even if it is just drop in the ocean, I reckon that every drops counts!