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. 

Building Joyce’s Water Containment System

Building Joyce’s Water Containment System

Joyce is the mother of one of our Kenya team members, Muneria. During our November expedition we were able to visit her, see how her garden was growing, and build a water containment system. The area had quite a drought in our absence, but she had still made the best of it. Healthy green plants had pushed their way through the soil and were a source of food for her family.

While there, we were able to pull up weeds and replant the parts of the garden boxes that had suffered during the dry spell. While building the water containment system, children from the surrounding area helped us collect rocks for the cement base, their faces shining as they find that they can assist these crazy Americans.

At one point during the building project, we needed water for the cement. The call went out, “Who is willing to walk to the river to collect water?”

Several of us wanted to experience what those we are serving live like on a daily basis. A group of us went. We walked down a hill to a small river of brown, dingy water.

The young boys who showed us the way to the river waded in without their shoes to fill the large water containers we brought with us. Upstream there was a man bathing in the same water. It was humbling to see their only water source. After filling the containers, we carried the sloshing jugs of water up the hill, stopping every once in a while to catch our breath.

The cement was made, the water containment system put into place, and the rains came. The water system is now nearly filled, it is watering the seeds we planted, and they are growing.

This is what we do when we go to Kenya, we plant seeds in the ground, and in the hearts and minds of the people. Then we stand back and we watch both people and plants grow.

This isn’t the end of our time at Joyce’s house. There is more to tell, but on a Friday night shortly before Christmas, I am listening to my child taking a shower and reminded how blessed I am to live here, and how undeniably blessed I am to know the people of Kenya. Travel always opens your eyes, but traveling and spending time with the Maasai people has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I am so grateful for all they have taught me, and so grateful to everyone who has donated to make these missions possible.