Mary Walker: Christmas in Kenya
December 27, 2013
I am in Kenya now for Christmas. An intense rainstorm flooded the town of Narok last year during Christmas, leaving the town market underwater. Several aid agencies have given money to the town of Narok throughout the years to improve the drainage to prevent such flooding. In 2009, this annual and violent flooding killed several people in Narok who were swept out of their shops. Each time I go to Narok, I see no signs of work on the drainage system.
The Christmas morning scene looked different at the rescue center last year, as well, with some of the girls preparing supper at the center. A huge majority of the 50 or so girls at the rescue center had gone to church — of course, to worship, but also possibly to avoid cooking and cleaning. Lorna, studying business administration at Maasai Mara University, supervised. She is one of the several girls from the center who has benefited from the support of the postsecondary education effort.
This year was a bit different as I was spending Christmas with Janet, another of the young women who went to teachers college. She now teaches primary school in her home area where she grew up just outside of the Maasai Mara. She is married to a young pastor, and they now have a baby daughter.
While tourists may roam the area during the holidays, sipping gin and tonics while watching the sun set over the beautiful landscape and enjoying luxurious turn-down service in their exorbitantly priced safari camps, I will be sipping tea in the hot sun, talking (through Janet) to old Maasai ladies and playing with the children who inevitably will come around to check out the mzungu (a word with fluid meaning but most generally "white person" in Swahili). And I'll probably see a wild animal or two myself.
Mary Walker, a 25-year resident of Clark, volunteered at the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre, which rescues Maasai girls from female genital mutilation and child marriage in Kenya. She now provides college and university assistance to several girls from the rescue center. Mary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.