Some advice from spouses who have visited Tenwek multiple times:
“Go with big eyes and big ears. Enjoy the experience!”
“It’s a long and challenging day for your spouse. He or she will be so glad you are there.”
“Be flexible, curious, and adventurous!”
“Observe and explore. Be open to new opportunities.”
“Some of my closest friends are the visiting spouses I met at Tenwek.”
A short-term medical missionary visit to Tenwek is rich, overwhelming, and deeply spiritual. It’s hard to convey the impact to someone who has not shared the experience. That’s why many of the medical staff members who visit Tenwek Hospital for short-term service are accompanied by their spouses and, oftentimes, their children. In this way, Christian service becomes an unforgettable family experience.
Tenwek is a safe, family-friendly environment. Among the beautiful hills of Western Kenya, the climate is temperate year-round.
Housing on the hospital campus in apartments and guest houses is based on space available. All housing is arranged through World Medical Mission/Samaritan’s Purse, which coordinates all short-term medical missionary visits.
There are a limited number of apartments that can accommodate families, so arrangements for those spaces must be requested well in advance (at least six months.) Accommodations for couples are more plentiful – usually in one-room studio apartments with a small kitchen, hot/cold water, Internet access, and electricity. Local residents are available to provide cooking, cleaning, and laundry services and to help visitors acclimate to the wider community.
The town of Bomet – with access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other family necessities – is a 15-minute car drive away. Transportation can be arranged through the onsite FOT Ambassador once or twice a week for a modest fee. You can purchase basic necessities in town at a small grocery store and fabric store, visit the weekly open market, and access an ATM.
You can communicate with family and friends back home via email and phone. Your best option for economical phone service is to purchase a SIM card for $5-10 while you are in Nairobi; airtime then can be purchased inexpensively as needed. You will need your passport in hand to purchase the SIM card in Nairobi.
Spouses and children are invited to participate in a number of activities sponsored by the hospital, missionaries, and local churches. The FOT Ambassador can help you identify activities, but there is no daily schedule (as there would be on a mission trip.) So plan to be a creative self-starter to enjoy the full experience!
Activity options include:
- Hold babies in the NICU
- Visit children on the pediatric ward
Threads of Hope (Vocational Sewing School)
- Assist the Kenyan sewing teachers with class instructions if you are there for an extended time
- Connect with stateside sponsors to help carry supplies for the school’s students
- Help cut patterns for cloth diapers and hygiene products
- Prepare and deliver snacks for lunch (fruit, hard boiled eggs, bread and butter)
- Use an electric sewing machine at your guesthouse to mend clothes for missionary families
- Learn more about Threads of Hope
Rural medicine opportunities depend upon available transportation that must be arranged in advance
- Weigh babies on wellness visits
- Deliver wheelchairs to special needs children in remote villages
- Share the Gospel and celebrate the children’s new-found mobility
Full-time Missionary Families
- Prepare treats for Bible studies
- Prepare a special meal
- Provide childcare