mathare AT A GLANCE
serving in Mathare
We serve just outside the capitol city of Nairobi in one of the largest slums in the Mathare Valley. The Mathare slum is home to 1 million who live on less than $2.00 dollars a day, and is known some of the poorest living conditions. Our partner there is Missions of Hope International (MOHI) who now serves over 16,000 children in multiple schools with Christian education, daily meals, and social services that care for these children and their families as well. We serve along side MOHI in the community with supporting the local church, medical and dental care, nutrition, solar energy, children’s education, and programing.
kenya in general
Mathare is just outside the capital city of Nairobi in Kenya which is a country in East Africa. It is situated on the equator on Africa's east coast, bordering the Indian Ocean in the south east, Neighboring countries are Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity”. With an area of 580,000 km², the country is somewhat larger than Metropolitan France or slightly more than twice the size of the state Nevada. Kenya has a population of 38.6 million people (2009 census). The total area of the country is 224,961 square miles.
The capital and largest city in Kenya is Nairobi It is also the most populous city with a population of 3.1 million. The second largest city and the country's chief port is Mombasa.
Spoken languages are Swahili and English (both official), and numerous indigenous languages mainly Kikuyu and Luhya.
Protestant 40%, Roman Catholic 30%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 10%.
The rate of literacy in English is 59%
Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa. It is the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa. It is ranked by the World Bank as a low income economy and is a developing nation. While it manufactures small-scale consumer goods like plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour, the agricultural sector continues to dominate Kenya's economy. Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to the north and east. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal, and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas.
OTHER FACTS ABOUT Mathare
The climate is arid. July is considered winter, but it would be similar to the winter months in Southern California. It is cool in the mornings and evenings (60-65 degrees) and warmer during the day (70-75 degrees.)
When working at the schools, meals will be traditionally Kenyan (rice, cabbage, meat, vegetables.) The Guesthouse serves a large breakfast buffet (omelettes, pancakes, fruits, potatoes etc.) as well as a nice buffet consisting of various foods for dinner. There is also the opportunity to try other ethnic foods, such as Indian or Ethiopian, while there. Everything is prepared in a safe manner.
CULTURAL DO’S AND DON’TS
Do be flexible. Take pictures. Kids love having their picture taken. (Show them their photo after you take it.) For adults and businesses, have the staff member you are working with ask if it okay to take a photo. They would probably like to see it afterward also!) DO NOT give out anything directly. This includes money, candy, pens, etc. Do not give out contact information (including friending on social media sites.) Do not make promises. We love to work in the community to empower people and share the love of Christ. If you see a need or something, please talk with the staff about how best to meet that need. Following these Do's and Don't helps the work continue on well long after you have returned to America. We love being able to work together!
There is no need to carry cash or valuables with you into the community. It is best not to. Cameras and cell phone cameras are ok, but we can check on a daily basis with the staff you are working with. It is best not to wear jewelry. The windows on the bus or van should remain closed at all time. Do not go anywhere alone. When at MoHI you will always be with staff, it is best to listen to their instructions.
Time Zone: EAT (11 hrs. ahead of PST)
Country Code: 254
Electrical Outlets: 220V. Electrical sockets (outlets) in Kenya are the "Type G " British BS-1363 type
Missions of Hope has opened a shop similar to the Maasai Market. It has a variety of items available for purchase at set prices. Please visit the link for more info http://mohiafrica.org/shop/
With regard to clothing, MODESTY is of EXTREME importance. Neither underwear nor midriffs may be shown. And nothing form fitting, guys or gals. No scoop neck/ low necklines for gals. Take your cues from the nationals in the varying situations you find yourself.
Work Clothing: Jeans, “scrubs,” or active wear. Yoga pants are permitted if worn with a long shirt to completely cover the rear. Closed toed, sturdy shoes. T-shirts or basic crew necks. No shorts or sleeveless/tank tops for women. Men may wear shorts. Any writing on shirts should not contain anything offensive, crude, provocative, political or inflammatory.
Casual Clothing: Nicer outfit for outings and excursions, like jeans or capris and a polo shirt or nicer crew neck.
Church/Dining Out: Nice “Dockers” or dark jeans with collared shirt and clean tennis, skate or deck shoes for men. Below knee dress/skirt or dress jeans with blouse and open toed, small heels or flats. Note: we don’t want to “out dress” the locals.