Service Learning In Kenya | QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
Service Learning in Kenya offers high school aged students the chance of a lifetime. To travel to rural Kenya, Africa, where they will teach in local schools, experience cultural interaction and participate in community service, go on a wildlife safari, and more!
Service Learning, Kenya, American Students, Travel to Africa, Experiential Education, Cultural Interaction, Community Service, Safari, Mt. Kenya Hike
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Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the SLIK program

Where will I stay on my trip to Kenya?
While in Kenya students will be staying at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center, located in Naro Moru, Kenya.

The group will also have a three-day safari to *Samburu Game Reserve, one of Kenya’s premier locations for seeing the wildlife for which the country is famous. This park is three hours north of Batian’s View and located along the Ewaso Nigro River. The group will stay in one of the group campsites near the river.

*Should for some reason we don’t go to Samburu Game Reserve we will spend the same amount of time at a comparable game park.

When is the next Slip trip?
The next SLIK trip dates are as follows:

SLIK I with Mt. Kenya hike: June 20 – July 15, 2016 with a return to the US on July 16th.

How much is tuition?
Tuition: $4,100.00. A non-refundable deposit of $400.00 is due March 2.

*Tuition does not include airfare, which last year was between $2,200.00 and $2,400.00.

What is the group size limit per SLIK session?
The group size is limited to 14 participants and will fill on a first come first serve basis.

What can I expect to do during my SLIK trip?
Serve as a volunteer teacher at a public primary school near the town of Naro Moru. Responsibilities include lesson planning, classroom teaching, and assisting with extra curricular activities with the Kenyan students.

Prior to going to Kenya participants will be asked to assist with fund raising efforts for the group’s community service project, which will focus on a need at one of the schools. The Americans will spend at least two days actively assisting in the project. Be prepared for physical labor!

Students will spend the bulk of their day interacting with Kenyan teachers and students. Students will also have an opportunity to visit the homes of Kenyans living in a rural area and gain a first hand understanding of their lifestyle. Students will also meet with elders who were part of Kenya’s struggle for independence in the 1950s.

The students will be presented with a variety of evening classes related to Kenya’s history, natural history, and language, Kiswahili.

A three-day safari to Samburu Game Reserve where the group will camp and see the wildlife for which this area is famous.

A day will be spent with intensive leadership and team building activities on the high and low challenge course at Batian’s View. High school aged Kenyans from local schools may also be a part of this activity.

The trip to Kenya involves American students assisting with the teaching responsibilities at a primary school near Batian’s View in Naro Moru, Kenya. To help begin the process, the students will have classes about Kenya’s education system from the headmasters of the schools they will be volunteering. Kenyan teachers will assist the students in lesson planning, teaching techniques, and classroom management strategies. The students will eventually prepare their own lessons and teach in the classroom as well.
 The school day begins at 7:45 and ends at 3:00 PM. The Kenyan students are then required to remain at school until 5:00 PM for tutoring, club meetings, attending athletic or drama practices, or assisting with school maintenance projects. The American students will be involved in this part of the school day too. This will be an opportunity for the students to focus on an area that interests them most. This will be the best opportunity for the Americans to work with the Kenyan students in small groups or in one on one tutoring sessions. At the end of the school day the students will either walk back to Batian’s View or be picked up by vehicle.
While at Batian’s View the students will assist with meal preparation and clean up. The evenings will be reserved for informal classes in Kiswahili, Kenyan history, or to hear a local elder speak of Kenya’s past. Other speakers may include the chief of the Naro Moru area, the Head Warden of Mt. Kenya National Park, and local elders who lived in the area during the colonial era.

What is the expected student outcomes of the SLIK program?
• To become functional in basic Kiswahili.*
• To gain an understanding of the third world economy and the difficulties in moving past this status.
• To experience teaching in a government primary school in rural Kenya.
• To be a responsible and aware international traveler.
• To experience the daily life of a rural Kenyan family.
• To realize the challenges of maintaining tourism based on wildlife and a growing population.
• To understand the impact of tourism on the economy of a developing country.
• To become familiar with the cultural geography of Kenya.
• To be a part of a significant primary school community service project.
• To visit one of Kenya’s unique game parks and witness the wildlife of East Africa.
• To understand the specific and long lasting impact of colonialism on Kenya.

*Enrolled students will have access to an on-line Kiswahili language training. Even a simple understanding of the language will go a very long way in one’s interactions with the Kenyans he or she will meet.

What are some other possible activities during the Kenya experience?
Throughout the trip the students will hear presentations about Kenya’s history, economy, and language taught by the faculty at Batian’s View. There will also be time for long walks along the Naro Moru River and visits to the local market. In fact, every few days the students will be responsible for buying the group’s vegetables and fruit at the village market. Batian’s View is located at 7,000’ on the slopes of Mt. Kenya and only 5 miles from the Mt. Kenya National Park boundary. Time allowing, the group will take a day-hike on the mountain, following animal trails and possibly seeing colobus monkey and bushbuck.


One day may be spent at Sweetwaters Game Reserve, a one-hour drive from Batian’s View. Here the students may see giraffe, zebra, cape buffalo, hippo, elephant and lion. Within Sweetwaters is a chimpanzee refuge, one of three that were begun by Jane Goodall. This refuge holds roughly 25 chimps, some of which were rescued from shop owners that kept the chimps in cages to attract buyers. Now there are second-generation chimps that are learning how to live in the wild.


On this same day the group might visit the town of Nanyuki, which lies on the equator. Here there are larger shopping markets for personal purchases and an opportunity to buy souvenirs. The students will have time to explore the town and have lunch in one of the many small cafes.


The group will have a three-day safari to *Samburu Game Reserve, one of Kenya’s premier locations for seeing the wildlife for which the country is famous. This park is three hours north of Batian’s View and located along the Ewaso Nigro River. The group will stay in one of the group campsites near the river. A typical day begins before sunrise with the group slowly driving along the river or across the savannah viewing animals. The pace is slow and conducive to closely watching the animals’ behaviors and for careful photography. As the sun climbs and the day becomes warm, the animals are typically less active and the group returns to camp for a late breakfast. The afternoons are for classes about the local ecosystem, the Samburu (the dominant tribe of the area), or Kiswahili practice. In the late afternoon the animals become active again and this brings a long afternoon game drive, returning to camp before dark.

*Should for some reason we don’t go to Samburu Game Reserve we will spend the same amount of time at a comparable game park.

What is Batian’s View Experiential Education Center?
Batian’s View served as the East Africa branch of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS East Africa) from 1976 to early 2003. The facility consists of three large buildings for the office, library, display area, equipment storage, kitchen and food preparation area, dining area, first aid room, and plenty of places for the students to relax, study and ‘hang-out’.


There are two self-contained homes on the property and four other multi-room cabins that serve as faculty and student housing; room for up to 30 people. The property is located on eight acres of land next to the Naro Moru River. The elevation is ‘7,000 and there is a dense forest along the river. Across the river is national forest land with endless opportunities for long walks or trail runs.


Mr. Roberts worked at the NOLS East Africa branch from 1986 to 1999 as a field instructor and branch director. In March of 2003, however, NOLS announced the closure of the NOLS East Africa branch. Mr. Roberts, and his wife, Elizabeth Goodwin, having very close ties to the facility and community, made a proposal to NOLS to purchase the NOLS East Africa property with a commitment to use it as an experiential education center for East Africans. NOLS accepted the offer and today Mr. Roberts and Ms. Goodwin own the facility and are assisted in its maintenance by two long time friends and colleagues, Peter Kafuna and Mary Wairimu.  Having lived in Kenya for so long, Mr. Roberts developed many strong relationships with the people living near Batian’s View and the other locations that are part of the SLIK trip. This will allow the American students to be embraced and introduced to the Kenyan culture as few other visitors would.

Who make up the faculty at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center?
Fred Roberts:
Batian’s View Co-Director and SLIK trip leader
SLIK founder and trip leader Fred Roberts lived in Kenya from 1986 to 1999 and owns the facility where the students stay while in Kenya. Mr. Roberts has been offering this trip since 2005 and is close friends with the teachers and headmasters that will be working with the Americans. His close relationships with the community in which the students will be spending their time will open doors to life in rural Kenya that few visitors ever experience.
Elizabeth Goodwin:
Batian’s View Co-Director
Ms. Goodwin first came to Kenya in 1987 as a NOLS East Africa student. She returned in 1990 to join Mr. Roberts and for the next five years split her time between Naro Moru and Lake Baringo in northern Kenya, where she was a consultant for a land rehabilitation program. She went on to earn her Masters Degree from the University of London studying the role of women and rural development in Naro Moru. Ms. Goodwin oversees all of Batian’s View finances and assists with the SLIK program.
Peter Kafuna:
Batian’s View Co-Manager 
Mr. Kafuna was a field instructor with NOLS for 11 years instructing students in Kenya and Wyoming. At the NOLS East Africa branch Mr. Kafuna served as Operations Manager for three years. Mr. Kafuna currently chairs the Mt. Kenya Tour Operators Association, a group that promotes activities around Mt. Kenya while also supporting wilderness conservation and wise land management policy. Mr. Kafuna oversees the curriculum at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center and supervises the high and low challenge course.

Mary Wairimu:
Batian’s View Co-Manager
Ms.Wairimu is a graduate of the NOLS East Africa semester course in 1988. She began working at NOLS East Africa in 1990 and became the Issue Room manager in 1995. Ms. Wairimu also spent two summers working in the equipment departments of the NOLS Rocky Mountain and NOLS Alaska branches. Ms. Wairimu oversees the Batian’s View facility and staff. Mr. Kafuna and Ms. Wairimu co- manage Batian’s View and live on the property with their three children.

What are the responsibilities of the students?
Students are expected to come ready for a very new experience, to adapt to a group living situation, and to be open to new cultures and customs. Experiencing a foreign country requires flexibility, an open mind, and the maturity to accept responsibility for yourself and others. Failure to follow school policies regarding tobacco, illegal drug, and alcohol use, as well as the expectations set by Mr. Roberts, could result in expulsion from the trip.

What options are available for medical assistance?
In the event that a member of the trip needs medical assistance, there are several options for treatment. While not all hospitals in Kenya are as well equipped as in the U.S.A., there are two primary medical facilities with which Mr. Roberts had much experience while with NOLS East Africa. The first is Nairobi Hospital. This is a private, well-run, well-equipped hospital with expert staff.  In his experience Mr. Roberts found the care provided to the students of NOLS East Africa to be quite comparable to what would be found in the States.


Closer to Batian’s View is Nanyuki Cottage Hospital. This is a small private hospital capable of running lab tests and taking x-rays. Only 30 minutes from Batian’s View, this would be the initial care provider in case of an illness or injury. If necessary the student or faculty member would then be taken to Nairobi Hospital. Fred Roberts and Peter Kafuna are Wilderness First Aid Responder trained and experienced in handling medical emergencies. There is a well-equipped first aid kit at Batian’s View for cuts, scrapes, and mild illness.

What options are available for communication between Kenya and home?
There are several options for communications between home and Kenya during the trip.

Allow seven to ten days for delivery. The address in Kenya is:

Batian’s View
Student’s Name
P. O. Box 159
Naro Moru, Kenya 10105

Fred Roberts will have a cell phone with him the entire time in Kenya. That number is 254-712-146903. The cell phone number for Mary Wairimu, Co-manager at Batian’s View is 254-722-292998. The Batian’s View office cell phone number is 254-727-860287. Kenya is 10 hours ahead of Tucson, so if it is noon in Tucson it is 10 PM in Kenya. Please call before 10 AM Tucson time. While in Kenya there is one shared student cell phone, and we will send this number to the families a day or two after our arrival. Students can contact their families by e-mail for when to call this cell phone as the incoming calls are free to the receiver. To access an international line press 011 first.

Students will have access to a computer and the Internet at Batian’s View. The Internet service, however, is not as fast or as reliable as we are used to in America. It may take a few days for messages to go back and forth.

Each day a student will write a daily dispatch that will be posted on a public website and sent by email to the families. We try to do this daily, but due to our schedule or lack of service we may miss a day here and there. In the past these dispatches have been a lot of fun for the readers and have provided great insight to the writer’s experience in Kenya.

This line goes to the home of Batian’s View Co-Managers Mary Wairimu and Peter Kafuna, so please do not use this option after 10 AM unless it is an emergency and you have not been able to contact Mr. Roberts. The landline number is 254-20-352-3456.
Be aware that the communication system in Kenya is not as reliable as it is in the US. Telephone lines may be down, there may be computer problems, or there simply may be no electricity for e-mail.

Will I need a passport for my trip to Kenya?
You will need a valid passport for the duration of your stay and that does not expire within six month of the departure date. The passport must also have at least two blank pages for travel. If you do not have a passport, get one immediately. Keep a photocopy of your passport I.D. page in a separate place, but bring this to Kenya. This will speed up the reissue process if your passport is lost or stolen.

Will I need a travel visa for my trip to Kenya?
A visa is required to visit Kenya. All the information you need may be found at the Kenya Embassy website. When completing the visa application, state that you are entering Kenya as a tourist. To get your tourist visa you will need your passport, 2 passport photos, a completed visa application form, (available online) and proof that you have a round-trip ticket from Kenya (or a “letter of intent and financial responsibility” from your travel agent is sufficient). Include the required fee, a stamped self-addressed (certified recommended) envelope, and send it to the Kenyan Consulate in Los Angeles or the Kenya Embassy in DC. (Addresses follow). Allow at least one month for your passport to be returned to you.
Another option is to use a visa service, which will be more expensive but is faster. Visa services may be found on the Internet.


Kenyan Embassy
2249 R Street NW
Washington, DC  20008
Tel: (202) 387-6101
Fax: (202) 462-3829


Kenya Consulate
4801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (323) 939-2408
Fax: (323) 939-2412

What is the Dress Code for my trip to Kenya and Naro Moru?
Your dress and composure will affect how you are perceived in Kenya.  Kenyan dress standards are much more conservative than in the United States, particularly for women. While traveling from Tucson to Nairobi wear clothing that is comfortable and presentable. At Batian’s View it is fine to wear long shorts and t-shirts, probably with a sweatshirt close by as it tends to be cold. What is not acceptable is an exposed mid-drift, sagging, short shorts, or tank tops. There are many people working at Batian’s View and such attire would be considered rude.


During the internship women should wear a dress that extends just below the knees and a shirt what covers the shoulders. Nice looking pants are also acceptable. Men will be required to wear long pants and a collared shirt. Athletic shoes or dress shoes are acceptable. Sandals or Tevas are not acceptable while teaching at the schools. This is partly to maintain a professional appearance but some of the schools have dirt floors, and long expose to dust and dirt may invite infection or skin irritation.

What are some suggestions regarding valuables and personal safety?
International travel and living in a different country require a greater awareness to one’s personal safety and personal belongings. Being organized, self-contained and minimizing the amount of your personal effects will help make the trip a smooth one.


While at Batian’s View there will be adult supervision at all times.  Throughout the night a security officer watches over the compound. This is not so much to make sure our students remain in their cabins after a specific hour, but more for the overall security of Batian’s View. There are a few simple guidelines for the students to follow while at Batian’s View, such as not leaving the compound after dark, not leaving the compound alone, and when leaving the compound in small groups always informing an adult of the destination and time of return. These, and other guidelines, will be covered in more detail when the group reaches Batian’s View.


Personal valuables such as plane tickets, extra cash and valuable jewelry may be left in the safe at Batian’s View. It is not recommended to bring expensive watches or jewelry. A simple watch with an alarm is adequate.

What are my personal expenses and money exchange?
While in Kenya all meals, transport, park entry fees, and accommodation are covered by the student tuition. Additional expenses such as gifts, personal purchases, and extra food or beverage items at restaurants will be the student’s responsibility. There is also a small shop at Batian’s View that sells notebooks, pens, candy bars, and soda.


Assuming a student will want to purchase a few gifts and take home a couple of moderately priced souvenirs, $250.00 of spending money should be adequate.  Each student, however, knows his or her own tastes and should budget accordingly.  It is recommended to take traveler’s checks or cash in denominations of $100. Upon arrival in Nairobi change $200.00 into Kenyan shillings. Keep some US dollars for the trip home. All valuables may be stored in a locked safe at Batian’s View, so the cash will be safe and only accessed when needed. American Express and Visa are widely accepted in Kenya. There is also an ATM machine at the Barclay’s Bank in Nanyuki, roughly 40 minutes from Batian’s View.

What should I know about vaccinations and medical information?
Regulations and recommendations for vaccinations for international travel can change. A reliable source of information for current requirements and recommendations is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at This site focuses on travel in East Africa.


To guard against infection while traveling in a foreign country routine immunizations should be current. These would include tetanus and diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella, and polio. In addition, vaccinations may be recommended or required for illness not commonly experienced in the U.S. Currently there are no inoculations required for travel between Kenya and the U.S.A.; however, consult with your physician if you have any questions after reviewing the website above.


Inoculations should be recorded in the o cial document, “International Certificate of Vaccination,” available from the U.S. Public Health Service (Health and Welfare in Canada) or from your doctor. If you wear eyeglasses, record your prescription in the booklet as well. The same is true if you have any speci c medical problems such as diabetes, allergies, etc. A letter from your physician describing personal prescription medications may be helpful. If you have unique personal medications, eyeglasses etc., bring spares.

What is the likelihood of contracting Malaria Prophylaxis?
Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. As in equatorial regions around the world, malaria exists in East Africa. There is a lower risk of malaria in the highlands and Mt. Kenya, which is where we will be spending most of our time. Batian’s View is located at 7,000’ on the west side of Mt. Kenya and the evening temperatures are in the high 40s or low 50s. We will, however, be spending time in the warmer environment of Samburu Game Reserve, where malaria may be found. It is not required that a traveler to Kenya take a malaria prophylaxis, but before making this decision it is advisable to do your own research and talk with your primary care physician.


Some tropical diseases you may be exposed to in Kenya could take a few weeks (or rarely even a few months or years) before producing noticeable signs and symptoms. A post trip check up with your primary physician may be appropriate.

What should I know about the Mt. Kenya Trek?
The 2016 SLIK trip includes a four-day hike to one of Kenya’s most amazing locations, Mt. Kenya. Reaching an elevation of 17,055’, Mt. Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa. Students will follow the popular Naro Moru track as they slowly ascend the mountain. To keep pack weight to a minimum, the group will sleep in huts and have the support of porters helping to carry the group’s gear. The pace of the hike will be slow so each hiker may become accustomed to the physical work at a higher elevation. The ultimate goal is reaching the summit of Pt. Lenana at 16,355’, the highest point one can reach without technical climbing gear. This is a challenging hike as the group begins in the mountain’s forest and moves through several distinct ecological zones before reaching the upper region of rock and ice. No previous hiking experience is necessary but participants must be ready for long days on the trail and the possibility of rain and cold weather. No special gear is needed and Batian’s View is able to provide the necessary clothing, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. It is highly recommended that students bring their own boots that they have already broken in and are comfortable wearing for long hikes.