African Adventures run an incredible project which is accessible and truly truly life changing for anybody who wants to experience a new culture or feel like they’re making a different to the world we live in. I have recently signed up for my fifth annual trip (starting in 2016) with African Adventures to volunteer at their project in Kenya and I can honestly say with all of my heart that from the moment you go, your whole world will change.
Volunteering in Africa naturally doesn’t come without its challenges, sometimes the food is delayed or the weather doesn’t behave the way you’d prefer it to. Sometimes the tools we have to work with are arguably not up to our western standard and you’ve gotta be on it with your improvisation skills. But any tiny problem that comes up whilst you volunteer with this company is very shortly made better by two things. Firstly, you cannot fault the African adventures team, both in England and Kenya. Every single member of staff for African Adventures believes in making a positive change and wants every volunteer to have the time of their life and it really really shows. I couldn’t fault a single member of staff. A lot of this comes down to the fact that Dan the director, is so passionate about the work they do and truly believes in their vision and if you ever have the honour of meeting Dan, it’s very very difficult not to have the exact same reaction to this project. All the staff who work at African adventures do an incredible job and truly inspire a lot of people they meet. This includes the Kenyan staff, a couple that cannot go without mention here are Alex and Patricia, pastors who went up the school that this project works with in Kenya and a genuinely inspiring and humble couple who deserve nothing but respect and love. As well as Fred, the in country co-ordination, who changes your life from the second you meet him. I could talk about the staff for hours so I will stop here but honestly there are no words to describe the effort and passion these guys have. The other thing that stops the small inconveniences from being big problems is the children you will work with if you choose to go on this trip. You cannot be miserable or feel as if you aren’t getting the most out of this trip when you meet those children - they are by far the happiest and most grateful children you will ever meet. Genuinely, they’re just happy you’re there and it’s hard to feel upset about anything with the infectious smiles on their faces.
A big concern for a lot of people when thinking about doing this sort of trip is the safety of the situation, naturally it’s easy to feel like it can be a risky situation to enter with the economical and political climate that is portrayed to us through the media. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never once felt unsafe in Kenya or with any of the in-country staff that are there to assist you whenever you leave the hotel. The Kenyan staff are very capable, and much like the staff I mentioned earlier will go out of their way to ensure that you have the best time you possibly can have. Nakuru especially which is one of the places you are likely to be if you sign up to this project, is much like any other big town in any other country. There are parts that are unsafe and parts that are perfectly safe, but you will never be left in an unsafe area. You are completely safe the entire time.
As for the value and fun aspect of any trip, I don’t think it’s possible to beat this kind of experience. Firstly, every single day you are there, you are experience first hand the situations these people live in and the difficulties they face on a daily basis but parallel to this, you see the change you’re making and the effect you’re having on these peoples lives. It is hard work, and it can be emotionally and physically exhausting at times. But the output is so very much worth the input. Although you spend the majority of your time working on project, that doesn’t stop it from being an amazingly fun trip. With added bonuses that you can experience such as a safari in Lake Nakuru, or Menegai Crater - an incredibly impressive volcanic crater. There are many different options where you can spend your weekends doing touristy bits.
Of course, I have only spoken about the Kenya trip here because from personal experience I can vouch for the African Adventures team. I have 100% faith and trust in that the other opportunities they offer are just as life changing and exciting.
The only warning I have for anybody considering going on one of these incredible trips with African Adventures is that it is so very infectious. The more you work with them, the more you want to do and the more you truly understand the vision behind African adventures. A truly inspiring project which greatly impacts and values the life of so many incredible people. Sign up for a trip with these guys and you will never regret it.