Where did you serve?
I served in two orphanages: Children’s Hope Home in Gathiga and Ebenezer Home in Kihara, both suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. Currently there are over one hundred children who have found shelter in these orphanages. The children are between the ages of 3 and 18 and descend from very poor families or directly from the streets. Hunger, HIV, neglect, lack of attention and love has been part of the children’s lives since birth.
Were there any moments of culture shock that really stood out?
Doing laundry in cold buckets of water by hand was a challenge! It took me three hours to do two loads. After that, I decided to not do laundry again and just wear dirty clothes.
What organization did you serve with? Does it have a UCLA connection?
I volunteered through International Volunteer HQ out of New Zealand. It does not have a UCLA connection.
Why did you choose this organization and location?
I researched volunteering abroad online. IVHQ was affordable and had my criteria. It had to be working in an orphanage in Kenya, and IVHQ had that exact placement!
What lessons have you learned from your volunteer experience?
Patience. Opportunity is a gift that Americans are given by birthright that is often taken for granted. Family is important. You don’t need to speak a stranger’s language to ‘speak’ love. Talk to strangers. Listen more. Hug a little tighter, smile a little more, stress a little less.
The More You Know
|Number of Children orphaned by AIDS in Kenya||1100|
|Service Organizaiton||International Volunteer HQ|