Visiting Double Joy
We like prospective visitors to support Double Joy, either by donation, fundraising and/or writing to the children. If you'd like to visit we invite you to get involved click link. This benefits both you and Double Joy. Please contact Chrissie or Eric (click on link) if you want to know how to help, or better yet, have some ideas of your own. We require visitors to read and agree to our Safeguarding Children Policy before visiting.
How do I get to Double Joy?
On arriving Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, fly direct to Kisumu (30-45 mins). Book this internal flight along with your international flight. You need a visa, fill ‘Entry to Kenya Form’ in during flight and pay on arrival at JKIA, Nairobi. Cost 50USD or 30GBP or KES (Kenya Shilling) equivalent.
Bring a basic (2G) unlocked (not tied to one network in home country) mobile (cell) phon, buy Safaricom prepaid SIM card (300KES). Ask the vendor to load credit and enter PIN no. of new account. All SIMs have PIN codes to access the phone and you need to register the SIM (take your passport or a photocopy of the photo page as ID). Texting/mobile internet coverage at Double Joy is patchy.
Let Mary know airline and flight arrival time at Kisumu Airport and you will be collected. Stay at the airport and contact Mary’s mobile number. 0733514461
Will I be safe travelling in Kenya?
Nairobi has a bad reputation and it is possible to avoid it by flying to Kisumu soon after arrival in Kenya. In Nairobi, avoid looking like a tourist, use taxis to get around, don't wear jewellery/expensive watches and hide other valuables e.g. laptops, cameras. In Kisumu, similar sensible precautions apply and at Double Joy too.
Where will I stay at Double Joy?
Visitors stay in the guesthouse which has 2 bedrooms (a bunkbed in each), living room, kitchen and toilet/washing area. Occasionally the mains water supply fails and water for cooking and washing is brought in buckets from the tank. During the dry season, water is scarce so needs to be used sparingly. Mosquito nets and bedding are provided.
Electric power is 230 volts using British Standard plugs, with backup solar lighting for illumination during the intermittent power cuts. The kitchen is equipped with a two-ring gas stove and an electric grill (broiler) for cooking with sufficient pots, pans and utensils. there is a sink, but no fridge in the kitchen. The facilities are functional though basic by western standards. The toilet, a western style pan, is plumbed to a mains supply but often needs ‘the knack’ to flush well with grey water, ask for help if this proves problematic.
What should I wear?
It will be hot in the daytime (25-30+ degrees C.) so wear loose cotton clothing. The nighttime temperature rarely falls much below 20 degrees C. To respect custom and culture, dress conservatively and avoid showing too much flesh,(no cleavage). Women usually wear long skirts/dresses (knee length and below). Men's shorts should be knee length and baggy. Evening wear is long trousers and sleeves to protect from mosquitoes.
What medical protection will I need?
Check vaccinations and inoculations are current. Bring vaccination certificates with you. Anti-malarial tablets essential. Buy insect repellent in Kisumu (on arrival, you will be taken shopping).
Health insurance, covering medical treatment is essential. There is an excellent hospital in Kisumu. Meticulous handwashing is essential as shaking hands is a natural greeting here, bring small antibacterial handcleaner.
What will I eat and drink?
Take care what you eat and drink. "If you can cook it, boil it or peel it you can eat it, otherwise forget it" is helpful here, and cooks used to westerners' delicate stomachs can help, ask about having a cook ( who needs paying) to prepare your food.
Water is not safe to drink/clean teeth and you need filters, (provided in guesthouse) and you will be shown how to filter and boil water before drinking. It takes time to master this, so buy bottled water in Kisumu, (10L+) to set you up for the first few days.
In town, tea (served sweet and milky) is safe to drink, bottled Coke and Fanta, less so. Chips (french fries) are safe standard fare in cafes.
Supermarkets in Kisumu supply most of the food you can buy back home and this is where you will probably buy most of your supplies for your stay. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be bought in Kisumu and in Aram, (the local market 1 mile from Double Joy). You will be need to pay for your own food and provisions, bring all the cash you need to the orphanage. If you need to change money, do so at Nairobi airport. There will only be further ATMs in Kisumu, not once you move out to Double Joy.
We ask visitors to pay £7,000 KES ( Kenya Shillings) each, per week, this is about US $75, or £50,
or €70. Double Joy has a very limited budget and spending on the children and older people is paramount. Accommodating visitors and paying their fuel costs etc. is not an expense our donors expect to cover.
What if I have any difficulties with cooking or housework?
Usually a staff member is nominated to help guests. He/she will orientate you to Double Joy and the guesthouse and be available to assist at most hours of the day. The house is cleaned once a week and you can leave a tip or small gift for those involved, usually the older girls. If you prefer, a cook can be hired.
How can I be of use if I stay for more than a short holiday?
This depends on your skills and interests. The most common activity for guests is assisting with the literacy class and one-to-one tuition. You could also help out with recreation, craft and sport activities. The children love to dance and sing so anyone who is musical and/or plays an instrument would be valued.
Should I bring gifts?
There is no need to bring gifts as your presence will be enough.
What is the currency and exchange rate?
There are approximately 150 Kenyan shillings to the pound.
How much money?
This depends on your lifestyle, but you should aim to bring around £30-50 per week. This should cover food, souvenirs, medicine, trips out, and things you forgot or suddenly discover you need.
How can I contact home?
SMS works fairly well. There are cyber cafes in Kisumu. Posted items can take 2 weeks or longer.
Will I have any language difficulties?
English is widely spoken in Kenya. All staff at Double Joy speak some English and are used to conversing with visitors. Some older children can speak English and Swahili is also spoken. Staff and children are happy to teach you some of their mother tongue, Dholuo - pronounced 'tho-loo-oh'.
Speak English slowly and clearly, enunciating all the syllables in each word to give your listener the best chance of understanding you.
Etiquette - Suggested appropriate behaviour for guests.
Ideas garnered from previous visitors’ reaction to cultural differences which may not be immediately apparent.
Please respect local tradition by dressing modestly at Double Joy. Wearing revealing clothing or low-cut tops, exposing your body or legs above the knee are seen as immodest and may ellicit negative perceptions of you, especially by professional people in positions of authority e.g. police, customs officials etc.
Please be careful not to express opinions, even when asked, (especially about Kenyan politics). Be respectful of the Kenyan flag, money, national anthemn/symbols etc.
Please discuss safe topics such as weather, crops and football (soccer). Soccer ( English Premier League) and the World Cup/African Cup of Nations are very popular topics as they are universally watched on TV.
Please don’t over-complain about household pests (insects, lizards etc.), the food etc.
Please don’t overreact to being touched by the children (especially hair).
Physical contact should be confined to holding hands with children and shaking hands with adults.
Most younger people here may expect white people to be American, having limited knowledge of Europeans/Australians.
Christianity is an important influence in people's lives here as well as older tribal customs.
Most people around Double Joy are genuinely very poor compared to you as a visitor but will be generous with their friendship and hospitality.
Think carefully before agreeing to give anyone money, no matter how dire their situation may appear. Reaffirm your commitment to helping by donating to Double Joy. If you are considering helping someone financially it is advisable to run the idea by Mary Hinde who could perhaps help you decide on the best course of action. Be aware that funding one individual may (unintentionally) cause discontentment amongst other people who, naturally, may be hoping for similar assistance.
Most of all, enjoy your stay and expect a genuinely warm welcome and an eye-opening view of rural Africa.