To spend some time in Kisumu, Kenya puts your life back home in perspective. Life is different, but still very similar. You get a unique chance to live life as the Kenyans. Our volunteer house is located in the Nyalenda slum area, the house has good Kenyan standard. The house has four bedrooms and two toilets and a big garden surrounded by walls that give good security and privacy. The food is cooked together; the kitchen is well equipped with a gas stove, fridge and freezer. We do not have a dishwasher or washing machine, this is one of the daily tasks we do together.
The ten minutes walk from the road to the volunteer house is an experience every time. You will here the word Mzungo yelled after you a lot. Mzungo, which stands for white person was original meaning wanderer, from the first white people in East Africa. This should not be taken as an insultment, very few Mzungos get in to the slum area but there is quite a number in Kisumu town, where many help organizations has there base. A smile will be in your face most of the time and most are friendly towards mzungos. Smile and you will get a smile back. Some are though looking at a mzungos as they were wearing golden trousers and can be demanding, be friendly but frank.
A lot of the Kenyan food is based on flour of different kinds and a lot is deep fried and the main dish is Ogali, made out of maze flour and eaten with your hands. Other high frequently used ingrediens are tomatos, red onion and coriander. Do you have any restrictions or allergies, pleas let us know before arrival.
Kisumu is Kenya’s third biggest city, with approximately half a million inhabitants. The official languages are English and Kiswahili, Kenyan Swahili. Most people can talk some English and the children start learning English at the age of five. Communication is most often not a problem and it is easy to get in to the society. Some TV-channels broadcast English news, and there are daily news papers in English. Kenya consists of 42 different tribes and each tribe has its own mother tongue. In Kisumu most people belongs to the Luo tribe and Dholuois spoken. The tribe-system divide Kenyans and most look at themselves as Luos, Luyias, Kikuyus…rather than as Kenyans.
Kenya is an undeveloped nation, which is noticeable in the living standards, equality and politics. Kenya is a very green country and is the most developed out of the Eastern Africa countries. Kenya is corrupt; the corruption prevents further development and the gap between the rich and the poor is growing.
There is a lot to see and do in the Kisumu region; Masai Mara, Kakamega Forrest, Kitmikai and Impala Park are some of them. Friends Pioneer has cooperation with several other NGO’s in the area, which gives good possibilities for change of environment.