SAND DAM TRIP 2014
Orientation with John Masyula using several fine videos of UDO work
Utooni Starlight Academy (MCC supported).
Joshua Makusia's farm; sand dams, sustainable farming with appropriate technology.
Introduction to "our" sand dam project. Was to be only an introduction to the next day's work, but we couldn't resist grabbing shovels and pitching in.
Visit to several mature dams, including the one PVMC helped to build in 2007. Coincidentally met two key members of that project of seven years ago.
First day of work at the sand dam. Established warm relationships and acquaintances with working partners, enjoyed UDO's skillful and perceptive motivation techniques and encouragement of all workers. Key event, a misfortune, was Ed's injuring his back lifting a large stone with another man.
Second day at work on the dam. Lots of singing and joy with the self-help group.
The 12 widows of the self-help group danced and sang for us in their tradition as a farewell.
Enjoyed the farewell program for Jacob and Alvera Stern (seven year MCC veterans) at the Kola compound grounds.
Traveled to Mtito Andei to visit a rock-catchment project with the Miamba Mitamboni Self-Help group.
Visited a UDO sponsored agro-forestry and animal husbandry demonstration farm near Mtito Andei. Returned to Kola.
These two days were capably hosted by Annie Murimi and Regina from UDO.
A warm and appreciative farewell meeting with all UDO office staff members.
Returned to Nairobi.
Orientation to MCC work in Kenya, Selena
Visit to Alice Hinga's school at Kiambu
The elephant orphanage; Kazuri bead-making, markets with Ten Thousand Villages
Hymn sing with Nairobi area MCC and various mission staff and families
Church service with Mathare North Mennonite Church (in slum) and lunch
Visit to Maasai Integrated Development Initiative (MIDI) office and to food security demonstration farm in the Rift Valley.
Working and Learning
Pictured above are the members of the MCC Work and Learn (WAL) Tour to Kenya from Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA. The tour took place from January 22 to February 4, 2014, and was hosted principally by Selena Carpenter, co-country MCC representative for Kenya. The primary focus was to assist with building a sand dam for the Muthongolowe Self-Help Community under the direction of Utooni Develpment Organization (UDO) in Ukambani District southeast of Nairobi.
In addition to the work on the Sand Dam project Selena scheduled a series of visitations during both weekends. This proved to be an excellent plan for our team, and it resulted in many remarkable and memorable experiences. "Work and Learn" indeed describes what happened.
Appropriately, the highlight of this WAL tour was watching the shaping and growth of the dam for which our church members provided funding. We witnessed the anticipation and joy of the self-help group, as we worked along side them. Personal attachments were immediate, as a dream became reality in a common endeavor, a dream to have easier, better access to water, the key to life, to health, to income, to better opportunities for children, and less suffering for all. We learned what it must be like to live day to day with insufficient water. We learned about "mwethya," the Kikamba word that eludes full translation, but means something like "community cooperation to achieve a common end." We learned what it means to have to "harvest" water.
Highlights for me personally were to meet significant persons from my sand dam experience seven years ago. It was a thrill to unexpectedly renew acquaintance with them; two persons, a cook and the group secretary at the "old" sand dam, and a Maasai mother and seven year old son whom I had photographed back then at another demonstration farm.
I will send additional photos in another message. On behalf of the team, I want to express our deep gratitude to all who contributed to making this WAL Tour a meaningful and satisfying experience. That includes PVMC, the Missions Commission, and all who made it possible through their giving and support.
- Ervie Glick, Team Leader