Expedition Stories: Becky Mackintosh Goes to Kenya

Expedition Stories: Becky Mackintosh Goes to Kenya

Becky Mackintosh: Author, Speaker, and Mom of Seven

“Do you want to go to Kenya?” 

That’s the question my friend Heidi Totten, founder of non-profit 100 Hundred Humanitarians International asked me in 2015. “Duh! YES! Sign me up!”  My first trip to Kenya was in November of 2016, it was life changing to the core! Every day, I said “My husband Scott would love this!”  Upon returning home, I quickly signed us up to go together with Heidi in 2017.  I was confident that once Scott met the people, took part in the projects, saw hundreds of African animals that he’d be hooked! And I was right!! Scott and I now lead the Share the Love team –we utilize his construction skills; therefore, we are called the “Building Team.” We build buildings and build relationships as we work side by side the people in the communities. 

One of 100 Humanitarians rule of thumb is “Families in Kenya don’t need a handout, they need a hand up.”  Therefore, we go a bit deeper by joining hands and teaching each other. We teach families how to leverage their resources through economic development and self-reliance. They teach us about love, gratitude, simplicity, and joy. 

Our first year as Team Leads, Scott and I led a team of fourteen. Our main project that trip was to build a Training Center made from earth bags in a remote village in Nkareta. (Earthbags are sandbags only filled with dirt.) The Training Center would be used as a sewing center  and a mentoring gathering place for literacy and other self-reliance skills.  Upon our arrival the foundation for the Training Center had been dug and the foundation laid.  Our team divided into groups and eagerly went right to work; digging dirt, filling the bags, stapling, and transporting the bags to the building site where a group of men set the bags in their proper place where they were leveled and secured with a line of barbed wire to secure them in place.  

We worked tirelessly for days. It was so rewarding to see the progress and each day more and more villagers showing up to help.  When our time in Kenya had come to an end, the villagers continued working on the Training Center.  As it neared completion another team fundraised for sewing machines and trained the women how to sew!  The final touches of painting the inside and outside of Training Center was saved for our Share the Love February 2020 expedition team. It was breathtaking and rewarding to see the project from start to finish. 

The Training Center has been a life changing financial recourse for their community. The women are able to sew and sell school uniforms to neighboring schools which provides them with the needed funds to send their children to school, which brings life changing possibilities. 

So I ask you, “Do you want to go to Kenya?” 

The Nkareta Training Center

Expedition Stories: Stephen Leken Performs for 100 Humanitarians

Expedition Stories: Stephen Leken Performs for 100 Humanitarians

Stephen Leken: Maasai Gospel Singer

Stephen Leken is one of the most well known Maasai Gospel singers in Kenya, and in the fall of 2016, he came to the Maasai Mara to perform at our concert for the Emparnat Cultural Centre. One of my favorite songs is Kaanyor, which means I love you in Maasai. 

Stephen and his wife, Faith, often perform together, as she dances in most of his YouTube videos. 

A few days after the concert, we held a housewarming part for David Kupai, who had built a house in his village called Ilturisho. 

The Housewarming Party

Just like the concert, hundreds of people came to celebrate David’s house, and hear Stephen perform. There was music, food, dancing, and a lot of love. We are grateful that Stephen and Faith stayed for a few days to be there. 

At one point, I punched David in the arm and said, “Can you believe that Stephen Leken and Lemarti are performing at your housewarming party?!” 

Traditionally, Maasai live in mud huts, called Manyattas. This was David’s first house that he had built, so it was cause for a huge celebration in the community. 

Expedition Stories: Alex Boye and Lemarti Perform for 100 Humanitarians

Expedition Stories: Alex Boye and Lemarti Perform for 100 Humanitarians

Alex Boye Performs at A Taste of Kenya

A Taste of Kenya. Alex Boye. Seemed like a logical combination, right? Not so. When we decided to do the event, we reached out to two amazing performers, Cactus Jack and Jennifer Marco, who both suggested we reach out to Alex. I took a chance and emailed his people via his website, but didn’t receive a response. So, I just left it up to fate, and boy did fate intervene! A few weeks later, my friend Heather messaged me and said, “Will Moses be awake the night he arrives in the U.S.?” We had decided to fly Moses to the U.S. for a few weeks for different events and meetings that we were putting on, and it turned out that Alex Boye was doing a free concert the night Moses was arriving, and that she had free tickets.

“Yes, Moses will be awake, and will be there in a shuka!” Bless his heart, even though he was exhausted from 30 hours of international travel from Kenya, he got dressed up and we headed downtown to the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City. The opening act was a jazz band that put us both to sleep, but then Alex took the stage. I knew (KNEW) that if Alex saw Moses in his Maasai shuka that it would be game over. Except he didn’t see him. We didn’t know what to do after the concert and waited around for a bit to see if Alex would come out, but he didn’t. So finally Moses took the reigns and said, “He’s still in the theater so let’s just go in.”

We went back into the auditorium and saw Alex and crew cleaning up the stage. As we walked towards them, suddenly Alex saw Moses and it was like everything went into slow motion as he yelled, “MAASAI!” and jumped off the stage. The next few minutes were a blur, as we met Alex and made arrangements for Moses to join him in filming a video the next day.

Alex Boye Meets Moses Masoi

I had mentioned A Taste of Kenya to Alex and he thought he would be out of town for it, so that pretty much ended that conversation, but we still had the next day to look forward to. I think Moses was in a shuka more during those first few days in the U.S. than he is during a month in Kenya, but he was a great sport about it.

The next day we met Alex at a drum shop in Salt Lake to film the video. To my knowledge, it was never released to the public, but it was a really fun morning. After we wrapped up, we talked and brainstormed about doing another video where Alex would be able to wear the traditional Maasai clothing, and agreed that we would text and set a date. Little did we know what was going to be in the works over the next few weeks!

Alex Boye and Lemarti

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, a potbelly pig, searching for Al Fox Carraway, 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! 

Lemarti Performs on the Maasai Mara

After wrapping up A Taste of Kenya, we headed TO Kenya with our team, and drove the to Maasai Mara for a concert with Lemarti. Lemarti is the most popular and well-known performer among the Maasai and Samburu tribes in Kenya. Literally, every ringtone you hear is a Lemarti song. 

And we were bringing him to the Maasai Mara for a free concert to kick-off our plan to build the Emparnat Cultural Centre. This was a huge deal for the community, and we had hundreds of people coming, including government officials and community leaders. 

Lemarti brought Resh, Saning'o, and Jeff Ole Kishau with him, and after performing, they decided to stay with our team and spend a few days on safari with us. It was incredible. Lemarti brought his guitar on our game drive, and we all sang "Jambo Bwana" over a picnic lunch looking out over the greater Maasai Mara.

On every expedition, we try to bring in something unique, that is beyond what our team expects. We've had Lemarti join us on another expedition as well, and his music has become the background for a lot of 100 Humanitarians International videos. Someday, we will get him to the United States to perform at Humanijam, and you'll get to meet the "Bob Marley of Kenya." 

Safari in Kenya on The Maasai Mara

Safari in Kenya on The Maasai Mara

The Best Safari in Kenya

When you go on safari in Kenya, you want to try to see The Big Five! You almost always see three of them – the lion, elephant, and cape buffalo. The leopard and rhino can be a bit elusive, however, so you want a great safari guide. 

We happen to work with the best safari guides that Kenya has to offer. They lead safaris expeditions year-round, when they aren’t driving the 100 Humanitarians team. 

Go on a Maasai Mara Safari

The Maasai Mara is known for the Maasai Tribe, the indigenous people who live in and around the Masai Mara National Reserve. When you go on safari with a Maasai Guide, you learn from the people who know safari the best, because they have grown up with the big game animals. 

The Serengeti and the Maasai Mara are only separated by political borders, with the Serengeti being 9 times the size of the Maasai Mara. The Maasai Mara is home to the Great Migration in Africa, where the wildebeest and other animals migrate around 1000 miles each year. The migration typically begins as the wildebeest cross the Mara River in July or August, but can be seen as early as June.

There is nothing quite like being out in the wild with animals in their natural habitat. Check out this video by our friend, Jonathan Kaelo. 

The five brothers are a group of cheetahs that have banded together to hunt. It’s incredible to see them work together. 

Everyone should get to experience a safari in Kenya at least once in their lifetime. We take families on expeditions, and can also plan a unique experience for you with our Maasai safari guides. Just sign up and get in touch with us via email or on Facebook

Expedition Stories: Visiting a Maasai Village in Kenya

Expedition Stories: Visiting a Maasai Village in Kenya

Visit a Maasai Village in Kenya

To visit a Maasai Village in Kenya is one of the most incredible experiences you can have, and not many will have that opportunity in their lives. 100 Humanitarians International provides opportunities for tourism, culture, and humanitarian service with Maasai families in Kenya. 

One of our favorite cultural experiences is visiting a working Maasai Village. We learn how the houses are made, how to make fire, and shop in the market for souvenirs and memories. 

Maasai Jumping Contest

Maasai Warriors are known throughout the world for their jumping ability. From the time they are young, they develop the muscles needed to jump very high, straight up in the air. The jumping competition determines how many girlfriends a young warrior can have, traditionally. 

When you arrive a the Maasai Village, you will be greeted by the “Wall of Warriors” singing and dancing and welcoming you to their village. 

As you watch the Maasai warriors dance and sing, it’s like being transported back in time. The Maasai are one of the most indigenous tribes in the world, and the oldest tribe in Kenya. They once were nomadic, only settling in the Maasai Mara over the past 100 years. They maintain their traditional dress and much of their culture is still intact from hundreds of years ago. 

As technology comes into the world, the culture is beginning to change. Many Maasai Warriors are now seeking employment outside of the Maasai Mara. They become safari guides and work for the county governments. As children are educated, they are leaving their culture to attend University. It won’t be long before the Maasai way of life will change entirely.

Listen to our Executive Director, Moses Masoi, talk about the Maasai culture on a podcast with Scott and Becky Mackintosh. Watch Moses talk about what we have accomplished in Kenya since 2016.

Every expedition includes immersion into the Maasai culture, as we honor the traditions of the people who live on the land and practice conservation. We hope that you will join us in Kenya and experience it yourself! 

Lemarti brought Resh, Saning'o, and Jeff Ole Kishau with him, and after performing, they decided to stay with our team and spend a few days on safari with us. It was incredible. Lemarti brought his guitar on our game drive, and we all sang "Jambo Bwana" over a picnic lunch looking out over the greater Maasai Mara.

On every expedition, we try to bring in something unique, that is beyond what our team expects. We've had Lemarti join us on another expedition as well, and his music has become the background for a lot of 100 Humanitarians International videos. Someday, we will get him to the United States to perform at Humanijam, and you'll get to meet the "Bob Marley of Kenya." 

The $5 Friday Fundraisers on Facebook

The $5 Friday Fundraisers on Facebook

What is a $5 Friday Fundraiser on Facebook?

$5 Friday Fundraisers on Facebook began back in July 2015 when we decided to start 100 Humanitarians International. We were able to fundraise for 25 desks for Tenkes School, and later we added a new kitchen to cook for 300 kids daily, because their mud kitchen had fallen down in a rainstorm. After that, we would just sporadically run a $5 Friday Fundraiser, until Facebook created the capability for us to do it on their platform. Game-changer! Suddenly we could reach more people, and since we are a non-profit, 100% of the fees were waived, therefore 100% of donations could go towards a project. Brilliant!

Our first Facebook $5 Friday Fundraiser was in July of 2018. We decided we wanted to raise the money to build 100 Garden Towers in Kenya for Families on our expeditions. The goal was $1000. Thanks to generous donations, we were able to fundraise $1300, allowing us to start a vegetable seedling garden to use for the garden towers. We will begin with 20 families on our Fall expedition! We got the idea last June from Jacob, our community director for Nkareta, and were able to build 8 garden towers. four were at a school in Nkareta, and then we planted two garden towers for two families that we have worked with over the past year.

We have also built raised garden beds with families, but have found these to be easier, more portable, and more cost effective. We can pile up the jeeps with bags and take them to multiple locations easily! We are really grateful for the ability to get more done and help more families with this innovation.

 

 

 

Our August $5 Friday Fundraiser was also unbelievably successful, and we were able to finish our commitment to provide 1000 reusable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls in Kenya. They were distributed to three schools in Nairobi, Nkareta, and Bomet, as well as women in the slums who were in the Kenyan news about not having access to sanitary pads.

We were able to raise $3000 in August for the Zariel Days for Girls Enterprise and Christine took kits to the street women featured in this news segment. On each expedition, our team takes kits to schools and rescue centers, providing 3 years of dignity for women and girls who don’t have access to the sanitary pads. Our commitment is 1000 kits per year, and ALL of the kits are made by the Zariel or Bomet Days for Girls Enterprises in Kenya, so that we keep the economy there, and also help families with self-reliance and economic development.

The Enterprises that we support, employ families to sew and distribute the kits, which allows those families to pay for food and school fees for their children. Along with the 25 children we support in school directly in Kenya, at least 12 additional students are supported in school because we fundraise here for the reusable femining hygiene kits, and allow the families in Kenya to make them. It keeps our focus on economic development and self-reliance in families.

Our goal for 2019 will be 1000 kits (or more) as well, so watch for that $5 Friday Fundraiser!

 

Our September $5 Friday Fundraiser was in partnership with HopeSaC International, which is run by Cindy Miller. Our goal was to raise the funds to take 20 HopeSaCs to Kenya on our Fall expedition to teach families how to cook with thermal cooking. We were able to reach our goal! We will also be working with the sewing centers in Kenya to teach them how to make and sell the HopeSaCs, saving time and fuel costs, and providing hot meals without spending hours cooking over a fire.

And finally, our October/November $5 Friday Fundraiser is for School Fees for 25 kids in Kenya. These kids come from families we are working with, and range in age from Kindergarten to Vincent, who is graduating this year after 3 years in our Youth Education Program. We met Vincent when he was a Sophomore, and have had the chance to support him in school and watch his family really thrive from it. Mercy, his mother who is in this video, was a recipient of our Business Box for Families, and now has a vegetable stand where she sells vegetables. We have had the opportunity to visit her twice this year, and her smile says it all. She is very happy.

If you would like to help contribute to the $5 Friday Fundraiser to raise the $6000 needed for school fees in 2019, click here!