Noam’s 8th Birthday
We started the day with a 45 min walking Safari with Wilson, one of our Maasai Warrior Guides. We saw Zebra and learned about many of the small animals in the Maasai Mara, as well as local plants, while the sun rose. What an amazing way to start the day!
The staff at Bogani was really wonderful, having a small cupcake for Noam to eat at breakfast so we could continue our family tradition of having a cake and singing for breakfast on our birthdays.
The morning activity was great. We were introduced to two local Mamas from the community of Emori Joi: Mama Jane and Mama Judy. We were warmly welcomed into Mama Jane’s home to get a glimpse into her everyday life.
She explained to us how Free The Children (FTC) has impacted her community over the past few years, mainly through education. FTC has helped support their local elementary school, as well as helping the adults. Serving in a consulting role, the FTC staff have been teaching them many types of skills: money management, how to set up a small business, new farming techniques, and basic health pillars to help raise their quality of life.
One of the biggest impacts has been through access to clean water. FTC drilled a bore well and there is a water kiosk in the community (managed by the community) where anyone can buy clean drinking water. For bathing and watering their gardens, they have to trek down to the river.
As a thank you for her hospitality, we went one kilometre down to the river to help Mama Jane carry some water. Usually, she will make five trips each day, each time carrying forty litres of water. Perhaps with all of us helping she might only have to take one that day.
These Mamas are incredibly strong! Koren, Erez and Zev each carried ten litres, Noam carried five litres and Aubrey carried thirty litres. We were in awe of the Mamas’ ability to carry forty litres balancing two different jugs. The boys really have a sense now of how easy they have it with faucets in our home.
Mama Jane explained to us how FTC encouraged the Mamas to set up women’s groups to initiate alternative sources of income for the community. One way of doing this was through a “Merry Go Round” system. Each member contributes a set amount of money into a central pot at each monthly meeting, and each time one person is given the total amount, to use towards a large expense.
If there are 12 Mamas in the group, each would receive the large amount once a year. They share their stories of the use of the funds. Some people used the money to start beekeeping, or to buy livestock to help feed their families.
Mama Jane decided to take on a very ambitious project with her yearly share to set an example of what a mama can do when she puts her mind to it. She built herself a new home with a foundation and bricks, something that was unheard of at the time, especially for a woman.
After five years, with patience and perseverance, she reached her goal. It has a sitting area and a bedroom in the back, and she is very proud of what she has accomplished. It also serves as a meeting place for other mamas in the community.
Mama Jane told us of how several communities got together and started a merry-go-round at a larger regional community level. All the groups pooled their money at the meeting and then gave it to a different group every time. Partially thanks to this group, the Mamas of Emori Joi have started a community dairy business, and are now saving up to buy a cooler to store the milk harvested from their herd of dairy cows. Mama Jane was elected as the chair of this larger, community merry-go-round. We all found Mama Jane very inspiring!
After our visit with Mama Jane and Mama Judy, we headed back to Bogani for lunch. Next post, we’ll tell you about our afternoon touring and then building at the Kisaruni Girl’s high school.