Our H2O for Life team recently visited Nasaruni School near the Masai Mara in Kenya. We last visited the school 2 years ago ago just as the bore hole and pump were being installed at the school through funding provided by H2O for Life schools. What an amazing difference 2 years has made for Nasaruni. Due to access to reliable water, Nasaruni has developed into a full fledged boarding school for vulnerable Maasai girls. We visited the dormitory complete with showers and toilets. We visited the kitchen that has plentiful water for cooking and witnessed a transformed and energized school. Founder, Michelle Cude shared a story about a new Nasaruni student. We have added additional photos of our visit to the school.
HUGE thanks to our schools that provided funds for Nasaruni over the past 2 years. Who knows? Some of these girls will likely be leaders in their community and country in the future. Education is key; and WATER changes everything.
Saturday is adventure day to go and count some sheep at a church woman’s sister’s farm. She was donating 50 to the church, and it was Moses’ duty to go and have a look at them, all the way on the edge of Maasai Mara. So, Katya and I went along for the experience… hoping to stop at some villages along the way to advertise about the school. We had a bag full of cookies just in case we could stop… or we got stranded and had to camp out.
Rain—a blessing without a doubt, in a drought-striken land—still harbors some frustrating side-effects…namely transport on muddy terrain. Here we are laboring through a muddy “almost road” getting completely stuck every few yards… then we finally decide to turn back and find another route. Coming back around the corner—there she is. The girl I saw earlier lying in the grass while the goats grazed nearby. She seemed carefree at first, but now she was up standing at the fence with a longing in her eyes. I asked Moses to stop and see if she goes to school. He struck up a conversation, well, I’m not sure she said much, but the tears welling up in her eyes spoke volumes about her lack of hope, her lack of opportunity, and her desire to go to school. All in the name of sharing some cookies, I got out and went over to her, half afraid she would back away. She didn’t. Cookies are a great cultural intermediary. We didn’t see her smile, but her tears dried, and we drove away taking with us clues to her identity and most importantly her father’s location. Her name—she said—was Sinandai.
David, one of the most supportive Nasaruni parents, and a good friend, went on a quest to find her father. Days later he reported success at finding an older brother or uncle, and then the father. Sad family story of abuse and the mother running away, leaving Sinandai vulnerable, caught between. He was far from where we found her. I wonder where she stayed at night? I wonder who knew where she was? I wonder who fed her?
A week later, there was a knock at our door. In walked Moses, bringing along a shy girl trailing behind him. Sinandai was here at last. We had prayed for her father’s leniency in granting permission for her to come to school. He would, after all, be losing someone to watch over that herd of goats, and school didn’t seem to be a priority to him. Yet, he was willing after David and Moses talked to him. Even, David said, a brother to the father wanted to send his own girl. So, there was a miracle standing in the doorway. We greeted her but tried not to overwhelm. This was all new, and here she was leaving everything she knew to come with some strangers to a future she didn’t really likely understand. What a brave soul! We love her already!
Sinandai’s first day of school must have been overwhelming… but she managed to smile a few times. I saw it creep out and then run all over her face…even her eyes smiled. I came to school in the morning and first found her in the nursery class. Even there, I convinced the teachers that her pencil grip and dexterity drawing circles and lines demonstrated she could advance to class one at least. So, there, Katya took the role of personal teacher to try to assess where she was academically and teach her the alphabet sounds and numbers. Her first utterances I heard were the alphabet sounds repeating after Katya in a quiet little voice. She picked up on the patterns quickly, and showed especial abilities in math, Katya said, as she counted with the bottle caps Katya had collected. Writing came slowly, and with some difficulty in explaining what to do. You see, Sinandai only speaks KiMaasai, not KiSwahili, nor English (both languages are learned in school settings). So, Teacher Maureen helps. Together they are all making great progress. That day and the next, Katya came rushing home with exclamations, “She can do it!” “She can read” “She is really good in math!” Double joy. Joy for Katya. Joy for Sinandai.
Some girls have really taken her as a friend, especially Reginah, who shares more than she knows with Sinandai. They have similar stories, both lost mothers, both are far more used to laboring than schooling. I hope they are able to share their hearts cries someday, and find solace in true friendship.
Reginah came up to me with Sinandai yesterday showing me how she lent her a dress…the dress I had just given Reginah not but a week or two ago. She has a kind heart to lend it to Sinandai.
I walk by the schoolyard and I see Sinandai out playing football with some other girls, and I see her smiling. Joy. How blessed to be able to witness such a hope-giving transformation in her life. Now her life has a whole different trajectory. Thank you, Jesus.
This might look like the end, but really, it’s just the beginning…