Ingrids Centre is a great start for volunteers who want to visit for a day or week around Nairobi. Douglas Onkware and his wife Grace and twin brother Eric are wonderful, trustworthy dedicated people who really care - they'll take you around, let you see places and get with Kenyan life - an awesome introduction. I would highly recommend them. They were using 2nd hand, 10 year old text books for the teachers and not the current curriculum - so I donated new text books for teachers, food for the lunches of the kids, and an old laptop. Unfortunatly it doesnt have much memory so .. it wont operate with the internet - an you advise all volunteers that any laptops are a wonderful learning source and are great to donate - I found some on eBay that had been reconditioned (200AUS$)and a computer warehouse (old ones for 25$). Nearly anything else is so much cheaper over there - and it gives help to the wider community - also save on transport costs. Best to fundraise for cash then when a need arises - so much CHEAPER to buy there (sanitary pads, school books, pencils, toothpaste, toothbrushes, schoolbags etc).
Re. costs..... a cheap hotel, caban be about 1500 Kenyan shillings a night around the river road area (about 23 $AUS) but Eric has a room for volunteers and a very reasonable cost can be worked out.Volunteers would be picked up and taken to school and brought back.
At JNMCC I gave Edward 3000Ksh for the couple of days there - plus the laptop some waterbottles, 50$ for internet use for Leo and a few other smaller things, did also a supermarket shop for some supplies for them last time it was about 35 USD per week for food and accommodation. A matatu from Kisumu to Maseno is 70 shillings and a motorbike from Maseno to Mercy I think was 200 shillings (I think). The cost of food has risen a lot for them, rice about $2 a kilo. and other basics a lot more than they were. I noticed even red beans had gone up - not sure to how much but many could not afford these anymore and they are a very basic food. There was NO fruit, cordial, meat of any description (not even fish bones!) when I stayed for the 3 nights.
[Travelling around] .. try to budget for about GBP12 - 18 for food, accommodation and transport per day. This would give a lot of change in the country or villages but about spot on in Nairobi. Then consider extra - bottled water 70 shillings for 1 litre, but boiled is fine to drink, toilet paper (a must for me - you can use leaves) chocolate or biscuits for late night munchies, and any souveniers, and or trips. Its always appreciated to bring, give, teach and share.
[Great advice from Marie, who gave so much in this latest trip.]
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