Phoebe, Becky, and Lauren recently joined us in Kenya to volunteer in a special needs program for and shared their story with us!
Phoebe is 21 years old and a recent college graduate from Rhode Island in the United States of America. Phoebe was placed at the Total Rehab Center in Kasarani, just outside of Nairobi where she met two other volunteers, Becky and Lauren. The three of them became good friends almost instantly. Becky is 21 years old and a recent college graduate from Devon, England and Lauren is 26 years old and from Utah. Even though the girls were volunteering for different amounts of time, their time and lives overlapped and now they will remain connected in life moving forward. They will remain connected with the shared experience but also the continued work into the future! Thank you so much for being part of Total Rehab ladies!
Ladies, why did you come to Kenya?
We came to Kenya with the mission to help others as much as possible and make a positive, long-lasting impact upon those around us. Although we arrived at different times for different lengths of time, we worked together to meet the needs of Total Rehab, a special needs child care center (orphanage). Phoebe was in Kenya for 2 months, Becky was here for one month and Lauren was here for three months.
Tell us a little bit about your placement- Total Rehab?
In this program, there are 28 children with special needs and three around the clock staff members. Part of our work here is to understand the needs of the placement and step in where we can to make a difference. We noticed that there was some struggles with bed bugs in the center. Together, we decided to create a donations page for our friends and family back home and within a week and a half, together with our friends and families back home for each of us, we raised enough to replace the 28 beds! We want to thank our friends and family for being part of this journey with us! Thank you!
Even though we were armed with enough monetary support to carry out the work, we still had a great deal of planning to do. It was not a situation where you can just have the beds come in and put in a room. Our kids here have special needs so planning out the bed arrangement in the room carefully was extremely important. We had to consider things like those who has limited mobility needing the bottom bunks or closer to an area of the room than others. We also had to consider seizures overnight and where the best bed placement for this child would be. Becky, Lauren and Phoebe spent ample time in this careful planning and did create a solid plan that would accommodate every child’s needs- all 28!
Our planning was not over yet though…. With bunk beds, they had to be properly put together for safety. Luckily while out and about in the community, we ran into an iron worker named Alex who agreed to assist in putting together these beds properly and safely for our kids. He even customized some of the beds for us for some of the kids with additional needs which was amazing! The best part about all of this is that the kids are happy and bug free now!
The next item on our agenda was fumigation to help make sure the problem would not resurface. Johnson, one of the staff members of Networks for Voluntary Services, helped us to set up the fumigation service for Total Rehab. We send huge thanks to Johnson, Natalie, and her husband for facilitating this service for our kids! The morning of the fumigation came and we removed all clothes, the mattresses, and food from the center. To prevent bed bugs from re-entering the house after fumigation, all clothes were washed and disinfected, and old mattresses were burned. The same fumigation company will be doing a 6 month check up to ensure that Total Rehab remains as bug free as possible. We appreciate the work of the fumigation company and the care they have for our kids at Total Rehab too!
New mattresses were the next step of this process since we burned the old ones and we worked hard to compare prices. We were able to work with Bobmil’s and within days, we had new mattresses!
This big project was finally completed on March 18th! The new beds, fumigation, and new mattresses were now part of Total Rehab!
So ladies, tell us about how your experiences impacted you
Everyone at the center is able to sleep soundly with the absence of bed bugs! Seeing all of the children smile, hearing their laughter, and feeling their joy during this whole process has been so heart warming and we are so incredibly happy to have made a long lasting impact on Total Rehab. After all, the kids at Total Rehab have made an impact upon us!
We feel proud to say we were able to work on projects that provided each child with their own toothbrush, contributing water dispensers and sippy cups to promote hydration and introducing storage bins to help organize all of the clothes in the bedroom. With these resources, sicknesses are less likely to spread and children are accessing more drinking water. Staff members are also having an easier time locating appropriate clothing after a child may soil themselves.
With all of these initiatives under our belt, we have left Total Rehab feeling joyful that we could do so much together in a short time. Though we are no longer in Kenya at the moment, we hope to continue to impact the community that has touched our hearts. While back in our home countries, we are still working together to sponsor the kids to go to school.
It has been an honor and privilege to have been surrounded by the happiest and most grateful children for the past few months. We would like to thank Total Rehab for grounding us, showering us with endless love, and teaching us lessons that will last a lifetime for us. We will always consider Total Rehab as our Kenyan family. Thank you for this fulfilling experience in life!
Networks for Voluntary Services wants to thank you ladies for sharing your story and project with everyone! The work you have done will well serve Total Rehab for many years to come! We hope you will return again soon!
Interested in volunteering in Kenya with Networks for Voluntary Services? You can! We have placements available in special needs care, education (sports, music, special needs, and general teaching). Our locations are many throughout Kenya! You can choose the greater Nairobi area, further east of Nairobi in Naivasha area or even at our beautiful coast in Mombassa! We are currently working on new placement opportunities that will involve conservation and wildlife so stay tuned for that in the future.
You can contact us for more information by visiting us online at http://www.networksforvoluntaryserviceskenya.com Click the Volunteer tab and fill in your information which generates an interest ticket to our office. Someone in our office will then respond with the steps to register.