Next Adventure Confirmed: KENYA 2013

So I said I would post this like, 2 weeks ago. How embarrassing...

But here I am, new post and new news!

I am going on my next adventure this August. I'm going to Kenya, a vibrant and jazzy country on the coast of East Africa.

 I will be there for just over 3 weeks and will be doing a little travelling from Nairobi, the capital city in the heart of the country, to Mombasa, a coastal city perched on an edge of the warm Indian Ocean.



I will be doing some volunteering work while I'm out there with a charity organisation, just like I did in Nepal last year. Volunteering with a charity is a superb way to travel:
  • It is much cheaper; accommodation/food/in-country transport are usually included.
  • You usually live with local people, so you get much more cultural insight than a package holiday. 
  • Charity organisations have good contacts in-country, so you can get good advice on how to travel around the country during your stay, much more cheaply too.
  • You meet other volunteers and make good friends from around the world.
  • You get a great number to add to the CV.
Indeed, a charity organisation is the way to go, particularly if you're on a budget and if you're interested in seeing the real world (and not the one you see on a tour-bus). I will do an extended post about volunteering abroad in the near future which I will link from here.

In Kenya, I'll be volunteering on a HIV/AIDS awareness programme as a volunteer counsellor. The aim of the project is to promote acceptance in people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Although life-prolonging medicines are available for free in Kenya, many Kenyan people cannot take them due to the side-effects that occur when taken on an empty stomach. Many people in Kenya don't have adequate amounts of food to take these medicines. Kenya has experienced increases in food-prices, which is hitting the poorest families hard. Mothers with HIV/AIDS choose to feed their children before feeding themselves, which shortens their own lives. Family members who ensure their loved ones with HIV/AIDS can eat enough for their treatment usually have to make sacrifices. The children's education is usually the first to go.


So it's a tricky situation out there. What my project aims to do is to promote acceptance in people who are suffering. Acceptance is an incredibly powerful tool for positive living - though it's hugely underestimated and might even seem pointless to you! I've studied mindfulness meditation during university, which is an example of an acceptance-based therapy. Mindfulness has been consistently shown as a wonderfully effective clinical treatment of depression, anxiety and disease-related stress. It is becoming widely available on the NHS and has even formed a new 'fifth-wave' in psychotherapy, which promotes acceptance of a person's situation in the present. I'll do a post in the near future about mindfulness and what it is, which I will link from here! I've studied counselling psychology during my degree also. Combined with mindfulness, I hope I can take some useful skills over there to cultivate, and learn some new ones from the people I'll work with!

It's very daunting. I admit that I'm pretty scared to see some of the things that are over there. I cannot predict how I'll react to the situation, but hopefully I'm brave enough. It's all a new experience.

Another thing I'm worried about is safety. Kenya isn't the most dangerous country in the world, but it does have a record of crime and tourist abduction, particularly in Nairobi and lesser-so in Mombasa. I haven't been anywhere that dangerous before. People in Nepal were largely very welcoming and had too much pride to engage in crime. Hindu morals seem to promote acceptance, perhaps that's why even the poorest were so humble and happy there. In Kenya, a lot of people are hungry and have no money, so I can kinda understand how they can be driven to crime when an opportunity presents itself. I will definitely be keeping well away from the Somali border; that one has been drilled into me over and over and over and over...

I don't fancy being a Somali pirate on my gap year.


Anyways, there are tonnes of positives! I'm looking forward to seeing a new country. I have never been that far south before, so it's very fresh and exciting! Here is a little bucket list of things I would like to do when I'm there:
  1. Safari. It just has to be done.
  2. Meet the Maasai warriors. Jump with them?
  3. Stand on the Equator. I'd be setting foot in the southern hemisphere for the first time.
  4. Try Nairobi street food. Apparently it's really good and it got soul, bro!
  5. At least see Mt. Kenya. Climbing it might be a bit ambitious. I might go as far as seeing Kilimanjaro if I'm extremely ambitious!
So far that is all I can think of. No doubt as I research into Kenya a bit more I'll learn about other cool stuff to do!

I might even get a bonus adventure this time, like when I visited Dubai on my way home from Nepal last year. I have two routes to Kenya, via Dubai or via Amsterdam. I haven't made my mind up which to take yet, but I can either:

  • Travel via Amsterdam: spend a few days there walking along the canals, drinking coffee and getting stoned.
  • Travel via Dubai: I've already done Dubai, so I was thinking of travelling from there into neighbouring Oman to have a little peek at the real Middle-East.
I'll think that over...

But anyways, if you've been to Kenya, how did you find it? What things did you do?

Got any tips for a nervous 21-year old? ^_^



Anthony


CONVERSATION

1 comments:

  1. My friend Sian has been going to Kenya since she was little, and volunteered over there last summer in a horsey sanctuary. She has never had any bother, but says its all about using common sense and good manners (you'll be fine :-)). One thing she says is be so careful with tipping in restaurants or bars etc etc. When they went on holiday there for two weeks, one of the chaperones kept there drinks topped up, got them food etc, so they bought him a crate of beer and some t shirts etc, and the guy ended up getting fired by his boss, coz he thought this guy had stolen all the stuff off Sian. Had to sign police paperwork confirming she had given him the beer and tips and he hadn't stolen them off her. So you need to keep your brain switched on :-) im sure you'll have a great time tho - always very jealous of your adventures :( lol - hegs xxx

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