We went to the Oiboos for the first time a year ago. Our hope was to plant a garden, but the land was dusty, dry, and hard. The family was happy and welcoming, but there was nothing we could do at the time.
Six months later we were ready to try again. We rolled up in our dark green jeeps past a cluster of dung huts, and parked under a tree casting sparse shade.
The whole family came out to meet us, smiles on their faces, and warmth in their hearts. The rains had come in our absence and the family had prepared the ground for our return.
Our June team immediately got to work. Our plan was to plant two garden boxes and surround them with a fence to keep animals out. 100 Humanitarians has sustainable development goals. We want the things we do to have long term, life-changing benefits.
We separated into two teams. Team fence, and team garden.
One of the challenges in Kenya is the lack of tools. We can’t just go to the hardware store to purchase post-hole diggers or shovels. That didn’t stop the team, and indeed, doesn’t stop our Kenyan friends either. We dug fence holes with machetes and our hands, tamping the earth down around the posts slowly and methodically.
The land they had prepared was on a slope, but held deep, rich, black soil. The garden team made tiers out of the area for the two garden boxes, moving dirt with their hands and placing it into large bags to move it.
We worked in the hot sun, sweat dripping down our foreheads and making streaks in the caked-on dirt. It was arduous and difficult, but it would turn out to be rewarding.
Pastor Ben, a long-time friend of 100 Humanitarians, encouraged us to pray before we left. We stood in a circle holding hands. A song was sung. A prayer was said. We left two garden boxes partitioned by perfect squares made with bright blue cords. The seeds slept safely beneath the soil. And our hopes stayed with the Oiboos.
Soon after the June team returned home, we began to receive word about the Oiboos. The garden was growing! Not only that, but it was doing well! However, pictures can only tell a part of the story.
Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw when we went at the beginning of November 2017.
This time, the plan was to expand their garden. Again, we drove through the cluster of dung huts and waved to the family. We parked under the same tree. Those who had been to the Oiboos before, immediately walked to the garden. We stopped with our mouths open. Not only had they kept the garden going, they had expanded it to three times the size we had left it. The dark soil was covered with green, healthy, life-giving plants. Tears came to our eyes. They were doing it! They had taken the gift they had been given, and multiplied it. They were living the principles that 100 Humanitarians stands for.
This time, after we planted two more boxes, the family offered to feed us a lunch of rice and goat meat. We had a chance to talk to them over the meal. Through language barriers and smiles we discovered that they are using funds raised from the extra produce to send children to school. Our hearts were full.
The Oiboos are now ready to help mentor their neighbors in gardening. This was our goal, and through hard work, and blessings, this is what is happening.
Thank you to everyone who has been able to donate. You are helping to lift, educate, and inspire people.