Making a Difference in Kenya

Nooshin Shabani, contributor to GoNOMAD, works for The Global Volunteer Network, a private, non-government organization based in New Zealand that connects volunteers with villages, schools, orphanages, mobile health clinics and environmental projects in countries suffering extreme poverty. In this article Shabani exposes readers to the overwhelming poverty in Kenya through the eyes of Mark Jenner, 18, a volunteer from the United Kingdom: Volunteering in Kenya: From the Safari to the Relief Station.

“This was one of the shocking realities Mark and the other GVN volunteers came to terms with, the impact of tourism if not responsible, made the rich richer while the poor silently suffer. Mark was happy he chose to volunteer rather than go on holiday.

‘One of my most shocking moments was when I visited my fellow volunteer at Kibera slums, the levels of poverty were overwhelming. About five minutes after I walked out of the slums, we came across a huge western supermarket which has everything you would typically find in a market,’ Jenner says. ‘Kibera was shocking, but the contrast between the slums and the supermarket was unbelievable, it spoke a lot about how drastically wealth is polarized in Kenya.’

Although Kenya is very dependent on money generated from international tourists, the local people do not feel nor see the benefits in their community, instead they see holidaymakers swimming in pools while they work all day waiting for rainfall to grow their crops.