East Africa Discovery
Due to high demand and interest, we run two East Africa Discovery programs in the summer. Take your pick!
PROGRAM 1: MAY 25 – JULY 3, 2014
PROGRAM 2: JULY 10 – AUGUST 18, 2014
EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: DECEMBER 16, 2013
- Volunteer in Kampala, a bustling city by Lake Victoria that exemplifies multiculturalism with people from different cultures and religions living side by side.
- Visit Kibera, East Africa’s most populous slum, and work with internationally recognized artist and peace activist Solo7.
- Take a different kind of safari by bicycling through Hells Gate National Park marveling at giraffes, zebras and wildebeest.
- Travel through the stunning East African Rift Valley, learning about the impressive geological history and learn how Kenya has come back from the strife of 2007 post-election violence.
- White-water raft the mighty rapids at the source of the Nile in Uganda.
PROGRAM FEE: 2,855
COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION: 750
**Note: At Operation Groundswell, we understand the added concern with safety and security when travelling to particular areas, which is why we coordinate our response protocols with the Canadian government and take every precaution to ensure your safety. Learn all about our safety measures here.
EAST AFRICA… THE WAY WE SEE IT
So you want to learn about East Africa in a few paragraphs?
Kenya often evokes mental images of Masai Mara warriors, exotic wildlife in national parks and acacia trees on the savannah. These images still ring true today, but there is so much more to Kenya than going on a safari. The pure life bursting out of the busy streets of the capital, the passion of the people like our partners in the slums outside the city, and the sense of space and time unlike anywhere else we’ve been in the world.
Uganda is so often associated with the dictatorship of Idi Amin and the recent controversy surrounding the government’s stance on homosexuality, but conflict is just one layer of an incredibly complex history. Kampala is the capital and the true heart of Uganda, with the modern city’s many gardens and parks making it the greenest in Africa. Outside of the city are lush green forest valleys, red-brown dirt roads and aqua blue waters of rivers and lakes that make this place a gem of the region.
It only takes a moment to realize that these countries can’t be summed up in a few lines. The lessons we have learned here would take a lifetime to write. Hopefully though, you will find these truths for yourself.
Independent Travel Time is your opportunity to go out there and explore on your own terms!
- Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Visit Zanzibar Island’s Stone Town and relax on the beaches of the Indian Ocean.
- See lions, elephants, rhinos and other big game animals on a safari at one of East Africa’s many national parks.
WITH OG YOU LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS.
Traveling as much as we do on the East Africa program, there will be a number of different styles of accommodation. Whether it’s at a youth hostel in Nairobi or under the stars in Lake Naivasha, you can expect to be cooking together and learning to make chapatti with the team. In addition to guesthouses and camping, we will be staying in community houses in northern Kenya, which will allow us to delve into local culture and integrate into the communities we visit.
*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.
Just click on the headers to learn more!
After getting picked up at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the group will have an in-country orientation in Nairobi. Participants will acclimatize by trying local cuisine, picking up the basics of the local language, and acquainting themselves with the city. Welcome to the fast-paced rush of life that is metropolitan Africa!
The team will then head to Lake Naivasha, diving into the beautiful landscape and amazing wildlife Kenya has to offer. A day long bike ride through Hells Gate National Park between huge cliffs riding beside giraffes and wildebeest will be a huge breath of fresh air from the bustling streets of Nairobi. It’ll be a nice few days of adventure before we settle in and get our hands dirty. On our way out of the country, we will stop and visit our long time partners in the village of Maragoli, where we always receive a warm welcome, some chai, and some interesting stories. It’s a good spot to see the positive and negative effects of development, and what we’ve accomplished together over the years!
From Kenya, the team will move west to Jinja, Uganda where the source of the Nile flows from the massive Lake Victoria. Here the team will stop for an unforgettable white water rafting experience, navigating through Class 5 rapids at the base of the Nile.
From Jinja, we will head to the bustling capital city of Kampala; taking time to learn about the history of development in the region. We will have the opportunity to meet with two non-governmental organizations, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders as well as the Human Rights Network of Journalists. These two organizations will give us the low down on Ugandan politics and how the media works to shine a light on injustice, against government pressure. Our volunteer work in Uganda begins here within the city limits! We’ll be working with Rescuing Widows, Elderly, Youth and Orphans with AIDS (RWEYOA) – a non-profit organization that has a number of programs with people affected by HIV/AIDS. They offer free HIV testing, sexual education courses, individual and family counselling, assistance with everyday life, and a family empowerment program. Last year we helped build chicken coops and delivered some fowl friends to different families.
From Kampala, we will head into the interior of Uganda with Sustainable Livelihoods International (SLINT), an organization that empowers people to secure sustainable incomes, food security and improved quality of life while protecting the natural resources that underpin their livelihood.. Different initiatives include solar photovoltaic water filters, agroforestry, capacity training, and public awareness campaigns. It’s a big change from the hustle of the city. Volunteering in rural East Africa, time slows down and people are even friendlier (as if you thought that could be possible at this point in the program!)
The team will then head off on their own for a week of Independent Travel Time (ITT), a staple of all OG programs. Team members may choose to visit Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania, climb the epic Mount Kilimanjaro or see wildlife while traveling through the Maasai Mara lands. This will be an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills acquired over the past month to navigate East Africa on your own or in small groups.
The group will reconvene for a program debrief known as the ‘Disorientation’ prior to flying home. Following ITT, the team will meet up in Kalifi, a Kenyan coastal paradise on the Indian Ocean for disorientation. Here we will re-live memories of the program, summarize our experiences, discuss how to stay connected and collaborate on projects in the future before tearful goodbyes at the airport and our flights home.
MEET YOUR PROGRAM LEADERS
Get ready to spend six weeks with some of the raddest people on earth…we’re not even exaggerating! Just click on their name to read more about them.
Not only an avid traveler and hippy at heart, Kali can be found taking part in wilderness and rescue training, diving, and wearing her utmost favorite Birks trekking the many mountains of the world. Kali’s passion is continuously being educated through global experiences. Her passion for traveling began with her studies in Eco Adventure tourism which landed her in educational tours in both South Africa and Jamaica in long term placements. Years later, she had many educational operational and motivational moments learning, growing and developing as an individual, program coordinator, director, and program leader. After Kali’s first ever program with Operation Groundswell in 2007, she has always had a soft spot in her heart for OG and what they stand for. She considers herself one of the most lucky girls in the world to be running the Discovery program in East Africa and can’t wait to share the experience this summer! In her down time she can be found a local pubs with great live music, long boarding, snowboarding…or her favorite thing of all, LAUGHING!