Long queues as far as the eyes can see of old men, expectant women, mothers carrying their little tots, young and old, patiently braving the morning Mara chill waiting their turn to see the visiting doctors.  Every year they will commute on foot, ride on motorbikes or any other means available to them to access the free check-ups and treatment in our free annual medical camps.

One of these people is a young man called Alex (name changed for privacy).  He comes from an area called Suswa about 158 kms from the Aitong Health Centre, the venue of our medical camp.  He arrived very late on the evening of the first day of our 2017 medical camp, accompanied by his parents. Alex was unwell and had missed a few weeks of school as a result.  His condition had also kept him away from activities that young Maasai youths his age ought to be taking part in, like herding his father’s cattle and socializing with his friends.  

 

A pediatrician attends to a child during the 3rd Aitong Medical Camp

Upon examination Alex was recommended for surgery and was referred to our partner organisation Oasis’ nearby hospital.  Alex’s surgery was a great success and his mother could not hide her joy, saying “This is the happiest I have seen Alex in a long time.  He is energetic and helps around the house. He is back to school now and I think he missed his classmates.  We are very grateful to the doctor who operated on him, the nurse Jonathan who took care of him while in hospital, and the organisers of the medical camp for providing us with these opportunities for free.”

 

 

Alex is just one success story – many patients have been seen and treated by our volunteer doctors to date.  Nonetheless, affordable health care is still out of reach for many in this community because of poverty, illiteracy and retrogressive cultural practices.  Most will only seek treatment if it is offered for free or when their health condition has worsened beyond that which they can manage at home, even for preventable diseases.

Please help us take 8 doctors to the Mara this October for our 7th medical camp so that they can help many others like Alex.

With only two months to go, we are so close to reaching our goal of raising $6,700 towards this camp and we cannot do it without you!

Will you help with a gift of $50 or more to reach our goal?  Your gift is critical because it will help us:

  1. Stock the community clinic which serves over 10,000 people per month with the required medicines and pharmaceuticals
  2. Bring in volunteer doctors and specialists who will diagnose, treat and create awareness around preventable diseases prevalent in this community
  3. Build the capacities of the Aitong Health Center and it’s dedicated staff

Please make a gift today and help us help our community, because their health is in our hands!

 

Recent guest Owen who stayed at Elewana Elephant Pepper Camp with his family in July visited our Local Primary school Ololomei and was touched by what he saw and what is still needed to help provide the children with a high quality educational facility.

 

He decided he wanted to do something himself to help the students in Kenya. His next step was to start raising funds through a bake sale and together with some friends from his high school he made it happen!

He reached out to the managers at Elephant Pepper Camp for photos and information about Ololomei School and used it to put together an information board about the school. His family and friends all help and on the day the bake sale was a huge success. Owen raised over $1000 dollars for the school!!!

 

Last year we managed to build a semi-permanent classroom for Ololomei School through generous donations from Elephant Pepper Camp guests. This year, with the help of remarkable people like Owen, we are working towards provision of a kitchen and dining area for the students.

A huge thank you from Elephant Pepper Camp, teachers and students of Ololomei Primary school and the Masai community to Owen, family and friends for making this happen!

Asante Sana ( Kiswahili) and Ashay ohleng (Masai)

 

Little Embiti Primary is located in Siana within Embiti village and lies about an hour and half from Elewana Sand River Mara. Land & Life’s relationship with the school started in the year 2016 when its population was a little under 100 students. The children are enrolled from early childhood level to grade 4 because the school lacks the infrastructural capacity to accommodate children beyond that level. Currently, it has 2 permanent and 1 semi-permanent classrooms.

We have been able to provide the school with numerous books & stationery and other in-kind donations as received from our generous donors and guests who stay at Sand River during their safari. We also hold termly conservation education sessions with the top students (grade 3 and 4) who make up the Wildlife Warrior club at the school. Last year, we were able to construct the first ever permanent toilet block, which was greatly appreciated by the school. This is a great start, but we know that a lot more remains to be done at Embiti.

Meetings with the school faculty and community representatives to determine the school’s top priority needs gave insight about their water challenge and which initiated our Water Project at the school. This entails providing the school with a new water tank, installation of a rainwater harvesting system and a pipe connection to the nearby community borehole.

We were slightly short of funds to complete this project until the Scopa family and friends (Mike, Caitlin, Shannon, Emma and Emily) visited and spent time with the Embiti children. They enjoyed their visit and on their return home they got in touch and made a donation to allow us to complete the water project.

Their generosity and support, which is so timely, doesn’t end at that. They are committed to providing funds for the construction of a new classroom at the school. Their daughter Emma and her best friend Emily are currently raising funds for the construction of a new classroom, which will enable the children to continue with their studies beyond grade 4.

An education is an opportunity to escape poverty, not only for themselves but for their families and villages. An education can be life-changing for these children and their families but only if they can continue to attend school – Emma & Emily

Read about their amazing experience at Embiti on their crowdfunding page:  A school for every kid and help support their goal by sharing their story and/or donating.

Kidogo Kidogo, hujaza kibaba! – “Little by Little, fills the cup – goes a long way”.

2018 has been a very interesting year for Kenya especially in terms of weather forecasting! While the rains brought relief to much of drought-stricken Kenya, to Land & Life it brought major delays in the execution of our construction projects. However, we can now smile as the third new classroom in Esiteti Primary School is now complete despite the multiple setbacks! This third new classroom sits 30 students comfortably, and brings  the school to up to a total of 9 classrooms. This frees up the ICT room for exclusive computer use, supporting our ongoing digital literacy drive across our school network. The construction of the new classroom successfully ended in mid-August. The students have since resumed school for the last term of the year, and everyone is delighted with the new classroom.

In addition to this, the school is also receiving a facelift in the academic block which will see 5 classroom floors completely redone, windows and doors fixed and refitted and the entire academic block repainted. This refurbishment will also see the school fitted with solar lighting to help the school run more efficiently. The refurbishment will be done in phases. We are now done with exterior works and the bulk of the work left is the redoing of floors, wiring the school and painting inside the classrooms.

For a very long time, much focus has been on the girl child and this has impacted on the boy child too. In the recent past, we have experienced declining numbers of boys in the upper Primary classes. Boy child retention in schools is becoming an issue, especially in the pastoral communities. In line with this, we received a donation to fund the construction of an 80-bed boys dormitory which will increase the retention levels for the students as well as facilitate improved performances as there is more time for the students to study as opposed to day schooling. Despite delays in this project also related to weather conditions and ongoing challenges, we finally have the detailed structural drawings for the dormitory and have engaged a reliable and well known contractor from the local community. This project will commence this month and we foresee having a dormitory by end of the year.

 

Our thanks go out to all the donors involved with these amazing developments at Esiteti this year – from Amaya Tandon, to Birgit Reimann and Constantine Panoussi of SKAl international Monaco – the de Vink family from the United States and Johann Auer from Europe –  David Hanes, Helene Hamilton, Clarke Rees, Suzanne Kent , and Joseph and Miriam Habib. Thanks to all of you, and to those many others who have also donated books, supplies and resources – without you the children of Amboseli would be considerably worse off.

After reading hundreds of essays, and narrowing them down to the best 10, the Land & Life Head Office team were really torn as to who to pick as the overall winner of the termly competition on Water Conservation.  

The first few paragraphs of Peter Otieno’s winning essay

 

Competition was stiff; but two essays stood out – one written by an individual pupil from Mwaroni Primary and the other by a group.  Peter Oscar Otieno, a Grade 8 pupil from Mwaroni Primary, impressed us with his excellent command of English, clarity of thought and background knowledge.  The runner up group was equally good, also showing a solid grasp of the concepts and good use of language and argument.

 

During our last WWP event at the school in May,  Peter received a scientific calculator, a geometrical set, a backpack, a UN Certificate and a trophy to take home and display proudly. The group did not go home empty handed – they each received art supplies, individual certificates to acknowledge their individual effort and a trophy.  

 

The biggest surprise came when Joab Andayi, the General Manager at Elewana AfroChic Diani, announced that the winners would be invited for lunch and a swim at Afrochic!  True to his word, on the afternoon of Saturday 7th July 11 youngsters accompanied by 4 teachers were treated to a sumptuous meal and ice cream at Afrochic. To cap it all, they enjoyed a dip in the pool!

We take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to Joab for graciously arranging this memorable trip that the youngsters will remember for years to come, and we look forward to more fun and exciting activities between Afrochic and Mwaroni Primary School.