Asante Africa Foundation’s Founder/CEO, Erna Grasz visits the Alton Maasai Project’s community in Oldanyati, Kenya. With Rimas Tankile Morris’ upcoming visit to California to champion the project’s goals, Erna witnesses the passion behind Rimas’ visit, and the community’s dedication and resolve first hand.
We met Isele Takile (Rimas’ sister) and a teacher name Osono, in Ololalungu. Both are signatories and officers of the Alton Maasai Project. They guided us to the village where the learning center classrooms would be built.
Men and women came from miles around to meet with us. They traveled through wheat fields, maize fields and in large groups. They were laughing because everyone had a baby on their back but us and we were good-naturedly teased for it.
They were excited to hear about the latest news on the project’s progress as we gathered for the community meeting. Our Kenyan Program manager, Gathii did a nice job of describing our organization and explaining the steps necessary to get this project off the ground. I explained that Rimas would be in the USA for a week to help raise more funds.
This deeply rural community is 15km (almost 10 miles) from the closest primary school. The Learning Center classrooms would serve the community’s children as a nursery school before they are old and strong enough to walk to the primary school on their own. In the past, traveling to the primary school has proven to be tragic for some children and their families. One family lost a child to a lion attack a couple of years before, while another family’s child drowned as she crossed the river on the way to school.
There are a lot of kids and mamas in this community. The nursery school will serve over 150 children. The women are passionate about using the same space for their own learning in the afternoons. It is obvious that the community is organized and they have thought a lot about the issues and needs. They’ve been working steadily, doing their part for the project:
- They have a bank account set up with 3 signatories
- They already have a dedicated CBO project set up
- One landowner whose family wants to give the children in the community a stronger education has dedicated a 2-acre plot to the project and while we were at the village meeting, another gentleman donated another 1 acre!
Rimas Morris and her team are doing a great thing for this community. It is very much needed and now I understand why.