So hello everyone. It has been quite some time since I have made a last post so I have a lot to say. I am currently writing this from a hostel in Arusha, Tanzania where I have consistent wifi for the first time in a month.

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Oh and yes I had corn rows for like a week. Cool eh?

So basically to be able to explain how incredible my time in Kenya has been would be impossible. This past month here has absolutely flown by and I feel I have done so much. I have made lifelong friends from around the world, rode camels on the east coast of Kenya, saw lions and leopards in the Maasai Mara National Park, taught children in a school, played endless games of football, and now I am currently traveling with a friendly Australian through Tanzania since my volunteer program is over.

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My School

My first week of volunteering was definitely a rough start. I was getting over my strep throat and jet lag and was not sleeping at all. I finally started feeling better and sleeping well which made the experience much better. I was placed in a village called Kamangu outside of Nairobi. It was quite a rural village with little roads and no shops. A lot of farm land and beautiful nature. The journey to my placement took about an hour and a half by busy matatus. Now matatus are these small mini vans that are decorated, drive fast, and are crammed full with more people than there are seats. It would cost me about 1 USD to get from Nairobi to my placement which is why I would use these. They were quite uncomfortable and at sometimes scary whilst driving through the busy unregulated streets of Nairobi. I was placed at a private school called Pleasant Hope Academy where I would graciously met by the family that owns the school and the teachers and children. The kids would all smile and laugh when they saw me, probably because of the length of my hair which isn’t normal to them. I began teaching various classes mostly upper graded (kindergarten through 8th).  I also played a lot with the kids for PE which usually consisted of football.

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My home for the past 4 weeks. It looks like a modern house but I had no running water and poor insulation. 

 

From the start of my program I made good friends with the other volunteers in my orientation group. While we were not all placed at the same location we would meet up on the weekends and do various things. The first weekend in Kenya nine of us decided to go to Diani Beach on the east coast of Kenya. It was an absolute dream. The beach stretched for miles of beautiful white sand and the ocean was a deep blue. We stayed at a really cool hostel called South Coast Backpackers which had a pool, lounge area, and a really cool open outdoor bar. We were able to ride camels along the beach, snorkel in the Indian ocean, and party on a beach bar at night. The experience was incredible and it was a great bonding experience for all of us.

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A sailboat in the Indian Ocean.

 

I went back to my placement late that week and left early unfortunately. NVS is the company I am volunteering with and I have been volunteering my services with them by doing some documentary video work. Which unfortunately took away time from my placement but I have really enjoyed going around with them to different placements to help give out donations and video the process. Towards the end of the week I went on an outreach program with several volunteers where we went to a school in Naivasha, Kenya where we met with a New Zealander named Marcus who has been working in the slums here and establishing a school for the past 7 years. It is called the KCC Programme and you can visit www.kccslumproject.org to check him out. On the second day of the outreach we went to a park called Hells Gate where we rode bicycles through the park with beautiful scenery and exotic animals roaming around us. It was such a neat experience to be able to have.

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Stephanie walking with some children from the KCC slum.

Immediately following the outreach program, I left for a safari in the Maasai Mara National park with several other volunteers. It was a 3 day safari and we stayed in a camp outside of the Mara which had really nice tents to stay in. We had some complications on the safari as the van were being escorted with kept breaking down. It was quite frustrating but we still had an incredible experience together. We were able to see lions, elephants, a leopard and cheetah, a lot of buffalo, giraffes and Zebras. We saw crocodiles in a river along with hippos. The only animal we didn’t see was the rhino, but the park was absolutely a dream to ride in. The scenery was stunning and being able to see the animals grazing about in their natural habitat was so neat.

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FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Skyler, Taylor, Ashley, Stephanie, Ina, Me, Nico, Tom, Liv.

 

After safari I continued to work at my placement and have various experiences. On our third weekend many of the volunteers we have grown so close with were leaving. My friend from England Tom was gone, Ashely from Atlanta was also gone, and our good friends Stephanie from Miami, Nico from Chile, and Taylor from China were all leaving this week. I wasn’t going to see Ina from Norway again so I had to tell her goodbye as well as a few others so me and Liv were the only people left. It was quite a sad feeling telling all these people goodbye as we had grown so close over the past few weeks and had quite good experiences together.

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Tom Ina & Liv | Shimba hills in Diani

I finished out my last week of volunteering this week and told my school goodbye. They were so grateful to have me and I am so appreciative for the experience I had there and the experiences with my host mom in my placement.

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Hitching a ride in Hells Gate park.

 

So now time for something new. Now that my placement is over I am traveling through Tanzania to the island paradise with an Australian girl named Liv. I am so ready for this next chapter in my travels!

-ColeB