Triennial Gathering,
Nakuru, Kenya
2–8 July 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re so excited to welcome you to Kenya for the 2023 Triennial! We realize that you may have questions while deciding if international travel to Kenya and the FUM/USFWI/QMI Triennial is right for you. We hope that this initial information in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be helpful to our non-African Friends in discerning whether to make this trip. There will be additional orientation materials sent to everyone who registers, with lots more details. If you have pre-registration questions that aren’t answered here, please email Sussie at 2023Triennial@fum.org  and she will do her best to get you the answers you need.

Sussie Ndanyi, Triennial Coordinator
Kelly Kellum, FUM General Secretary

What kinds of documents will I need?

All travelers, including children, will need a passport that will still be valid for six months after your return date. You should apply now for a first-time passport or check now on the expiration date of an existing passport.

About three months before you travel, you will need to apply online for a Kenyan tourist visa. The visa costs $56. You will receive more instructions on applying after your registration is confirmed.

Is it safe to travel in Kenya?

Safety is always relative and hard to quantify. Each person will need to do their own discernment, together with their family. FUM would not be hosting a Triennial at a time and in a place that we didn’t feel confident was suitable for international travelers.

While The US Department of State issues travel warnings about traveling to Kenya , the areas of the conference, and most activities of the Friends church, are not in the regions of security concern.

Kenya has a very hospitable and welcoming culture. Be aware that, as an outsider, you are likely to attract attention in public places. This attention may not always feel comfortable to you, but it is not hostile or dangerous, and if you feel uncertain, you can count on Kenyans stepping forward to help you.

Am I healthy enough to travel to Kenya?

Please talk with your doctor about whether you are healthy enough to make a trip like this. Health care is more basic in Kenya, and emergency medicine is limited in many areas of the country. We do have fairly good emergency services in Nakuru, and you can get nearly all medical services in Nairobi.  Make sure to be really open and honest about health issues and limitations, especially if you choose to participate in a pre- or post-Triennial option that includes travel outside of Nairobi and Nakuru. Are you able to walk several city blocks while carrying a shoulder bag or small suitcase? Most times you will be able to go at your own pace, and there are no races to win. We don’t want to scare you away from this opportunity, but we do ask you to make an honest assessment of your health for your own good—and the good of your fellow travelers and hosts.

Please bring with you a full supply of any prescription and over-the-counter medications that you routinely need, in their original packaging. It isn’t wise to count on being able to purchase medicines while traveling.

Can I bring my children?

Children are welcome and there will be a children’s program during the week. We’re not expecting any Kenyan children to attend the Triennial because it is not customary for children to attend conferences with their parents, and schools are in session in July. The children’s program leaders will find meaningful ways for your kids to experience Kenyan culture and interact with Kenyan peers. If your child is a picky eater, consider bringing some back-up staples, since Kenyan meals are rather monotonous and may be quite unfamiliar.

Are buildings and facilities accessible for people with mobility issues?

There are few legal requirements in Kenya for making public spaces physically accessible. The hostels on campus whereTriennial participants will be housed are multi-storied, and there are no functioning elevators. You may request a ground floor room if you are unable to climb steps.

Some of the pre- and post-Triennial options involve more rugged conditions or more extensive walking

I am vegetarian/vegan/lactose or gluten intolerant/have food allergies. Can these be accommodated?

Food allergies, restrictions and preferences are not well understood in Kenya. The average diet is simple, repetitive, and carbohydrate heavy. What you see is what you get—there aren’t many hidden ingredients. Most Kenyans are not used to asking for or expecting individual choices, and kitchens are not used to providing alternative meals.

However, the University is accustomed to hosting conferences with international delegates, and they have assured us that they will work cooperatively with us to provide food suitable for those with dietary restrictions. Please be sure to indicate your need on the registration form.

The staple Kenya starch, which will be available at every meal, is a maize-meal grits called ugali. This is a naturally gluten-free vegan food.

Are LGBTQ+ persons safe and welcome?

Homosexual activity is illegal and punishable with jail time in Kenya (and in most of Africa). As a theologically and socially conservative society, all things LGBTQ+ are quite taboo, and that is true among most Kenyan Quakers as well. One thing to keep in mind is that public affection, even between straight men and women, is not common and might make people uncomfortable. And almost all of the Kenyans at the conference would be very uncomfortable with any public display of affection by a same-sex couple.

Our request: Please don’t come with an intention to raise the issue or with a desire to provoke conflict among Friends. But you can be your authentic self, and you may find that you will have surprisingly insightful and caring one-on-one conversations across the lines of difference.

What languages will I need to understand?

English and Swahili are the two official languages in Kenya. Most people also speak their “mother tongue” or tribal language. Most people you meet at the Triennial conference will speak English. Please indicate on the registration form if you require Spanish or Swahili language support.  

What will accommodations be like at the conference?

Most Triennial participants will stay in student housing. The student hostels have simple rooms with bunk beds and off-suite restrooms. There are a limited number of hotel-style rooms, with en-suite restrooms available at the Guest House. Friends may wish to make their own arrangements to stay at one of the many hotels in Nakuru.

While I’m in Kenya, can I visit Quaker sites or do a safari?

Since you are traveling a great distance, we hope you will consider a travel option prior to and/or immediately after the Triennial. See the Travel Options page to see the pre- and post-conference excursions we have planned. You will have opportunities to visit Friends ministry sites, provide service, or go on an animal safari.

Will I have to book my own flights?

You are responsible for booking international flights; most international flights arrive and depart from Nairobi very late at night. This means arriving on the evening before the start of any booked event and departing on the evening at the end of any booked event. Suggested arrival and departure dates:  
• Arriving for a pre-conference and departing after the triennial: June 26-July 8.  
• Arriving for the Triennial and departing after the Triennial: July 1-July 8.
• Arriving for a pre-conference excursion and departing after a post-conference excursion: June 26-July 12.
• Arriving for the Triennial and departing after a post-conference excursion: July 1-July 12.  
You should not book any flights until you are sure of the pre- or post-Triennial excursions in which you will participate.
For help with international bookings, we recommend using Golden Rule Travel: www.goldenruletravel.com, or call 1-800-950-3599.

How will I know what to do or where to go when I land in Nairobi?

If you purchased one of our “Arrivals Packages,” someone will meet you at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and place you on a shuttle to your hotel, where you will spend the night before departing for a pre-conference excursion or the Triennial in Nakuru.

Can you help me plan a personalized itinerary before or after the Triennial?

You are responsible for arranging travel and accommodations if your itinerary departs from the pre-arranged packages or excursions provided. We would ask that you be mindful of the fact that all of the FUM-related ministries and personnel will be fully occupied with organized groups. Therefore, it will not be possible for you to plan an individual visit to any of those sites at the same time.

How can I stay in touch with people back home?

There will be WiFi internet at the Triennial venue, though the bandwidth may be limited due to the large number of Triennial participants. In the orientation packet, we will also give you detailed information on how to set yourself up with a Kenyan cell phone while you’re here. With this option, you could tether your computer for internet access for a reasonable cost.

What is the deadline to register and pay?

Late fees will be assessed for registration forms submitted after 1 March 2023 for non-Africans, and after 1 April 2023 for Africans. The late fee will also be assessed on any payments received after 15 April 2023.

If I need to cancel, can I get a refund?

The cancellation policy is as follows:

Cancellation of the Triennial and of the pre- and post-Triennial options (with the exception of the safari):

·       Cancellations on or before 31 March – entitled to a refund of 85% of the amount paid to date

·       Cancellations between 1 April and 15 May – entitled to a refund of 50% of the amount paid to date

·       Cancellations between 16 May and 30 June – entitled to a refund of 35% of the total fees charged

·       Cancellations on or after 1 July – no refund

Special Cancellation policy for the safari:

·       Cancellations on or before 31 March – entitled to a refund of 85% of the amount paid to date

·       Cancellations between 1 April and 31 May – entitled to a refund of 50% of the cost of the safari

·       Cancellations on or after 1 June – no refund

All cancellations must be received in writing (by post or email).

I know I want to come, but I can’t pay for it all at once. Can I pay in installments?

We require that you pay 50% at the time of registration. You can complete your payment in installments, as long as you have paid in full by 1 March 2023.

What if I have a question that you didn’t answer here?

Please contact us at 2023Triennial@fum.org and we’ll do our best to answer your question!