My volunteer work at Kenya was both rewarding and adventurous. From watching the elephants and their young stroll through Maasai Mara during sunset, with Mount Kilimanjaro as the backdrop, to hitting water in the drilling of a well in rural Namanga for the Maasai people, there was no shortage of laughs and cries.
I volunteered at the Watoto Wa Baraka (WWB) / ‘Children of Blessing’ (in Swahili) orphanage in Makuyu, which housed over 30 youths. Work included the following:
- Developing social and in-class activities with the children to cultivate individual growth and strength
- Planting trees to be used for commerce
- Preparation of meals for the staff and children
- Field work — visiting patients in remote areas, and monitoring their health and providing aid to their conditions. View video here.
I even had the opportunity to hand deliver items I brought with me on the trip to the orphans. It was wonderful seeing the reaction of a child receive a gift from someone with whom they had just met.
Footage from the Orphanage
Chris was one of the children at the Watoto Wa Baraka orphanage with whom I have had the pleasure of meeting and sponsoring. He kept me informed about his activities and progress in school through written letters and drawings. Like other sponsored children, he felt a greater sense of security, cared for, and hopeful for his future.
Fieldwork in Makuyu. The girl standing on the right suffered from an unknown mental condition. This instance called into question whether the medication prescribed to her was effective. The child in the orange shirt had AIDS and visibly open wounds on his head and toe. His mother died, and father had AIDS yet continued to work to support his family.
Maasai villagers & mud hut homes in Nkoilale
Visiting a primary school of girls in a local Maasai village in Nkoilale. View video here. Fellow women volunteers and I had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the students and briefly share our own individual paths to our professional careers.
Footage from the all-girls primary school in Kenya
In support of the global water crisis effort and awareness, I participated with the non-profit organization, Well Aware, in the successful drilling of a well for a Maasai village in rural Namanga, Kenya. My photographs documenting the event were exhibited at the Nordic Hall, Scandinavian Living Center in Newton, Massachusetts.
Having this new development in water resource meant less distance the children needed to travel to retrieve drinkable water on a daily basis, and thus spending more time in school. New community projects would be built around the water well to improve the area’s infrastructure.