For the past five years the girls and their cousins have been raising funds to support Mauko Village, a small rural village in Western Kenya. Mauko Village was always a stop on our world tour and I was pretty sure it would be a highlight. I knew it would be remote, with little services, and that there would be poverty. I knew that it would be an emotional learning experience for all of us, and that the people would touch our lives. What amazed me was that we had set out to give; however, we have left Kenya with far more than we ever imagined. We have met beautiful people that have become friends. We have left with pride and confidence, knowing our efforts and funds are making a difference in the village for so many, and... we have left inspired to continue our efforts and do more for the people we have met.
|Out visiting the neighbours on a village walk.|
Mauko village is located a days drive outside of Nairobi, and the residents consist of mainly subsistence farmers. The roads were rough, poverty was high, polygamy was common, and families were large. Smiling children played in barefeet and ran to wave at the "Mzungus" (white people) passing by in the car, which was also a rarity in the village. Other than our Auntie Marilyn and her group of retired teachers, which had visited the village years before, we were the only white people that some of the villagers had ever seen. Many of the younger children cried in fear and ran to hide in the skirts of their older sisters or mothers. Yet it took no time for the children to realize they had nothing to fear and an afternoon game of Ultimate Frisbee soon took hold outside our compound. Children of all ages would come daily from far and wide, wanting to play. They laughed, ran, tickled and played together with us, and would always leave for home as the sun went down. Little girls carried their baby siblings on their backs and the children looked after one another despite their very young ages. George, the boy living with his mother on our compound, became fast friends with the girls. The community was so welcoming, nobody passed by without a greeting and handshake, and many went out of their way to invite us into their homes.
|It was getting dark, time to say goodbye!|
|Ally and Mark playing Ultimate Frisbee with the kids.|
|George and the girls became fast friends and spent their evenings together playing games, laughing and|
sharing stories together. We were able to purchase George a new school uniform while we were there.
|Antonina's new home. The bricks will be added next.|
|This is a woman's group. The money on the table is used for micro lending small business ventures for the|
members. They also do a merry-go-round collection where once a year each member will receive a small pool
of money to better herself.
Travel in and around the village was done by foot, bicycle and motorcycle. We were amazed at what people would transport on their bicycles; goats, chickens, crates of eggs, furniture, and several other people were among the more common forms of cargo. Although there was no electricity in the village, everyone had a cell phone. They would pay a couple of cents to charge their phones at the village shop, where a car battery was used as the electrical source. The most common form of lighting was by parafin lamps and fire was used to heat water and cook.
|Some of the interesting loads we saw!|
In addition to providing educational scholarships for children to attend highschool, these are some of the other projects Auntie Marilyn's Mwikase Group and the Cousins for Kenya
were able to introduce in the village during our stay.
|Cows were purchased at the local market to be given to the schools. The cows will reproduce which can be sold to generate an income for the school in addition to the benefits their milk will provide.|