If you are looking for a vacation where you are not a consumer but a builder and dream maker, then come with us to the western highlands of Kenya, where the lush hillsides cradle footpaths through mud hut villages, coffee, tea and banana plantations and one of the fastest growing populations in Kenya. Nestled in the western highlands is Kisii town, which is an agricultural mecca, but the rapid growth has left many without proper housing and much overcrowding. There is little electricity outside the main part of town and water is still brought up from 18-foot deep wells.
If you are not afraid of hard work, very basic living conditions and the opportunity to make a tremendous impact in someone’s life, then come with us. We promise the rewards far outweigh the cost.
A women tends to her child at a mud-and-daub house in Athiru, Kenya.
Kenya is known for its successful agricultural production and for its breathtaking scenery and wildlife. The beauty of Kenya’s scenic western highlands and Lake Victoria basin, however, sharply contrast the daily struggle for survival that many Kenyans face. Frequent political violence has marred many efforts to help the people of Kenya. In recent decades, government-induced reforms have improved economic conditions, but an estimated 42 percent of Kenyans still live below the poverty line, and 50 percent of its citizens are unemployed.
About Habitat for Humanity Kenya
Habitat for Humanity has maintained a favorable presence in the country since Habitat Kenya was formed in 1982. Habitat Kenya operates through over 80 active community groups.
In rural areas, most families live in mud-and-daub houses with thatch roofs. These houses are difficult to maintain and provide a breeding ground for insects, termites and rodents. Habitat is building houses in Kenya by utilizing the resources available in local areas, constructing with timber, stone or stabilized soil bricks, depending on the location.
Types of construction for volunteers
All Habitat Kenya-sponsored houses have masonry walls, concrete floors and foundation slabs and corrugated iron-sheet roofs. The houses are built with fired brick, stabilized soil block or rough stone.
Day 1, typically Saturday: Depart from home.
Day 2, Sunday: Travel day; arrive by evening; greeted by HFH Kenya staff and transported to dinner and overnight stay at a Nairobi guesthouse.
Day 3, Monday: Breakfast at guesthouse; orientation; travel to HFH Kenya project site; welcome and introduction; dinner at team’s bed-and-breakfast guesthouse.
Days 4–8, Tuesday–Saturday (workdays): Breakfast at the guesthouse each morning; build from 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up and have team activities.
Day 9, Sunday: Attend a local church service; engage in a local cultural activity (varies based on project location).
Day 10, Monday: Build in the morning; lunch at the build site; farewell ceremony in the afternoon.
Day 11, Tuesday: Travel to Nairobi; free time and team dinner with HFH Kenya staff; overnight in Nairobi guesthouse.
Day 12, Wednesday: Depart for home.
* Optional 3-night/4-day Masai Mara National Reserve safari planned. Cost and dates not included. If interested, please speak to one of the team leaders.
Teams traveling to Kenya will spend their first and last nights at a Nairobi guesthouse. Throughout the rest of the trip, team members will stay at modest bed-and-breakfast guesthouses at their project location, with double-occupancy rooms. Dinners will be provided at the guesthouse each night, with lunch, snacks and water provided daily on the build site.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!
Melinda Harvey got hooked on building houses during a trip to Northern Mexico. She came back and decided that she wanted to continue to combine her love of travel and culture with her desire to make a difference in someone’s life. Her first trip with Habitat came two years later to rural Zambia. She has lead two trips since then, to Kenya and Costa Rica. When not traveling with Habitat, Melinda lives in Connecticut, raises Portuguese water dogs and is the executive director of a housing authority.
Jamillah Muhammad lives in Reston, Va. and has been a Habitat for Humanity volunteer for the past three years with the Northern Virginia affiliate as a family partner. She loves photography, music and travel. In her eyes, to be able to combine travel with service and helping others is one of the greatest ways to see the world. She has participated on Global Village builds in South Carolina, Costa Rica and Kenya.