We understand that it can be difficult to adjust to a new culture, and we want to make that transition as easy as possible for you. We’re always here to answer your questions and to help you navigate the ins and outs of life here in Kenya. Greetings are very important, and you should offer a respectful greeting to everyone you meet at work. The Language Lessons section has a list of greetings in both Jaluo and Kiswahili, which are offered with a handshake. It is also important to be respectful when your elders are speaking with you. Try never to interrupt, but to listen patiently and interject only when asked.
While most of the younger generation is wearing clothing very similar to what you might see on the streets at home, the older generations in Kenya value modesty. If you are working at the office, the dress code requires that your shoulders be covered and that men wear long trousers and that women wear either long trousers or skirts that fall at least to your knees. Modesty is less crucial at the KCRC, but short skirts and shorts are not allowed, nor are any shirts that would show your torso or bra straps. If you are volunteering at the farm, you can dress in comfortable working clothes (rubber boots would be a bonus). If you want to go out in town, you’ll see many people in jeans and nice tops, or women in casual dresses. Shoes are also an important part of Kenyans’ wardrobe. Dirty shoes are frowned upon, so you’re encouraged to keep yours in as good shape as possible.
Your space is your own (or may be shared with other volunteers), but we ask that you exercise discretion in inviting people to your home. Given the need to be highly aware of security, only invite guests over if you know them very well, and avoid having large groups of people over, especially late at night. It is your responsibility to ensure that everything in the house remains in good condition and that you are respectful to your neighbours. Sound travels very easily here.