Alumni Spotlight: Rayan Abdulwahed

Why did you decide to volunteer with IVHQ in Kenya?

Rayan: I have always dreamed of traveling to Kenya, but I didn’t want to go just as a normal tourist. I wanted to visit the places that average tourists wouldn’t normally visit, so I started searching for a good volunteering program. From around 5-6 different websites I found that IVHQ had a nice program with reasonable prices. I joined the IVHQ Facebook group and asked the past volunteers some questions. Two weeks later I was in Kenya!

Rayan bumping fists with one of his students

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Rayan: I registered for the orphanage program so me and a couple of volunteers were assigned to an orphanage in the Nairobi area and stayed with the same host family. On weekdays, we all got up had breakfast and went straight to the orphanage where we had different tasks to accomplish. We started by organizing the orphanage’s library to make it easier for the kids to find books to read. After the orphanage work, we had the rest of the day to freely explore our surroundings, buy souvenirs, or just have a friendly conversation with some of the locals. On weekends, IVHQ organizes some wonderful trips where we can go out and help others in need, explore different parts of Kenya and to simply enjoy ourselves.

Rayan having a great time with his students in Kenya

How has this experience impacted your future?

Rayan: It has certainly changed me from the inside. We all know that there are poor people living in this world we see them on T.V. and in magazines. But to be standing there amongst them, totally immersed, to be able to touch the children’s little hands, breath the polluted air, and just take it all in is certainly an experience like no other.