Volunteering has shifted into another phase and what an experience it has been! I got the opportunity to live in Maasai land with their tribe on a compound and teach 4th grade at the local Maasai school. It puts my first world life into a crazy perspective! No running water, no toilets, no electricity, no showers, no mirrors, no pillows, and every meal made over a fire! What a different life for me, but wow it makes me appreciate the little things I take for granted!
The Maasai have been absolutely wonderful to me treating me as their own like it’s nothing. I got into a daily routine of tea, walking to school, teaching, lunch, more teaching, walking home, more tea, adventures around the land with kids, dinner, more tea, and bed. I was surrounded by goats, sheeps, cows, and chickens. My goal of living on a true farm has been checked off! Although it has been a crazy adventure there have also been some very harsh realities. The first day the bell rang for lunch I left to go eat and the kids didn’t leave the classroom. I left puzzled and decided to investigate more. Turns out out of 20 kids in class, 2 had brought lunch. There was no reason for these kids to run to lunch because, well, they had no lunch. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach realizing this, especially after growing a bond with my class. I taught all week in awe of these kids who sat throughout an 8 hour school day with minimal water and no food. I can barely go a few hours without water or a snack. Yet again, I’m realizing that these kids are tough and regardless of the situation they put a smile on and are ecstatic to learn. It shook me, it made me not want to eat or drink water and put myself in their shoes. I had to tell myself if I didn’t take care of my own basic needs first, I couldn’t help them. Luckily, I reached out to Deanne + Johnson about the situation and within a week we had gotten the school a 90 kilogram bag of porridge mix. Thanks Because ALL Children Matter! They should all be fed until the end of term. It’s a sigh of relief knowing that at least they’ll have one cup of porridge during the day.
In Maasai land things are hard, nothing is easy. Everything is a process and yet it’s the only way they know. There are some key takeaways that I hope to hold with me that the Maasai tribe does daily; sitting with your family over dinner every night, appreciating the freshness of food, always being there for your neighbor in need, grasping the fact this land is made to feed you. I’m still astonished that even though the children that I’ve been living with have no toys or electronics, we still play every afternoon and it’s loads of fun. We play with sticks or walk around the land and make up games and it’s more fun than I can say I’ve ever had with any bought item. Once again I’m realizing that happiness and laughter is from within, life is what you make of it. You know what I don’t hear from any of these people? Complaints. Only gratitude for life.