I have just returned from Kenya with my heart full of gratitude. I visited our projects in Naekarra (Jackson’s community) and in Maji Moto (Wilson’s community). I want you to know that your donations have been making an incredible difference in the lives of the people there. They met me with celebratory songs and dances, as well as speeches to express their gratitude. Of course, they asked me to send along their appreciation and their blessings to you.
I had a chance to be there when some of your donations for women’s businesses were distributed. In each community, more than a hundred women gathered under trees to meet and orient the new women who were becoming business owners. I was impressed with the structure that Jackson and Wilson had put in place. Each group had a chairperson who coordinated their meetings. They guided the women as to how to use the money to sell vegetables and grains at the market, how to put aside money for the next week, how much to keep for their families, how much to save to pay it forward, and how to contribute to the savings box to be shared by the community in case of emergency. Each woman who was called to the front to receive a donation was congratulated, and she expressed her heartfelt gratitude. The entire group celebrated their accomplishments. Women from our original group, started three years ago, were there and were still supporting others. Almost 1,000 women have been empowered through this project, and the number is growing exponentially! I was so moved to see how far $50 can go to change lives.
I also visited the solar powered well that has been installed in Naekarra. I was met by a parade of school children who were grateful that they no longer had to walk 2 kilometers to and from the dam, to bring polluted water home before going to school. Now, clean water is available for the families, for livestock, and for wild animals. The water is collected in separate areas for each of those three groups, so that water stays clean from the animals. People are no longer drinking polluted water and becoming ill from typhoid and cholera. We are now in the process of pumping the water directly to the school, so that children can bring water home after school every day. They say "Water is Life." We are also starting the process of installing a second well in another remote area. During times of drought, this will be life-giving.
Our third project is the community clinic. Community members, including mamas with babies, elders, and the clinic committee members welcomed me. I met the full-time nurse (who they call their doctor), who we are supporting, as well as the Maasai healer who provides herbal treatments which have been found to be effective for thousands of years. While I was there, I also met a health service volunteer named Benjamin, an educator who is committed to providing healthcare to his community. He hopes to become a nurse, but does not have the financial resources to go back to school. He did not ask for money, but I feel that it would be a wonderful investment to provide him with tuition funds so that he can pursue his dream and serve his community. Tuition for him will be $600 per trimester, so $1,800 per year for 3 years. I am personally inspired to contribute to that possibility, and invite you to participate in Benjamin’s journey.
Please know that your contributions are making a very real and sustainable difference in the lives of these people. I carried you in my heart and will keep you informed about our Next Steps.