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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching Disadvantaged Children in Mombasa, Kenya


My placement is going very well ... I had three days where I observed the teachers but after that I was let loose to teach them entirely by myself! I struggled with discipline a bit to start with, but now the children have settled down and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

I plan all my lessons, which are based around the syllabus and include grammar, punctuation etc. I am having a great time and love the kids. 

My family are also lovely people and I am very happy here. The best thing about the placement was definitely the school where I was teaching. It was hard at first because of the cultural difference, but we soon got used to each other and learnt a lot. In fact I have now decided to go to University to do my teacher training.....for my sins!

I think this placement would suit someone who is quite confident and outgoing. Probably having travelled a bit before and isn't naive. The only thing that shocked me was the standard of teaching and some of the discipline procedures e.g use of the cane.

Overall I learnt about the country and the people who live there. I think more so than a lot of other volunteers because I was on my own a lot of the time and therefore tended to mix with the locals rather than other volunteers. Living with a family also encouraged this - they were fantastic and went beyond their duties to make me welcome. Njeri was always helpful should I need anything.

Can you describe a typical day?

Get up at 6.45, take a bath, have breakfast etc. Arrive at school at 7.45.

Teach lessons until lunch, which was 12 - 2pm. 

Afternoon lessons were from 2 - 5 but I was able to leave at 4pm. I usually then planned my lessons for the next day or did marking, etc. After that I went swimming or to the gym before dinner. 

Evenings I either watched TV or went out. Weekends I went to the beach, friends houses, etc. 

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