African Adventures

Program Reviews

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Ruth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My African Adventure was brilliant! I went to Woe in Ghana as part of a school group and loved every minute of it. We were made so welcome by everyone in Ghana, including the staff, street children, Shalom school children/teachers and the surrounding community. The food was amazing, the rooms were cleaned daily and the hospitality was great. We experienced so many different cultural activities from a funeral to an inter-school competition and Noah and Bright, our hosts kept us busy the whole time making sure not a minute of our time in Ghana was wasted. I was also lucky that everyone in my group wanted to take an active part in the culture and dancing which made it even more fun. The only advice I would give is to get up and do the chicken dance every time you are invited, you will regret it if you don't! Thank you for such an unforgettable experience, I will treasure the memories forever!

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing could improve it! The staff were so kind and in the run up to the trip, we were given help an assistance along the way to make the trip planning as easy as possible and I'm sure our teachers would feel the same.
Alex
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A group of nine teenagers and one adult visited Ghana to develop an understanding of a very different culture and society by volunteering to teach and build in a school on the south-east coast of Ghana. We spent 17 days either helping the teaching staff meet their teaching objectives or helping build a classroom in a school with virtually no resources. And what a tremendous experience it was - I have spent a lot of time abroad and I can honestly say that my trip to Ghana was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had.

The trip is designed to integrate the group into the local community and immerse them in the local culture and society as much as possible in a relatively short time...and it worked! I left Ghana feeling that we had developed a real understanding of the issues facing a developing sub-Saharan country, how they affect people and how they can be tackled in a sustainable fashion. I was also left with a deep respect for the wonderfully kind and generous people who opened their arms to us and made us feel incredibly welcome throughout the trip (the Ghanaians’ reputation for openness and friendliness is well-deserved).

Ghana is an extraordinarily beautiful and diverse country, steeped in rich history and culture, on the edge of developing rapidly, with some of the most friendly people in the world and a raft of opportunities unspoiled by tourism. Our trip was punctuated by two wonderful weekends: the first in the East, in the highland rainforests where monkeys eat plantains from your hands and you can wash away dirt and cares under the highest waterfall in West Africa; the second spent exploring the amazing and historic Cape Coast Castle,, taking a rope walk over the canopies of a beautiful rainforest and getting up close and personal with crocodiles!

I would recommend this programme unhesitatingly for any group who wishes to get a real insight into Ghana, its people, culture and issues. A beautiful country, a great programme and a genuinely valuable experience.

What would you improve about this program?
It was exactly what I expected. There were a couple of very minor issues around preparation for building and teaching. But I would not have changed anything significant at all. African Adventures were superb.
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Jacqui
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wow. I barely even know where to begin. I have just returned from a visit to Woe in Ghana with a group of 21 explorer scouts and 6 leaders. We had a totally amazing time. The support staff were fantastic and the experience was so much more than any of us could have every expected. I will never forget how incredibly lucky I am and honoured to have been part of such an amazing adventure, watching the explorers grow in experience and maturity and being a part of such an awesome community. Can't wait to do it all again.

Mandy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wow fantastic , myself and 26 others all from staffordshire scouts went to Ghana at Easter we taught at 2 different schools and built at the schools,the classroom experience was fantastic and so was the build the kids and staff at the schools were fantastic .All the staffs at our accommodation couldn't do enough for you and Kerry from African adventure was great we all were sad when it was time to leave ,we will be back and this time we have the experience and no exactly what we need to take and what classroom work to have planned in advance .The overall experience was fantastic we were looked after all the time and if we wanted to do any thing it was all ways sorted .Thank you to everyone who made this possible

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Steve
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first experience of taking students to a developing country, and I wasn't sure how they would cope with the conditions and the poverty, but African Adventures helped them through the tears and range of emotions. It really was the most moving, inspiring, heartbreaking and worthwhile two weeks of my life, and one both I ,and my students, will never forget. It's very easy to 'give money to a charity' , but to actually be in a developing country, and to experience the inequality of life brings it home so much more. I was really proud of my students. If just one thing they did has inspired a Zanzibari child to finish education, to become a doctor, or an engineer, or go to college, the trip would have been worthwhile. They DID make a difference!

What would you improve about this program?
There needed to be more forward planning from the school we visited. If we had known what we were teaching in advance we could have brought extention materials to enrich the Zanzibari children's lives.
Luke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is my third visit with African Adventures & Derby County Community Trust. I have been every year for the last three years. I am married and have three children and these trips are up there as the greatest experiences of my life.

Instead of a review, which I have previously done, I will write about the progress of Nakuru, the children and me as a person.

On my return to Nakuru, I can see the improvement that the city has done, with newly built buildings and pathways. People are looking to do something to make work for themselves. To make a better life for them. It's a great thing to see first-hand.

My day-to-day working life at home is sitting at desk from 8.30-5, I'm not a builder, a labourer or enjoy D.I.Y. Over the last three visits, I have loved building the classrooms. I have done since my first visit in 2014. I love mixing cement, carrying large boulders, building walls, everything! But I know that I couldn't do it for a living, so why do I enjoy it Nakuru? I suppose I know it's for something important, a purpose! Something for children and future generations. We are changing lives doing what we are doing.

One thing that I have learnt from my past three visits to Kenya, is how great it is working with the Kenyan builders. Although most cannot speak English and I cannot speak Swahili, we communicate using signals and actions. It shows that you don't always need words to get a message across.

On this visit (2016), one afternoon, I decided to visit a classroom and noticed that no teacher was present, so I took it upon myself to take the class! Something that I have never done before. I didn't like the idea of children sitting there at a school not learning. I was unprepared and nervous. After teaching multiplication and English, I found myself really enjoying it and more importantly so did the children. Something that I did again a couple of days later.

I fully support and admire African Adventures on what they have achieved and what they will continue to achieve in the years ahead. I will always communicate their message and recommend them to anyone.

As mentioned previously, Nakuru is now like my second home and I can't wait to return and continue the work in May 2017 and this time with my eldest son.

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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

There’s nothing that comes close to the emotions of Kenya. I’m not even sure ‘emotions’ or ‘feelings’ are words I could use to describe them.
Strolling through the centre of Nakuru at midday, eyes ahead and worries behind, greeted by smiles and waves and hearts and happiness.
Crouching in the red hot dust of the Mama Kerry School playground, clinging to a toddler who is taking a well needed nap, she is comfortable and content…that’s all that matters.
Driving through the stars along the East African Rift Valley, on the other side of sundown, thinking about everything and nothing, in conversation with God and in battle with the future.
Coming from a country where everyone lives their own life and focuses on where they are going and how they are getting there, it was a bit of a culture shock to suddenly be so intertwined with the children of Africa.
It was amazing to be sitting in a classroom so different to our own and witness the eagerness to learn, education was a life or death essential to them.
It inspired me to work harder, to use the resources and opportunities that are so readily available in Northern Ireland in order to gain skills and intelligence that I could someday bring back to Kenya, to pass on to the children that sat around me.
As a team we'd taught lessons, helped with construction of a classroom and did house visits to deliver food parcels but I can whole heartedly say that we didn’t come remotely close to giving those children anywhere near as much as they gave us.
While we gave them material goods and education, which don’t get me wrong are so desperately needed, they gave us love, perspective and life lessons that will forever be priceless to me.
They taught me how to be grateful, how to have a childlike heart, how to love God more.
They taught me the value of a smile.
The kids I met in the dump were truly amazing, filled with joy they taught me how to dance and rejoice.
I got to spend about 45 minutes playing with them and getting to know them, and honestly that short period of time made me happier than I ever knew possible.
Leaving those kids was hard, I knew they didn't go to school and maybe would never get out of living in the dump, unlike the kids at Mama Kerry who had slightly better opportunities.
I pray that someday they will get a better standard of living, whether God willing I'm a part of that or not, I'm going to try everyday to live my life with the same heart they have.
The atmosphere among the group was one of sympathy and thankfulness.
We spent the remainder of our trip exploring Kenya and getting to experience the culture. On Saturday an early rise let us go on a game drive safari through Lake Nakuru National Park.
I had never done something like a safari, I'd never even been to a National Park so I wasn't quite sure if I would enjoy it, but boy was I wrong to doubt!
I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure day, mainly because it was a great chance to spend time with the group and make unforgettable memories with amazing people in such an incredible country.
Settling in when we arrived home again was and still is also very hard.
The only way to describe the sensation is being homesick.
Homesick for Kenya, homesick for the kids, homesick for the culture, homesick for the love.I look forward to returning to Kenya someday, hopefully in the near future, but until then I am holding tight to everything Kenya taught me, holding tight to the memories, holding tight to the moments shared with my Mama Kerry children and kids I met in the dump...holding tight to the emotions of Kenya.
I am so grateful for the opportunity African Adventures provided me and will always be thankful for them. The staff were all amazing and the opportunities were varied and wonderful.
My African adventure may have come to an conclusion, but my new found adventure of life has just begun...

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Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

African adventures came to Richard Tauntons Sixth Form College, looking for a handful of volunteers to venture to the Town of Nukuru, Kenya. Multiple presentations and meetings later, the company had found themselves far more than just a handful, walking away with twenty one of us intact.
Truth be told the sum looked large, yet the fundraising behind it was all part of the fun. In fact we had nothing to be worried about. In October 2013 we started our savings, ready for our deadline in May 2014. From cake sales in the staff room, to an ‘all night sponsored sport’ event, we reached our set target, and gathered the money. We raised the majority as a team. This in fact acted as our ice breaker, getting to know each individual who set out to share the same adventure.
So the day came. June 19th. Ready for our ten day adventure. We had our plenaries and information packs. Our factor fifty, hats and rucksacks. But nothing can really prepare you for such a beautiful experience.
As a team we set off from London, Heathrow heading to Kenya. With a short stop on the way, we managed to have a quick nosey around the wealth of Qatar Airport. It was something else. I’d never seen such squeaky clean floors. Soon we hit the skies again and landed in a place considerably different.
Dampened dirty walls surrounded us, as we stood in the passport control queue. To our left we saw a Kenyan woman amazingly balancing her suitcase upon her head. No worries. No cares. Just peacefully stood.
And, we made it. We ventured on our rattling shuttle bus for a grand total of six hours (a trip that would have taken no longer than ninety minutes in the UK.) With a family of baboons on our left, and a zebra stood proud to our right, we were surrounded by the beauties of Kenya’s wilderness. Stopping off at Lake Nakuru, we showed off our true inner Brit and took some snaps of the stunning view.
A short nap later and we arrived at our resort, Kivu. Ready to meet the local schools and children of which we came to help.
The first day gave us the opportunity to take a look around three different schools, all withholding very excitable little children waiting to see us ‘mzungu’s.’
I had the privilege of working with Love For All, a local school and orphanage. With ages ranging from as little as two to a mature teenager aged seventeen. Their location was small, with very little light due to their need for shade. Using the very last bit of graphite from a pencil, writing onto a scrap of paper, the children would sit there politely listening to the older orphans whom were their teachers.
I’ll never forget the excited little voices and screams as our bus pulled up day in day out. Singing their trademark song ‘Welcome.’
From the very beginning I had young smiley children following me around, giggling and asking ‘How are you?’ over and over. Fascinated by my long blonde hair, I would have two or three children hanging from my arms, or sat in my lap, plaiting my hair. It was always the little things that would keep the children amused for hours. It’s surprising how long a bottle of bubbles lasts between over aWithin my team of seven we would each alternate our roles within the school. Whether it was teaching, building, playing, cooking, each of us loved it all. Together over a course of five days we dug out, built and opened a toilet block, made with six cubicles. Pamela, the owner of ‘Love For All’ stood ecstatic with our achievements, and was able to tick toilets off of her 2014 wish list.
In addition to my time spent with ‘Love For All’ as a college team we visited Nakuru’s dump site. The stench of refuse and animal faeces could be smelt from inside our bus as we edged closer to the site. Yet once taking a step out of the vehicle the smell seemed to vanish as the view became so much more. For, what seemed like miles and miles, were hills of rubbish, excreting fumes into the atmosphere. The air seemed thick and polluted. Certainly not safe for a child. Nevertheless, curled up in the equivalent to a tesco’s plastic bag were babies sleeping in this corruption. At this point all we had to offer were a sprinkle of stickers, and a purse-full of Kenyan shillings, all of which we gave out willingly.
Saying goodbye to the friends made in Nakuru and ‘Love For All’ was very emotional, and extremely difficult. Children gripped to our legs firmly, giving us our farewell cuddles. We gave out individual gifts to the children, things as small as a hair band. And they were ever so grateful, their smiles were beaming. They all waited by the gate, climbing upon one another, all tying to be the last one to say goodbye. And that was it. Our time with our projects had come to an end. But our African Adventure didn’t stop here.
As our final couple of days were among us, we ventured out to the wild. We jumped into a safari jeep and drove around the land of Nakuru, searching for the big five. We saw orphaned baby elephants at the elephant sanctuary. Travelled to the equator. And shared a kiss with a giraffe. All moments of which felt so surreal.
Home time. Our adventure was now complete. Dusty roads turned back into motorways. And zebras changed to horses. Sunlight turned to rain. We landed back in the UK on July 1st. All changed. All emotional. All excited to share our experience.
If my experience interests you please get involved!
BY MEGAN FORD

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Paul
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Its difficult to sum up the experiences and impact that my 4 trips to Kenya with African Adventures without sounding like a million clichés. Quite simply, apart from being a Dad to my two wonderful sons, this is the best thing in my life and what I am most proud of. I have led 4 trips with AA and we go again in May '16. We have taken 150+ volunteers and seeing the development of our three partners schools and the wonderful children and amazing staff is both humbling and inspiring. I would not either want to, nor be able to do it without AA and their staff, some of which I now consider friends. They are supportive, knowledgeable, friendly and encouraging. One day, I shall take my two sons and complete the circle of the two best things in my life.

What would you improve about this program?
To be able to stay longer!!
The frustrations that emerge from our trips are that we want to do more and do it faster but this is not the UK but the Kenya culture and foibles are part of the local's charms so I wouldn't want to change them, even if I could.
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Will
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

At the start of the summer 2015 we went on a charitable trip to Nakuru, Kenya, where we had the opportunity to teach in some of Africa’s most impoverished schools. After a long plane ride and a six hour coach journey along some rather bendy and badly paved roads, the group arrived in Nakuru, where they spent the rest of the day getting settled in and enjoying fresh Kenyan food. The highlight of the drive was arguably the chance to look out over the picturesque Rift Valley at a rest stop and take some incredible photographs.

The next morning Mr Alderton and the boys, who were accompanied by a driver stopped into the primary school where they were welcomed by the young pupils (aged 3-7) with an extraordinary song and dance. The school sang praises and thanks to group for coming to help out in their school. The boys continued to help at the primary school for the remainder of the morning where they taught a few classes, helped cook a meal and washed dishes in the kitchen. In the afternoon the Harrow students were taken up to the secondary school where they spent most of the subsequent days teaching classes of students ranging in ages from 10 to 18. The Kenyan children were incredibly appreciative of the help they received from the boys and were very receptive to their conducting of the different classes. As well teaching, the boys took turns in helping to construct new toilet facilities for the school. Before the project, the school had only two very basic toilets for the 70 pupils, and Harrow’s help in building the new bathrooms ensured that the school would not be shut down because of poor facilities. During the lunch hour, the Harrow boys often got to play football with the students. Although the Kenyans had an advantage, as they were very apt to playing on dusty and uneven ground, the Harrow boys still managed to beat their team on a fairly regular basis.

On the weekend the group had the pleasure of visiting the Masai Mara and Serengeti game parks. It was a seven hour drive from Nakuru, though the boys all agreed it was a very worthwhile excursion, as a wide variety of wildlife was seen. Just over the course of two days four of the big five game animals were spotted out on the plains, as well crocodiles, hippos and monkeys near the rivers. At night, the Harrow students stayed in a deluxe encampment and were fed deliciously fresh meals. The boys also had the joy of meeting Masai warriors in their village. While there, they were shown around the native houses and were then allowed to join in the native Masai war dance. Finally, the group was given the chance to purchase some of the handmade jewellery and trinkets made by the men and women from the settlement, before heading back to Nakuru.

In all, the trip was incredibly educational and eye-opening for all the boys who took part. There was a definitive sense of friendship and understanding between the students of both countries. Despite the fact that the Kenyan pupils were often rather impoverished and underprivileged, they were incredibly happy with the little they had, and they enjoyed nothing more than learning in their school. Perhaps their attitude can be a valuable lesson for us all.