Kenya Adventure

Our friend Shannon Knisely traveled for a Kenya Adventure recently as a volunteer of the Global Autism Project and Ms. Knisely was nice enough 🙂 to give us her story and some fantastic photos.  Click on the icon photos for a full size.

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I spent 2 1/2 weeks in a suburb known as Karen, located approximately 30 miles outside of Nairobi, Kenya in May 2014. A small group of therapists who work with children with autism volunteered through a company based in New York, New York called Global Autism Project (a non-profit agency that establishes and maintains partnerships with autism schools around the world).

Global Autism Project sends a team of volunteers to each site 2 times per year and provides staff and family training, consultation, and support with program development for the children being served at these schools.  We spent 10 days with the amazing staff and children at Kaizora Consultants! Our focus for this trip was natural environment teaching (NET). I was amazed at how motivated and compassionate the staff members were at the center – so willing to learn! I noticed a sign on one of the walls of the school that said, “Children only learn as fast as we teach”. Love it!

About Nairobi:

Nairobi is the most populous city in east Africa as well as one of the most prominent cities in Africa.  This was mostly uninhabited in the late 1800s until it became a rail depot on a British owned railway that linked Mombasa (coastal city in southeastern Kenya) to the neighboring country of Uganda, on the western border of Kenya.

Our group stayed at a guesthouse in Karen called the Bush House. They provided us with breakfast and dinner each day, hot showers, laundry services (for an additional cost), and a community area with a t.v. and some couches.

 

I decided to have the guesthouse staff wash my laundry one time and they charged by the number of clothing (each piece of clothing cost 100 Kenyan Shillings which is equivalent to a little over 1 US dollar). We also washed laundry in our bathtub. This was a bit of a process – we mixed powder laundry detergent in hot water, filled up the bathtub, scrubbed our clothes and then let them soak in the soapy water for 1 hour. After an hour, it was time to rinse the clothes and hang dry. We resorted to hanging all of our wet clothes around our room to dry but were later informed that this attracts the mosquitos!! Must have mosquito nets at night!

Weather – the long rain season is from March – June (rain and temps mostly near 80 degrees)

Food – ugali- maize flour cooked in water until it forms a dough-like consistency; chapati – round flatbread; mendazi -Kenyan doughnut; Tusker – aka “elephant juice” – best beer in Kenya

Maasai – warriors that live in southern Kenya and Tanzania; known for jumping high, red clothing, jewelry

Masai Mara National Reserve – largest number of animals per square mile. We used the company Kenya Incentive Tours.

Mara Sarova – tented camp located in the Masai Mara National Reserve

Lessons learned in Kenya/tips:

1. Do not use ice in any beverages
2. Only drink bottled water
3. Wet clothing will attract Mosquitos if you hang them in a room with open windows
4. It IS ok to flush your toilet paper; we were told to use the trashcan initially and took a nice roll of doggie bags with us, but we’re told by the staff at the school a few days later that we were weird for thinking this 🙂
6. You must love french fries to survive
7. Matatus (public transportation) are NOT safe for tourists
8. Currency – Kenyan Shilling
 9. Vaccinations – yellow fever, polio, Hep A, tetanus, Tdap, typhoid fever (Kenya requires proof of vaccination for yellow fever if you are traveling from anywhere within Africa…even if you have a layover in Africa!)

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