Top 10 tips for volunteering at Nkoaranga Orphanage

The first few days of volunteering at Nkoaranga Orphanage (…or any new place, for that matter!) can be quite disorientating: you spend a lot a time feeling confused; a bit lost; trying hard to get your bearings. And then, after a while, all the little things which used to trip you up become second nature. From then on, it’s (fairly) plain sailing!  This week, we thought we’d ask former volunteers for one vital piece of advice from their time volunteering at the orphange, that we could share with you… and here are the results!
Adam with Miriam
1.
Don’t mix up “habari” (“how are you?”) with “hapana” (“no”), otherwise the kids will be very confused when you’re angrily saying, “HOW ARE YOU!” – Bekka Ross Russell (although it actually happened to someone else!)

2.
Have a huge pile of suitable-sized vests beside you when changing all the kids at once – it stops them getting chilly while you scramble about at the shelves trying to find something that fits! – Emma Shaw
3.
Picking little Frankie up, and then placing him back on the ground, is asking for trouble – his wails will let you know that you’ve done something wrong. And the only way to fix it is to pick him back up again! – Riz Kaiser

4.
Don’t wear any jewellery you don’t want having yanked off you/ going through a child’s digestive system! – Bekka Ross Russell
Frankie (aged 2 years)

5.
Folding some of the laundry can be such a huge help, and means that the Mamas have more time to bond with the kids. – Emily Butler

6.
Spend as much of your time as possible with the kids when you are there because they grow up so fast, and when you leave you want as many memories as possible of them. – Jasmine Alazawie

Left-right: Gracie (2), Philipo (2), Vicky (2), Frankie (2), Ebeneezer (2).

7.

Be aware of the stickiness that ensues when the kids are given mango to eat – it’s good to have a cloth at the ready! – Megan Williams


8.
Make a big effort to get to know all the Mamas’ names – it’s respectful, friendly and makes such a huge difference, plus, they know a lot more about the kids than you do! – Emma Shaw

Mama Faraja with baby Angel (now 3 months old)

9.

Ask the Mamas if there is anything you can help with, because half of the time they don’t feel they can ask you.  I felt like it made them respect you more and feel happier about you being there as you were willing to help them with the jobs that really needed doing, rather than just blundering about and cuddling the babies – Emily Butler

10.

Be open to experiences which will change your life forever. – Kristina Alexander

Saimoni (5) and Zawadi (3)
We hoped you enjoyed reading those! Before we go, Happy 1st Birthday to little Ebenezer!  Born on the 20th of March in 2012, he was very premature, resulting in him developing severe pneumonia as the result of a cold which was going around in the orphanage. Due to your generous donations, we were able to pay for him to receive the high quality hospital treatment he desperately needed – thank you! We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mama Linda, who came in every single day for 30 days to care for him on a one-to-one basis when he was newly born (the same care program little Peace benefited from!), giving him the care and attention that such a young baby needs. Thanks to you and Mama Linda, Ebenezer is now doing really well – always smiling and recently starting to crawl!
Newborn Ebenezer
Ebenezer with Mama Pendo after
leaving the hospital in Arusha
Ebeenezer (1) starting to crawl!
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