Service Learning In Kenya | QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
Service Learning in Kenya offers high school aged students the chance of a lifetime. To travel to rural Kenya, Africa, where they will teach in local schools, experience cultural interaction and participate in community service, go on a wildlife safari, and more!
Service Learning, Kenya, American Students, Travel to Africa, Experiential Education, Cultural Interaction, Community Service, Safari, Mt. Kenya Hike
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QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the SLIK program

Where will I stay on my trip to Kenya?
While in Kenya students will be staying at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center, located in Naro Moru, Kenya.

The group will also have a three-day safari to *Samburu Game Reserve, one of Kenya’s premier locations for seeing the wildlife for which the country is famous. This park is three hours north of Batian’s View and located along the Ewaso Nigro River. On safari the group stays in a rustic tented camp along the river.

*Should for some reason we don’t go to Samburu Game Reserve we will spend the same amount of time at a comparable game park.

When is the next Slip trip?
The next SLIK trip dates are as follows:

June 16, 2020 – Depart for Kenya
June 17 – July 10, 2020 – SLIK program
July 11, 2020 – Return home

How much is tuition?

Tuition: $4,300.00. A non-refundable deposit of $500.00 is due March 2.

*Tuition does not include airfare, which last year was between $2,200.00 and $2,400.00.

What is the group size limit per SLIK session?

The group size is limited to 16 participants and will fill on a first come first serve basis.

What can I expect to do during my SLIK trip?
VOLUNTEER TEACHING:
The focus of SLIK is for American students to serve as volunteer teachers and one of the many schools near Batian’s View in Naro Moru, Kenya. Typically, two Americans are assigned to one school, where they teach students of all ages and soon become a part of the school community. To help the students get ready they have classes about Kenya’s education system from the headmasters of the schools they will be volunteering. Kenyan teachers at their respective schools then assist the Americans in lesson planning, teaching techniques, and classroom management strategies. The students eventually prepare their own lessons and teach in the classroom on their own. The school day begins at 7:45 and ends at 3:00 PM. The Kenyan students are then required to remain at school until 5:00 PM for tutoring, club meetings, attending athletic or drama practices, or assisting with school maintenance projects. The American students are involved in this part of the school day too. This is an opportunity for the students to focus on an area that interests them most. This is also the best opportunity for the Americans to work with the Kenyan students in small groups or in one on one tutoring sessions. At the end of the school day the students will either walk back to Batian’s View or be picked up by vehicle.

COMMUNITY SERVICE:
The Americans spend at least two days actively assisting in a school improvement project. The goal for the 2020 SLIK program is to build a new library at Kambura-ini Primary School. Students will help dig out dirt for the foundation, mix cement, carry building stones, and many other tasks that go into such a project. Be prepared for manual labor!
CULTURAL INTERACTION:
Students spend the bulk of their days interacting with Kenyan teachers and students at their respective schools. Students also have an opportunity to visit the homes of Kenyans living in a rural area and gain a firsthand understanding of their lifestyle. It is not uncommon for the Americans to be a part of afternoon soccer matches organized by a local soccer team of Kenyan high school students. The SLIK students also hear stories from local elders who were part of Kenya’s struggle for independence in the 1950s.
LEARNING:
The students will have a variety of evening classes related to Kenya’s history, natural history, teaching techniques, and Kiswahili language training.
WILDLIFE SAFARI:

A three-day safari to Samburu Game Reserve where the group stays in a rustic tented camp and experiences the wildlife for which this area is famous.
EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION:
A day will be spent with intensive leadership and team building activities on the high and low challenge course at Batian’s View. Kenyan teenagers from local high schools may also be a part of this activity.

What will I learn while in Kenya with SLIK?
• To become functional in basic Kiswahili.*
• To gain an understanding of the third world economy and the difficulties in moving past this status.
• To experience teaching in a government primary school in rural Kenya.
• To be a responsible and aware international traveler.
• To experience the daily life of a rural Kenyan family.
• To realize the challenges of maintaining tourism based on wildlife and a growing population.
• To understand the impact of tourism on the economy of a developing country.
• To become familiar with the cultural geography of Kenya.
• To be a part of a significant school community service project.
• To visit one of Kenya’s unique game parks and witness the wildlife of East Africa.
• To understand the specific and long lasting impact of colonialism on Kenya.
• To experience four days of hiking on Mt. Kenya, and to learn how to be safe and comfortable in this challenging environment.

*Enrolled students will have access to an on-line Kiswahili language training. Even a simple understanding of the language will go a very long way in one’s interactions with the Kenyans he or she will meet.

What are some other possible activities during the Kenya experience?
Throughout the trip the students will hear presentations about Kenya’s history, economy, and language taught by the faculty at Batian’s View. There will also be time for long walks along the Naro Moru River and visits to the local market. In fact, every few days the students will be responsible for buying the group’s vegetables and fruit at the village market. Batian’s View is located at 7,000’ on the slopes of Mt. Kenya and only 5 miles from the Mt. Kenya National Park boundary. After school the students have time to explore the forest on Batian’s View property, which is bordered by the Naro Moru river. Across the river is the Mt. Kenya National Forest, which offer long hiking trails and amazing view of the surroundings.

 

One day may be spent at Sweetwaters Game Reserve, a one-hour drive from Batian’s View. Here the students may see giraffe, zebra, cape buffalo, hippo, elephant and lion. Within Sweetwaters is a chimpanzee refuge, one of three that were begun by Jane Goodall. This refuge holds roughly 25 chimps, some of which were rescued from shop owners that kept the chimps in cages to attract buyers. Now there are second-generation chimps that are learning how to live in the wild.

 

On this same day the group might visit the town of Nanyuki, which lies on the equator. Here there are larger shopping markets for personal purchases and an opportunity to buy souvenirs. The students have time to explore the town and have lunch in one of the many small cafes.

 

The group has a three-day safari to *Samburu Game Reserve, one of Kenya’s premier locations for seeing the wildlife for which the country is famous. This park is three hours north of Batian’s View and located along the Ewaso Nigro River. The group stays in a rustic tented camp and with some very welcomed luxuries. A typical day begins before sunrise with the group slowly driving along the river or across the savannah viewing animals. The pace is slow and conducive to closely watching the animals’ behaviors and for careful photography. As the sun climbs and the day becomes warm, the animals are typically less active and the group returns to camp for a late breakfast. The afternoons are for classes about the local ecosystem, the Samburu (the dominant tribe of the area), or Kiswahili practice. In the late afternoon the animals become active again and this brings a long afternoon game drive, returning to camp before dark.

*Should for some reason we don’t go to Samburu Game Reserve we will spend the same amount of time at a comparable game park.

What is Batian’s View Experiential Education Center?
Batian’s View served as the East Africa branch of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS East Africa) from 1976 to early 2003. The facility consists of three large buildings for the office, library, meeting room, equipment storage, kitchen and food preparation, dining area, first aid room, and plenty of places for the students to relax, study and ‘hang-out’.

 

There are two self-contained homes on the property and four other multi-room cabins that serve as faculty and student housing; room for up to 35 people. The property is located on ten acres of land at an elevation of ‘7,000 next to the Naro Moru River.  Across the river is national forest land with endless opportunities for long walks or trail runs.

 

Mr. Roberts worked at the NOLS East Africa branch from 1986 to 1999 as a field instructor and branch director before returning to the US and settling in Tucson, Arizona. In March of 2003, however, NOLS announced the closure of the NOLS East Africa branch. Mr. Roberts, and his wife, Elizabeth Goodwin, having very close ties to the facility and community, made a proposal to NOLS to purchase the property with a commitment to use it as an experiential education center for East Africans. NOLS accepted the offer and today Mr. Roberts and Ms. Goodwin own the facility and are assisted in its maintenance by two long-time friends and colleagues, Peter Kafuna and Mary Wairimu.  Having lived in Kenya for so long, Mr. Roberts developed many strong relationships with the people living near Batian’s View and the other locations that are part of the SLIK trip. This allows the American students to be embraced and introduced to the Kenyan culture as few other visitors could.

Who make up the faculty at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center?
Fred Roberts:
Batian’s View Co-Director and SLIK trip leader.
SLIK founder and trip leader Fred Roberts lived in Kenya from 1986 to 1999 and owns the facility where the students stay while in Kenya. Mr. Roberts has been offering this trip since 2005 and is close friends with the teachers and headmasters that work with the Americans. His close relationships with the community open doors to life in rural Kenya that few visitors ever experience.

Elizabeth Goodwin:

Batian’s View Co-Director.

Ms. Goodwin first came to Kenya in 1987 as a NOLS East Africa student. She returned in 1990 to join Mr. Roberts and for the next five years split her time between Naro Moru and Lake Baringo in northern Kenya, where she was a consultant for a land rehabilitation program. She went on to earn her Masters Degree from the University of London studying the role of women and rural development in Naro Moru. Ms. Goodwin is the CFO of Batian’s View, overseeing finances, human resources, and setting policies and procedures for the efficient operations of Batian’s View.
Peter Kafuna:
Batian’s View Co-Manager.
Mr. Kafuna was a field instructor with NOLS for 11 years instructing students in Kenya and Wyoming. At the NOLS East Africa branch Mr. Kafuna served as Operations Manager for three years. Mr. Kafuna currently chairs the Mt. Kenya Tour Operators Association, a group that promotes activities around Mt. Kenya while also supporting wilderness conservation and wise land management policy. Mr. Kafuna oversees the curriculum at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center and supervises team building and leadership programs for a wide variety of groups in Kenya.

Mary Wairimu:
Batian’s View Co-Manager.
Ms.Wairimu is a graduate of the NOLS East Africa semester course in 1988. She began working at NOLS East Africa in 1990 and became the Issue Room manager in 1995. Ms. Wairimu also spent two summers working in the equipment departments of the NOLS Rocky Mountain and NOLS Alaska branches. Ms. Wairimu oversees the Batian’s View facility, staff, and operations. Mr. Kafuna and Ms. Wairimu live on the property, and are often visited by their three grown children.

What are the responsibilities of the students?

Students are expected to come ready for a very new experience, adapt to a group living situation, and be open to new cultures and customs. Experiencing a foreign country requires flexibility, an open mind, and the maturity to accept responsibility for yourself and others. Failure to follow SLIK’s policies regarding tobacco, illegal drug, and alcohol use, as well as the expectations set by Mr. Roberts, could result in expulsion from the trip.

What options are available for medical assistance?
In the event that a member of the trip needs medical assistance, there are several options for treatment. While not all hospitals in Kenya are as well-equipped as in the U.S.A., there are two primary medical facilities with which Mr. Roberts had much experience while with NOLS East Africa. The first is Nairobi Hospital. This is a private, well-run, well-equipped hospital with expert staff. In his experience Mr. Roberts found the care provided to the students of NOLS East Africa to be quite comparable to what would be found in the States. *Since the beginning of SLIK in 2005, no SLIK students have needed to go to Nairobi Hospital for care.

 

Closer to Batian’s View is Nanyuki Cottage Hospital. This is a small private hospital capable of running lab tests and taking x-rays. Only 30 minutes from Batian’s View, this is the initial care provider in case of an illness or injury. While visits to this hospital are infrequent, cases of sinus infections or flu like symptoms have been treated there. Fred Roberts and Peter Kafuna are Wilderness First Aid Responder trained and experienced in handling medical emergencies. There is a well-equipped first aid kit at Batian’s View for cuts, scrapes, and mild illness.

What options are available for communication between Kenya and home?
There are several options for communications between home and Kenya during the trip.

1. LETTERS:
Please allow ten to 14 days for delivery. The address in Kenya is:

Batian’s View
Student’s Name
P. O. Box 159
Naro Moru, Kenya 10105

 

2. CELL PHONE:
Fred Roberts will have a cell phone with him the entire time in Kenya. That number is 254-712-146903. The cell phone number for Mary Wairimu, Co-manager at Batian’s View is 254-722-292998. The Batian’s View office cell phone number is 254-727-860287. Kenya is 10 hours ahead of Tucson, so if it is noon in Tucson it is 10 PM in Kenya. Please call before 10 AM Tucson time.

To access an international line press 011 first.

 

3. E-MAIL & INTERNET:

Students have access to a communal computer and internet service at Batian’s View for email.  Many students bring their own cell phones, and with prior arrangement with the carrier international calls can be made.  Texting and email from one’s cell phone are another options.

4. DAILY DISPATCH FROM KENYA:
Each day a student will write a daily dispatch that will be posted on a public website and sent by email to the families. We try to do this daily, but due to our schedule or lack of wifi service we may miss a day here and there. In the past these dispatches have been a lot of fun for the readers and have provided great insight to the writer’s experience in Kenya.

Will I need a passport for my trip to Kenya?

You will need a valid passport for the duration of your stay and that does not expire within six month of the return date to the US. The passport must also have at least two blank pages for travel. If you do not have a passport, get one immediately. Keep a photocopy of your passport I.D. page in a separate place and bring this to Kenya. This will speed up the reissue process if your passport is lost.

Will I need a travel visa for my trip to Kenya?
Yes, a visa is required for US citizens to visit Kenya. All the information you need may be found at the Los Angeles Kenya Consulate website at this LINK on the home page is a tab for OUR SERVICES, and from the menu select VISA SERVICES. This takes you to the online visa processing system which is very easy to use and allows you to get the visa within two working days. To begin the on-line visa application select the tab for Single Entry Visa Application. There will be fields for your name, address, and passport number.  You will also need to provide information shown below about the reason for entry and contact information in Kenya.

SELECT A POINT OF ENTRY BY AIR: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi

REASON FOR ENTRY: Tourism

FULL NAMES AND PHYSICAL ADDRESS:

Batian’s View Experiential Education Center
P.O. Box 150
Naro Moru, Kenya

EMAIL – info@batiansview.com

Documents to be scanned and uploaded:

  1. Photo page of your passport.
  2. Other documents; a plane ticket or communication from the travel agent that you have a confirmed booking on a flight.
  3. Two passport photos.

Once the application is complete you pay $51.00.  After a couple of days the visa will be sent to you by email for you to print and put in your passport.

What is the Dress Code for my trip to Kenya and Naro Moru?

Your dress and composure will affect how you are perceived in Kenya. Kenyan dress standards are much more conservative than in the United States, particularly for women. While traveling from Tucson to Nairobi wear clothing that is comfortable and presentable. At Batian’s View it is fine to wear long shorts and t-shirts, probably with a sweatshirt close by as it tends to be cold. What is not acceptable is an exposed mid-drift, sagging, short shorts, or tank tops. There are many people working at Batian’s View and such attire would be considered rude.

 

During the internship women should wear a dress that extends just below the knees and a shirt what covers the shoulders. Nice looking pants are also acceptable. Men are required to wear long pants and a collared shirt. Athletic shoes or dress shoes are acceptable while sandals or Tevas are not. This is to have a professional appearance in the classroom and some of the schools have dirt floors, and long expose to dust and dirt may invite infection or skin irritation.

What are some suggestions regarding valuables and personal safety?
International travel and living in a different country require a greater awareness to one’s personal safety and personal belongings. Being organized, self-contained and minimizing the amount of your personal effects will help make the trip a smooth one.

 

While at Batian’s View there will be adult supervision at all times. Throughout the night a security officer watches over the compound. This is not to make sure our students remain in their cabins after a specific hour, but for the overall security of Batian’s View. There are a few simple guidelines for the students to follow while at Batian’s View, such as not leaving the compound after dark, not leaving the compound alone, and when leaving the compound in small groups always informing an adult of the destination and time of return. These, and other guidelines, will be covered in more detail when the group reaches Batian’s View.

 

Personal valuables such as plane tickets, extra cash and valuable jewelry are stored in the safe at Batian’s View. It is not recommended to bring expensive watches or jewelry. A simple watch with an alarm is adequate.

How much money should I bring and how do I exchange US dollars for Kenyan shillings?

While in Kenya all meals, transport, park entry fees, and accommodation are covered by the student tuition. Additional expenses such as gifts, personal purchases, and extra food or beverage items at restaurants will be the student’s responsibility. There is also a small shop at Batian’s View that sells notebooks, pens, candy bars, and soda.

 

Assuming a student wants to purchase a few gifts and take home moderately priced souvenirs, $250.00 of spending money should be adequate. Each student, however, knows his or her own tastes and should budget accordingly. It is recommended to take traveler’s checks or cash in denominations of $100s, $20s and $10s. $100 dollar notes must date 2010 or later. Banks will not accept earlier dates due to concerns of counterfeit. Upon arrival in Nairobi change $200.00 into Kenyan shillings and keep some US dollars for the trip home.

 

While students are at Batian’s View all valuables are stored in a locked safe and only accessed when needed. American Express and Visa are widely accepted in Kenya. There is also an ATM machine at the Barclay’s Bank in Nanyuki, roughly 40 minutes from Batian’s View.

What should I know about vaccinations and medical information?

Regulations and recommendations for vaccinations for international travel can change. A reliable source of information for current requirements and recommendations is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/travel/eafrica.htm, focusing on travel in East Africa.

 

To guard against infection while traveling in a foreign country, routine immunizations should be current. These would include tetanus and diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella, and polio. In addition, vaccinations may be recommended or required for illness not commonly experienced in the U.S. Currently there are no inoculations required for travel between Kenya and the U.S.A.; however, consult with your physician if you have any questions after reviewing the website above.

 

Inoculations should be recorded in the yellow document, “International Certificate of Vaccination,” available from the U.S. Public Health Service (Health and Welfare in Canada) or from your doctor. If you wear eyeglasses, record your prescription in the booklet as well. The same is true if you have any special medical problems such as diabetes, allergies, etc. A letter from your physician describing personal prescription medications may be helpful. If you have unique personal medications, eyeglasses etc., bring spares.

 

What is the likelihood of contracting Malaria?

Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. As in equatorial regions around the world, malaria exists in East Africa. There is a lower risk of malaria in the highlands and Mt. Kenya, which is where we will be spending most of our time. Batian’s View is located at 7,000’ on the west side of Mt. Kenya and the evening temperatures are in the high 40s or low 50s. We will, however, be spending time in the warmer environment of Samburu Game Reserve, where malaria may be found. It is not required that a traveler to Kenya take a malaria prophylaxis, but before making this decision it is advisable to do your own research and talk with your primary care physician.

 

Some tropical diseases you may be exposed to in Kenya could take a few weeks (or rarely even a few months or years) before producing noticeable signs and symptoms. A post trip check-up with your primary physician may be appropriate.

What should I know about the Mt. Kenya Trek?

After two weeks of teaching and becoming part of the community surrounding Batian’s View, the students experience a four-day hike to one of Kenya’s most amazing locations, Mt. Kenya. Reaching an elevation of 17,055’, Mt. Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa. Students follow the popular Naro Moru track as they slowly ascend the mountain. To keep pack weight to a minimum, several porters help carry communal gear such as tents, food and cooking supplies. The pace of the hike is slow so each hiker may become accustomed to the physical work at a higher elevation. The ultimate goal is reaching the summit of Pt. Lenana at 16,355’, the highest point one can reach without technical climbing gear. This is a challenging hike as the group begins in the mountain’s forest and moves through several distinct ecological zones before reaching the upper region of rock and ice. No previous hiking experience is necessary but participants must be ready for long days on the trail, carrying a 30 pound backpack, and the possibility of rain and cold weather. No special gear is needed and Batian’s View is able to provide the necessary clothing, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. It is highly recommended that students bring their own boots that they have already broken in and are comfortable wearing for long hikes.