Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Location: Narok, Kenya
We started the day today by visiting the home of Hussein Anderson in Narok, Kenya. Anderson is a graduated Asante Africa Scholar and a three-time attendee at the Asante Leadership Academy (and it shows). Anderson is interning at Asante in his “gap year” as he prepares to compete and get into a University program. Anderson lives in a small home on the hill overlooking Narok (a very nice location). He lives with him Mother, Brother, Sister in law, their 3 kids and 5 orphans taken in my Anderson’s mother. Anderson’s mother had earned money to support the family since the death of Anderson’s father by washing clothes for the neighboring families. After returning from the 2nd leadership academy session, Anderson set his mother up in business running a small hair salon in town sharing the space with his brother’s tailor business.
The Anderson stories are amazing and many. Anderson had several failed ventures of his own (learning experiences) such as a Playstation coop with 5 of his friends and an insurance plan for kids for their uniforms and school supplies. (both apparently lost money). He has now formed a football club with 20 friends (some whose lives were headed in the wrong direction). They get together on a makeshift football field about 5 km from town (we got stuck on the road out to the field and had to push the car out of the mud) and play soccer and strategize about their futures. Anderson is their leader! Such potential. Several of these guys now running Budabudas (motorcycle taxis) around town for a little income. Way better then drinking and sniffing glue. Anderson set up one of his friends with a shoe shinning “business” in the downtown area of Narok. In Africa, people care how they look: clothes, hair and shoes are important. (I look like a bum in my safari clothing compared to the three piece suits you see almost everywhere.)
After a few quick portrait sessions with the Asante Africa staff in Kenya we headed out of town to visit a school in Suswa.
The school in Suswa is a few km north of the road between Narok and Nairobi in the Rift valley. We managed a project to bring desks (very nice ones) to the school. We were there on the delivery date! The desks were sitting in the school yard (in the hot dry sun) until we arrived. They would not use them until we officially gave them the desks. This project was funded by the Orion elementary school in Palo Alto, Ca. The US school kids raised money for desks and began a pen-pal relationship with the Suswa students.
Did I mention how extremely dry and dusty it was. Everything in the valley was dying. No grass in the fields. They are on the edge with no supporting lifelines to speak of. Very scary. (yet the kids are happy and excited to see us).
After some grilled goat at the local Choma we headed “home”.
A couple of firsts today:
We were greeted upon our return to Narok with an awesome dinner at Mary’s house. This was really good for at least 4 reasons:
The day ended with some portraits of Mary, Mary’s son Zuri, and Peninah. I protested the lighting conditions and Erna shut me down. The pictures turned out great (I love it when I’m wrong!)