Guest stories!

Stories from our visitors

Hanna Gustafsson & Nathalie Jacobsson and their class visited Friends Pioneer Januar 2011

The visit to/in Nyalenda was an exciting, rewarding and an overwhelming experience. Once we arrived at Friends Pioneers guest house we realized how our everyday lives would look in the next coming 14 days. We quickly came into the routines and we were surrounded by wonderful hospitality and warm-hearted people!. The first impression we got was of all the garbage that was thrown all over where people lived and how bad it smelled because of this. The houses were either made of metal, concrete, clay or cow poop.

Everything worked well at the Guest house and we were well taken care of, we ate breakfast and dinner together with Joseph, Lucky and their friends every day. After a few days we felt safe and walked around on our own but we would not be outside after nine o’clock in the evening. The impression of the people was that they took it very easy, no stress, after a few days this philosophy affect us too and we got quickly into the way of living. Dining experience was something exotic and special but this was what we experienced the most stressful as well. We took preventive medications before the trip, but we were still effected by the food. We would recommend people visiting Kenya to stick to fruit and vegetables that can be peeled and eat fish. The fruits and vegetables that are washed in their tap water made our stomachs angry!

We visited St Josephs secondary school and Tip top school and became friends the children, youths and teachers. We were very impressed with the students’ ambitions! The atmosphere in school was joyful, much better then in Sweden. We organized clothing collections in Sweden before the trip, which we distributed to the schools. We got the chance to visit the National Park Masai Mara for a three-day safari, see the “big five” and visit the Masai-tribe. We highly recommend other students to visit Friends Pioneer in Nyalenda. What they do is extremely impressive, Joseph has a big heart. There is no school newspaper at our school but we will have two oral reports / presentations in March for all of our school.

//Hanna Gustafsson & Nathalie Jacobsson

Warm greetings from a warm Mwanza!   2010 December
Here everything is just great! Last night, we arrived at Mwanza, Joseph really helped us. He also sorted out a wonderful safari for us! There are so many thoughts and ideas now how to continue to work with Joseph and Friends Pioneer! He has lots of energy and good skills handling different cultures.
I visited the school, preschools and Guesthouse and we had contact throughout our visit in Kisumu.
Kisumu was hot, really hot but I like the city and the calmness it has.  
Nyalenda and Joseph’s project seems to be good for those who live there and Joseph is a fixer of the best standards! We will keep in touch and I am waiting for Joseph to come to Sweden again! I believe we can increase cooperation more!  We hope for the best in the future.  //Pija Johanson, Red Cross Folkhögskola

Sofi Karlsson Lund stayed at the Guesthouse June 2009 while doing the prestudy for a biogas project/their thesis.

Four weeks have passed and the place in my heart for Kenya is growing everyday! I’m vaguely starting to get an idea of what it’s like to actually be a Kenyan. You might see Africa as a continent of misery and famine…. I’m fortunate to realize that the ppl of Kisumu have enough food for the day and you don’t see the stereotypical malnutritioned children with pot bellies. Of course there are many other problems, like Most Kenyans struggle to earn money, especially after the riots in 2007. The economy is primarily based on monopoly (the government making sure that certain companies get privileges for bribes) and the big businesses are owned by Asians. The Kenyans don’t own their economy and there is a great lack of jobs. I’ve also become more skeptical towards foreign aid. There are many NGO’s working in Kisumu and I’ve learnt that some project are   because they fail to incorporate the community. So the locals get used to being “fed” without realizing that you have to work for it. (Not to underestimate the hard working Kenyan) but this has made the ppl passive in many ways. Another cultural clash is that Europeans/Americans are used to a faster pace in “the north”. Foreigners tend to forget that most african countries have only been independent for a bit less than 50 years. However there are prosperous Ngo projects. ex. if you’re tested HIV + you can join a group and get the meds free of charge. Speaking of the virus, I have a funny story that my Kenyan friend Ronny told me….a few yrs ago condoms were donated and imported from Asia. When the Kenyan co-coordinator took a look at them he said: this is not gonna work, they’re too small! so the condoms had to be sent back…so much for confirming the stereotypical view of african men;)

Anyway, I’m really enjoying my life down here. The weekend was amazing. On friday we watched the sunset by the Victoria lake while a massive storm approached us and at the end we were dancing in the pounding rain. On saturday we went to a hip hop jam and got down among the cool (naturally) lookin’ guys. A funny sight is when you see a big buff gangster-looking dude wearing an N’SYNC or a Betty Boop/Winnie the pooh T-shirt. They are keepin’ it real!

Stay cool/ Sofi
ps. i love the Kenyan pace, you walk slow, you talk slow (awkward silences don’t exist, you just enjoy it) and take you’re time to say hello.


Marcus Wendin

 I came in contact with Friends Pioneer 2003 when doing the project Springs Of Life in Orongo together with Engineers without border. Since than I have visited a couple of times and been doing development plans together. Also very exciting has been to have Joseph as visitor in Sweden! 

Follow my example, and contact Joesph!


Johanna, Kitimikay

Johanna, Kitimikay

Johanna Linder

 Hi! I have been visiting Kisumu and lived in Friends Pioneers Guesthouse three times, 2 months each time, with different purposes.

First year, summer 2007, I volunteered for the organization, with the purpose to get to know the country and the people, to prepare myself for my upcoming thesis, where I was going to do the research in Kisumu, trough a MFS-scholarship. Unfortunately the country was badly affected by the post-election-violence, and I couldn´t go. So I went to Egypt instead. But the longing for Kenya, my friends and my Kenyan family was too strong and after finishing the research in Cairo, I went straight down to Kenya.

The second time in Kenya brought more travelling around in the area of southwest Kenya and Uganda. But there were still time for some work with the organization. This was not the last time I went to Kenya!

The third time I collected money in Sweden prior to my trip and the we drilled a borehole in Kobala

Now I help out with this webpage, of course I have a sponsor child, Nancy. And if you have any questions about volunteer work, MFS-studies or just travelling around contact me or Joseph of course!__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Annevi Sjöberg 

Louise, me and Angela in Lake Nakuru National Park. The pink behind us are flamingos.

Louise, me and Angela in Lake Nakuru National Park. The pink behind us are flamingos.

 One of the most valuable periods of my life so far was the Autumn of 2007 when I got to experience a small part of fantastic Kenya. I have never felt as alive as I did during the three months I spent in the Guest House of Friends Pioneer in the outskirts of Kisumu and bicycled 6 km to the village where we did a Rainwater Harvesting project. We, in this case was myself and two classmates who did the Minor Field Study project as a part of our education and in co-operation with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Stockholm. The engagement and helpfulness of Joseph was invaluable for us three confused Westerners and he made sure that we got to feel a little bit more of “Kenya Kenya” (as he himself puts it) and less of ” Mzungo (white man) Kenya”. He did this by letting us stay at the Guest House in the middle of the slum surrounded by lively little kids and guiding us around Kisumu City. It was an unforgettable time filled with contrast, feelings, colours, smiles, poverty, warmth and insights about myself and the World outside…
I strongly recommend you to get in contact with Joseph (Friends Pioneer) who is a engaged and happy personality who does genuine efforts for homeless children in an economically poor, but out of many other perspectives rich Kisumu.
Smiles//Annevi Sjöberg


6 Responses to “Guest stories!”

  1. Gavin Says:

    I met Joseph while traveling with Engineers Without Borders – UW Madison. We stayed at the guest house while on our way to Orongo, Kenya in Auust, 2008 and had a wonderful nights rest.

    Good fun, good people, great place to stop off at.

  2. Alva Says:

    I came in contact with Joseph when he did a visit in our school, Valla Folkhögskola in Linköping, SWE.
    When Joseph where telling us about all the projects they were doing we got curious about if it could be true, did he do all that?
    We, the hole class divided into smaller groups, where going to Africa a few months later so me and Dahir decided to go there. When we got there we got surprised, he did even more!
    And not just that he’s doing well for the community and that everybody seems to like him; he is a great host and he got lovely friends and family!
    We had a real good time there. I hope I’m going back soon.

    Thanks so much everyone!

  3. Winston Ruben Says:

    you have an excellent weblog right here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  4. Peerfly Says:

    I come back to every single day!!

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