We are excited that you are considering joining us for the Trip of a Lifetime! It would be our privilege to lead you on an experience working to improve the lives of orphans in Africa. Dates for our trips are flexible and we do our best to accommodate your needs. There is something for everyone to do regardless of age or talents.
Passports & Visas
Passports: Each team member is responsible for obtaining their own passport. The expiration date should be at least 6 months past the return date to the USA. Always carry a copy of your passport with you and leave one copy at home for emergency purposes. Your local post office can assist you with the details. http://www.usps.com/passport/
Visas for Kenya can be applied for and obtained online prior to departure from the USA. It is safe and instant. Go to http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html to get information and to purchase your Tourist Visa. You will need a valid passport with no less than a 6 months expiration date from the return date of your trip. You will be able to upload a picture of yourself to apply online. A Single entry Visitor's Visa for Kenya is all that is needed for up to a 3 month visit. Our destination information for completing the online Visa Application can be found at the "Contact" page of this website. The online cost for a single entry visa is $51.00. It is easy to get a Kenya Tourist Visa online once you have a Passport. We can assist you with every document you will need and walk you through the entire process. We have been doing this for 20+ years.
Immunizations: Though no immunizations are required by either governments, you will want to check with your doctor or local county health department for their recommendations. We highly encourage all volunteers to follow their recommendations. All Covid restrictions from the USA to Kenya have been lifted. Western Kenya was only slightly affected by Covid19.
The trip includes an optional Safari at the World Famous Masai Mara: Encouragement Inc. makes ALL of the arrangements for our volunteer team members. This insures that groups travel and land together in Kenya at the proper times for continued transport, etc. The January, 2024 Volunteer Trip Cost is set at $3,500 per person for this 17-day trip. This includes ALL air travel, ground transportation, lodging, meals, and tips while in Kenya. This INCLUDES a two-night Safari to Masai Mara in the African Serengeti. The accommodations and game drive along with the evening entertainment by local Masai tribesmen are exceptional. The Mara River has been featured on the National Geographic & Discovery Channels many times. This is where the Great Migration of the animals takes place. The animals travel 800 miles south to cross the Mara River filled with crocodiles into the food-rich land of Masai Mara.
The price does not include passports, $51 Visa fee, immunizations, and food in the airports and while en-route to Kenya. Many people choose to carry only $100 USD with them for miscellaneous expenses. Major credit cards are accepted at airports in Europe and Africa. ATM machines are readily available in Kenya. You should inform your bank card vendor that you will be in Africa so they will not place a block on your card while there. Usually only the cost of a meal and an inexpensive ride on the subway to downtown Dubai, London or Amsterdam from the airport (if time permits) is all that you will need to pay for. Normally $50.00 will cover everything. Seeing a few of the city sights in London can be done free of charge, (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Thames River). Amsterdam has city boat rides on the historic canals for around $22.00 USD and credit cards are accepted.
Team Hosts: Vic Rader & Katlyn Pollock
Contact us to discuss dates you may prefer.
Airline Routes: Teams usually leave the USA in the evenings and land in either Amsterdam, London, Dubai or Paris early the next morning. If we go out of the connecting airports, and have time, we will sight-see during the day and then fly on to Nairobi, Kenya later that evening. From Nairobi we take a short 30 minute flight to the city of Eldoret, which is 55 miles to our final destination. Depending on connection times, we sometimes overnight in Nairobi and then are transported the next morning by vans to the Encouragement Children's Home in Webuye (Way-boo-yeah), with a stop for lunch half way. The scenery along the Rift Valley is incredible and some African animals can be seen along the way!
Weather: The weather in Europe is much like the weather in the USA, but the weather is the opposite in Africa. Our summer is their winter, etc. Dress appropriately! Kenya winters are mild, like that of Southern California. Warm during the day (75-85 degrees) and cool at night (55 degrees).
Luggage: Because the airlines frequently change their baggage policies, we will check with them for specifics and relay the information to each of our volunteers a few days prior to our departure. Usually each person can take: 1 (one) 13 lb. carry on bags; and 2 (two) 50 lb. bags. One 50 lbs. for your personal belongings and the second 50 lbs. bag to carry selected foods for the volunteers and needed supplies for the orphanage. It is a good idea to pack an extra set of clothing in your carry on luggage in case your suitcase is lost or arrives late. (We will check baggage requirement updates and inform you of any changes as we get closer to our departure date.)
It is advisable to bring all daily medications in your personal carry-on luggage. Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, flashlight and snacks are recommended, especially M&M Peanuts for your host.
Food & Diet
Food: Usually three meals a day will be prepared in our Missionary Wing in the Kitchen. There are limited snacks in Africa.. You will want to bring some snacks, candy, or granola bars, etc. If you have a special diet, you will need to plan yourself for meeting these dietary needs. Each team members will be asked to bring food items from a provided list of foods. These food items usually cost each member around $30.00 to purchase here in the states. We can take turns in the food preparation while there. This makes it safe for team members, especially those who would rather not eat local African food daily. We provide safe and clean bottled water for all team members.
Clothing: The cool months are May-August. A sweat shirt and/or a light jacket are necessary at night during these months. Long pants or blue jeans are good for the cool months. The hottest months are Oct-Feb, although it does rain during these months. Most outdoor work can be done in shorts. African women usually wear dresses or skirts to church. Tennis shoes are fine for all occasions. Walking shoes or sandals are advisable. Affordable weekly laundry service ($3.00) is available through the local women while at the Center.