We bump along the highway. Tanzania has a sky like Alberta…endless. Masai villages or Bomas are scattered along the way. The bomas are made up of circular huts built by the women and made of Cow dung flattened and nestled in a network of twigs as the walls and topped by a thatched roof. The women cook in these structures, no windows, no chimneys. Quite the health hazard. Several local groups along with ICA Tanzania have programs in place to implement chimneys into these structures. Its slow going, change is hard. The interiors of these huts are dark with dirt floors and semi walls built of the same dung and twigs as the outside. The bed is a cow hide stretched from wall to wall. The baby goats are kept in the huts with the people til they are big enough to be put in the pen with the othergoats and sheep.
As we drove by you could see dots of red and blue the choice of colours for Masai wraps. The kids could be seen herding the cows, goats and sheep across the dusty plains going from patch of green to patch of green. These kids look say 7 to 10. With their switch in hand they wrangle dozens of animals from sunrise to sunset, no food no water. Unthinkable in our whoosy part of the world.
Takes a couple of hours to reach the outskirts of Mto Wa Mbu the decision is made to go directly to Majengo and see the kids.
Just to interject for a moment. Even after, now, over a month I see and think about those Majengo Kids every day. That rascal Filipo, Tatu, Debra, Wilbert, Jimmi, Sylvia good grief I could go on and on there are 84 of them…
We arrive. Kids, Mamas, Cooks, Cleaners, Matt, Hilo all swarm over to hug Lynn & Charles. The kids are from 3 to fourteen , the Mamas, cooks, cleaners & Hilo are local people who have been with these kids since the beginning, 9 years ago, Majengo helps the community by hiring these people and educating their children up to and including primary school.
Miriam about 6 comes over and wraps my arm around her…I ask her name..I get it wrong (deaf as a doornail) I think she says Marion…have to laugh don’t you? Then I’m introduced to beautiful Eva another one of our graduates. She gives me the biggest hug and thanks me for sending her to school….Feels funny because right then the gift is clearly mine. Eva went to teachers college after Secondary school and helps the resident teacher, Grayson, teach the preschoolers. We helped her do that. Eva is getting married in September. Again her choice she wants to have children…fair enough. I’m sorry I won’t be there.
Lots of catch went on with Lynn & everyone with a smattering of English and a whole lot of Swahili..Karibu (welcome) Jambo (hello) Habari (how are you) answer assante sana (good).
We stay till the generator is turned on, Majengo does not have hydro. The generator was purchased because it’s hard to put kids to bed in the dark let alone 84 of them. There is a scheme in the works to raise enough money, or interest from a solar company, to install Solar panels, Thanks to Lisa Oelke, she works for a solar company, how handy is that. Get us off the grid…of course there is no grid.
We say goodbye…see you tomorrow, and off we go to Mto Wa Mbu. Saturday Nite!