Mentoring Families: World Water Day in Kenya

Mentoring Families: World Water Day in Kenya

World Water Day is an annual event on March 22nd, and this year, our team was in Kenya to install a Water Storage System at a school in a community called Nkareta, where we have worked for the past year and a half. Typically, when we install a Water Storage System, we will use a 3000 liter tank, but for the school, we opted for a 10,000 liter tank. Thanks to our Water Fundraiser on Facebook, we were able to raise the funds for it in time. The impact this will have on the school will be incredible, as rainwater will be stored in the upcoming rainy season.

 

In June 2018, we built and planted large Garden SaCs at the school, to provide vegetables and nutrition for the teachers and students. They have been eating from them, and harvesting since then. Without water to water the gardens during the dry season, it has been a challenge to keep them going, but they have managed. The Water Storage System will give them the additional water they need. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed! 

Since November 2017, we have installed four other Water Storage Systems, but they have all been at the homes of families that we are working with. We recently visited one of the families in Ntulele, and the tank has been wonderful for them, because when it rains, it provides water, and when it is dry, they can have water brought in and store it for longer for their family. Our goal is to continue providing water storage systems, hopefully 3-4 a year, for families. 

Our focus as an organization is to help families with economic development and self-reliance all over the world. Our projects are currently centered in Kenya, but our methods are duplicatable and can be implemented anywhere. 

We begin with teaching stewardship through gardening, which is a low-cost start up program that allows us to see if the family is willing to really work with us. The goal is to grow the garden for food, and sell the excess to help the family with additional supplies. We typically work with families who fall below the poverty line of living on less than $1.90/day. Through our training, we hope to bring them out of extreme poverty, and create sustainability. 

When a family shows good stewardship in growing the gardens, we provide them with a rooster and 5 chickens to start a small chicken breeding program. As an example, one family that we did this with grew their chickens to 40, and are now selling up to 35 eggs each day at 10 cents per egg. 

When a family can sell 35 eggs each day, they are now out of extreme poverty and above the poverty line, but we continue to expand with goats for milk as well as cows. 

While we continue to fundraise for these programs, we have launched a breeding program for chickens, goats and cows at the training center we built in Nkareta, Kenya. We started with 3 cows, 5 goats, and 50 chickens. We also have a community garden with 40 garden towers. 

We are now up to 6 cows, 20 goats, and 66 chickens. The money generated from this goes to help support the training center initiatives like fabric to sew school uniforms, and school fees for families. 

The Business Box for Families consists of gardens, chickens, goats, and cows, given to families along with mentoring and education on how to use the resources to generate the most income possible for their families. 

Events: Alex Boye and Lemarti Connection – Part 2

Events: Alex Boye and Lemarti Connection – Part 2

Alex Boye and Lemarti Connection – Part 2

The days went by, and we started planning a concert to be held on The Maasai Mara. I had become friends with Stephen Leken on Facebook, a very popular Maasai Gospel singer. We were also able to have another singer, Pastor Ben, whom we later began working with on projects in his community. Then, one day, Moses said, “I wonder if we could get Lemarti to perform.” Lemarti is a Samburu performer with a Bob Marley Reggae vibe, and we listen to his music a lot on our expeditions. It turned out that Lemarti was in the U.S. at the time, so Moses started chatting with him, and finally we came up with an agreement for him to perform at the concert. We were at a Mexican restaurant when it all came together. Suddenly, Moses got a very funny look on his face. He turned his phone around, and showed me the Alex Boye video “Circle of Life” featuring LEMARTI. What?! How was this happening?! But first, we had A Taste of Kenya to host, and the week of the event, Alex called me and we arranged to film Promised Land the day of the event. It would include shukas and a potbelly pig and walking around downtown Salt Lake City. Behind the scenes, it was hilarious watching people get all excited about the pig, and want to pet the pig, when there were two Africans in full shuka (the Maasai dress) standing there. I heard maybe one person say, “I think that’s Alex Boye.”

The best part of the day was ending up at A Taste of Kenya, and surprising the attendees with the news that they were going to be in an Alex Boye video that night! We had amazing performers at that event. Cactus Jack and Jenn Marco both performed, along with WOFA Afro Fusion. We wound up the night singing Karaoke and dancing and it was a really fun party. 

We also raised money for families in Kenya to receive cows and goats, in addition to school fees and reusable feminine hygiene kits! 

Women’s Initiatives: 100 Humanitarians Meets the HopeSaC

Women’s Initiatives: 100 Humanitarians Meets the HopeSaC

Who would have thought a chance meeting in the spring of 2018 would have placed me where I am today? Teaching thermal cooking to women in rural communities in Kenya.

Of all things, it was at a sew-a-thon, sewing underwear that I first met Heidi Totten. I knew she ran some kind of humanitarian thing and I wanted to see what she thought about the thermal cooking bag I called a HopeSaC, which stands for Hope, Service and Charity.

Long story short, Heidi took 5 HopeSaC kits to Kenya in June of 2018. A HopeSaC kit includes pre-sewn components for a fabric thermal cooker. Once filled with insulation it can be used to cook, saving time, fuel and money.

The first thing Heidi said to me after returning from her June trip was “I want you on the trip in October with more of those HopeSaCs”.

Like I would say “no”. 🙂

Where does one even start when sharing Kenya? The trip was over-the-top amazing! I loved everything about the experience. But of course, my time sharing HopeSaC with the people was the activity closest to my heart.

We took 30 HopeSaC kits on the October 2019 trip. Some of the kits went to Bomet, others to the Mara and the Rescue center in Narok. But the two days we spent in Nkareta were something special.

The days were hot. Much of the time was spent building GardenSaCs/towers at the homes of people in the community. I remember at one point someone coming to me and saying, “Cindy, you have got to see this”.  After which I was escorted into a kitchen. It was actually a mud hut, inside the door was a short walkway which lead to one small room with three-bed areas. In the center toward the back wall, I could see the glow of embers in a version of a clay rocket stove. It was U shaped leaving one side open to feed kindling and keep the fire going, a pot sitting on top. Yes, the room was hot, unbearably, and smoky, my eyes were burning, but what affected me the most was the darkness. It was almost pitch black inside with no electricity to turn on a light.

All I could think about was “this is why I do this” one cooker at a time.

We spent some time showing the women how to use the HopeSaCs. They gathered around and were listening, watching and asking questions. All with skepticism showing clearly on their faces. They seriously thought I was crazy. What made it worse was that the pot I had brought from the hotel could not be placed on the open flame so they had to pour boiling water over the rice instead of bringing it to a boil. Not something I would suggest doing by the way.

Their skepticism was short lived. Just over an hour later I opened the HopeSaC to reveal beautifully cooked rice. The room was abuzz with excited and surprised women speaking quickly to each other.

They liked the HopeSaCs! 🙂

A few of weeks later I received pictures showing the women working together, teaching each other how to use the HopeSaC cookers.  I love those pictures and what they represent!

I leave again next week, making my way back to Kenya. It has been four months since my first trip. 100 Humanitarian and The HopeSaC Project will be hosting a ceremony in Nkareta for 25 women who are now HopeSaC Certified Users. We will be taking HopeSaC kits with us for 15 more families in Nkareta, and more to Bomet where 20 families will start learning and teaching each other the art of retained heat cooking.

Amazing.

Here we are, it is almost spring again, one short year later.

It has been an amazing and very humbling journey.

And it is only the beginning.

Stay tuned. 🙂