“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. .” ~William James
How to prepare for your trip
A valid passport is required to travel to Kenya. Please make sure your passport does not expire within six months from the date you will be arriving in Kenya. Renew your passport early.
If you don’t have a passport yet, please apply for one immediately, as they take a long time to get sometimes. To find out where to apply for a new passport or renew your current one, go to https://www.usa.gov/passport.
You need a Visa to enter Kenya. Kenyan visas are applied for online and prior to travel.
The application process takes only 2-3 days but I recommend submitting your application at least a few weeks early. The cost of a tourist visa is $50. To learn more about visas to Kenya, go to the Kenya Embassy website here; http://www.kenyaembassy.com/visa.html.
There is no special visa for volunteers.
To apply for visa online, go to the electronic visa application website; http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html.
You will need to upload a passport size photo and a copy of the passport for the online application to be complete. Photos can either be scanned or taken by a mobile phone. The system can resize the photo automatically to fit in the photo size required.
If you intend to visit neighbouring countries like Tanzania and Uganda, please ask for a Multiple Entry Visa.
A Kenyan Visa is valid for three months initially. For those who might be planning to stay for a period longer than three months to tour the country, Azma International staff will help you to renew your Visa at the relevant embassy after your visa expires.
Non-U.S. citizens should contact the nearest embassy/consulate regarding any additional documents that may be required.
Here is a list of Kenyan embassy and consulates in the US; http://www.kenyaembassy.com/contact.html.
Please consult your personal physician or one that specializes in international travel medicine about the vaccinations you will need. To learn more about the recommended vaccinations for Kenya, go to CDC’s website at; https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/kenya?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before the trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Recommended vaccinations include;
4. Dress code
Clothing that is fashionable and appropriate in the USA and Europe may project a provocative image in another culture. Leave the revealing clothing at home. There are cultural differences to note.
The principle factor to be aware of especially for a woman traveling alone is that you may attract unwanted attention in certain areas of Africa and Latin America (in the form of catcalls and the like) if you dress in short skirts or really short shorts, or wear spaghetti straps.
Likewise, you may be seen as disrespectful in you have uncovered shoulders, knees, or the heels of your feet as you enter a Buddhist temple. Also, check on the weather for the period you will be in the host country and pack appropriately.
5. Coping with jet lag
If you’ve ever done any long distance travel, you’ve probably experienced jet lag and the host of symptoms that accompanies it – dehydration, nausea, swollen feet, fatigue, headaches, dry eyes and disrupted sleep patterns, among others.Jet lag occurs when your body’s internal clock – known as the circadian clock – is out of sync with your surroundings.
Crossing time zones is the main cause of jet lag, although a number of factors, including cabin pressure, stale air and high altitude also contribute to this unpleasant travel-related condition. International travelers who pass through more than one time zone are especially susceptible to jet lag. On long trips, however, travelers should try to adjust to their new time zones as quickly as possible.
It is always best that you adjust to the local time as soon as possible.
You can try;
– avoid late afternoon naps. Try to stay awake during the day in your first few days in the new country, until your normal bedtime that you usually go to bed at home.
– explore options for sleep aids with your doctor prior to your trip. You will likely wake up in the middle of the night and find it extremely difficult to get back to sleep.
– drink lots of water. Prevent dehydration by drinking a lot of water before you get on the plane and during your flight.
What to Bring on Missions
Packing for a mission trip requires careful planning. Factors to consider include type of mission, weather at your destination, culture, required dress code and much more.
Once you sign up for a trip, we will send you an orientation booklet with a packing checklist specific to your mission trip.[/vtab]
1) Personal care items; tooth brush, tooth paste, contact lenses, shampoo, sunscreen, towels and other toiletries you normally use.
2) Comfortable pair of shoes, such as trainers/sports shoes
3) Clothing – Keep in mind the temperature and environment you will be working in. Light, cotton clothing that covers your whole body is ideal for sun and insect bites. Pack a set of warmer clothes as well for the night and chilly mornings, depending on your location. We will advise on the best type of clothes to pack for the specific location of your mission.
4) All personal medication. Pack at least three weeks supply of any prescription medication you are on. Most over the counter medications are cheaply available in Kenya, however, we advise bringing two weeks supply for anything you take regularly.
5) Medical Kit ideally including the following; aspirin or a similar pain reliever, antihistamine for relief from allergy or bites, anti-diarrheal, scissors and tweezers, band aids, antiseptic for cuts and grazes, lip balm and insect repellant.
6) Music and other entertainment for long travel, airport layovers and down time.
7) Books! There are good book stores in the main city area, but it might be a few days before you get to one. Bring many books with you if you like reading. They will come in handy during airport layovers too!
8) Copies of important travel documents such as passport, travel insurance, Visas, plane tickets and passport photos.
GSM – capable cell phone if you need one. You can buy a SIM card or cheap phone once you arrive in the new country, if you need one
9) A small padlock for securing bags and valuables.
10) Small bag for taking your camera, water, snacks and materials to mission sites
12) Sun-glasses and hat
13) Cameras and chargers
16) Journal and pens to keep a diary
b) Medical Supplies
We deeply appreciate and highly encourage volunteers to bring your own medical assessment equipment if you have access to some. We will do our best to ensure safety of all medical equipment on the ground.
Also, most of the equipment we use in third world countries are older or outdated so if you have access to medical tools that you are familiar with, that will be a great advantage for you. The more medical equipment and supplies available during the clinic, the more people we can attend to.
Medical tools; Blood pressure cuffs, Thermometers, Glucometers, Otoscope, Ophthalmoscope, Pulse ox, Stethoscope etc
Medicines; Antibiotics, Pain and Fever relief (Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen), Multivitamins ( MultiVitamins + Iron, Children’s Chewable, Prenatal vitamins ), First aid essentials.
Hygiene products; Soap, Sanitary towels, Tooth brushes and Tooth paste, Vaseline, Band aids. We will donate hygiene products to children in schools and orphanages.
We strongly encourage all volunteers to bring some medical supplies or equipment. The more supplies and equipment we have, the faster and the more patients we can serve.
Click here to join a trip.