Volunteering in Africa requires flexibility, patience; those who are self-starters, and people who genuinely respect the host people and their culture. Volunteers never come here to teach the people western ways, nor are here to save the people. Volunteers come to share their energy and time with the people, to experience their culture first hand and to grow themselves.
It’s a strong statement when people try to make a difference in poor places, such as Africa. One of the biggest differences you will notice at the end will not be externalal but will be the difference inside of yourself. Most importantly, you will be changed forever because you will have a greater understanding of another culture, you will challenge your personal limits, and you will develop friendships.
Many travelers know where they want to go, but don’t know what to do once they get there.
PRF homestays is a social enterprising project initiated by prophet Reward Foundation to enable travelers to book authentic travel and living experiences directly with local families in Kenya. Our goal is two-fold: in-depth experiences for travelers and direct income for the host families. 100% of the money asked by the local hosts is directly paid to them.
PRF homestays are a fast-picking phenomenon in the tourism industry with tourists preferring to live with the locals. Projects like PRF homestays offer the tourists an authentic flavor of the area they are visiting.
Why Start Hosting Travelers?
As Africans we have been brought up to be hospitable that is why we add guest rooms to our homes. However, if your guest room lies idle most of the time, maybe it is time to consider earning an income from it with a homestay / host family. A homestay is simply having a paying guest in your home.
Why Would you live with Host family?
Staying with a host family gives you unique insight into the lifestyle of Africans. You can learn so much about the country and its people while staying with a local family. Also, many countries in Africa are well known for their friendliness and hospitality. So it’s no surprise that homestay is a popular choice.
Your host could be a single woman/man, an older couple or a young couple with children. They will provide you with a room with a single bed, a wardrobe and a desk. You also receive breakfast and dinner and share the bathroom with the family.
What we are looking for?
For this experience to thrive, one must be willing to allow strangers into the privacy of their home. And a good host should be able to make their guest feel like they are part of the whole family. For example, take them on a tour of the whole house and the community.
Once one decides to open their home to guests, there are things expected of them to make their guests comfortable BUT remember this is a homestay not a hotel experience. So, as much as you need to make some changes, do not erase all home settings that bring warmth and comfort.
People come to share an experience. You should, therefore, have something local to share with your guests. It could be cooking a meal or a trip to the local market.
The most important thing is to ensure the home is clean with proper working bathrooms, toilets and other facilities. One should also stock the bathroom with bathing soap, and necessary toiletries. Provide a clean bed with bed sheets, a blanket and towel. If possible add a study table, safe drawers to the guest room. On top of accommodation, we offer extra services like airport pickup, Wi-Fi, meals and tours and safaris.
We believe all passionate travelers realize that the most treasured experiences are from encounters with local people. Although travel agencies are willing to show you the major attractions, none will offer you a personalized experience.
Please read before traveling: info for travelers
African people are known for their hospitality, and our host families particularly enjoy meeting people from around the world and making them feel part of the family. Make yourself at home in their home, but please also respect the family and their routines and habits. Read this information in order to know what to expect from your host family and what your host family will expect from you. Follow these guidelines in order to benefit the most from your stay.
Food in Africa may be very different from food in your country. Your host family will serve local dishes. If there is something which you do not like, and never eat, tell your family. Be adventurous and try new things. As we have many cultures all across Africa, the food can be quite varied depending on your host family’s culture. Families generally do not allow visitors to cook.
Breakfast is a light meal – fruit juice, cereal, bread/toast, jam, tea or coffee. Most host families’ work, which means they eat breakfast early. If you do not want to eat breakfast early, ask your host family where the cereal or bread is kept and prepare your own breakfast a bit later. Remember to check with your family how the appliances work before you use them.
In most cases, host families do not provide you with lunch since during day many travelers are out to explore the area.
Dinner is a more substantial cooked meal, where the family sit down together, and may be eaten anytime between 6pm and 9pm, depending on the particular family’s routine. Use this time to practice local languages. Try to be home as often as possible for dinner.
Inform your host family well in advance if you will not be home for dinner. You will not be compensated for any missed meals at your homestay. If you choose not to eat with your host family, you will not be refunded this money. You may not substitute meals either, e.g. have lunch instead of dinner.
Laundry may either be done at the host family at an extra charge, or at a commercial laundry. The host family will arrange this with you directly.
Room and Bathroom
Your linen and towels will be changed and cleaned once a week by the host family, but it is up to you to keep your room neat and tidy. If you need to share a bathroom with the family, remember it is polite to leave the bathroom the way you found it. Have some consideration for the other people in the house and do not take too long in the bathroom.
If you are going out, or will not be home for dinner, tell your family well in advance. Also let them know where you are going and the time you expect to be back. Never stay out late at night without informing your family. It is always a good idea to take down your host family’s telephone number and give them your cellular number so that they can call you should there be a problem.
Be open minded
We try hard to find the best possible match between family and guest, but it is very important for all parties to remain open-minded. Matching all criteria perfectly, in this setting, is unrealistic.
We therefore ask you to remain open minded and respectful toward your family in all regards. Sometimes, the first few days can be difficult with many new impressions, different ways of doing things, different food, etc. but give yourself a chance to get used to things, and you will see that after the first week it will become much easier for you.
Most often, our travelers become good friends with their host families by the time they leave, and many have developed life-long friendships.
If you are not entirely satisfied:
- Talk to your family first. If there is anything they are not getting right, please give them a chance to correct it.
- If talking doesn’t fix the problem or you find it difficult to talk to them, please contact us. Our homestay manager will find the right way to address the issue, or will mediate between both parties.
- The homestay manager will discuss the possibility of changing family.
If you are still not entirely satisfied, a meeting with the General Manager can be arranged.
Please check with your host family:
- Visits by friends.
- Use of the telephone and the Internet.
- If you come home late
- Respect the family and their routines and habits.
- You are allowed to come and go as you please but please bear in mind that you are staying with other people and need to be polite.
- Remember to ask your family about the rules of the house (telephone and computer usage, playing of music, watching TV, meal times, alarm codes, etc).
- Always let your family know where you are going and how late you will be home. Take down their telephone number and give them your number in case of an emergency.
- Communicate your thoughts, likes and dislikes with your host family. This will help you as well as open the lines of communication between you and your hosts.
- Do not smoke in a nonsmoking household unless the family says it is okay.
- You may not have an overnight guest.
- If you come home late, be mindful of the other people in the house. Come in quietly and do not disturb the other people in the house.
- Be independent.
- If you have a concern about your home stay accommodation, it is always best to discuss this with your host family first. Host families are open to discussion and might not even know it is a problem for you. So before a small problem becomes a big problem speak, to your family and try to come to an agreement. If you are still unhappy with your accommodation.