Woke up today for the first time in Nairobi. We had plans to drive to the Tenderfeet School this morning but because of the unrest and rather dangerous conditions in the city right now, we were urged not to go. Instead, the head of the school, the founder, the incomparable Mama Margaret came to us at our hotel to share her story.
Mama lit up the room before she even opened her mouth. Her presence exudes strength and light all at the same time. She has an aura around her that is impossible to ignore. This woman in her late 40’s is an educator and has dedicated her life to caring for orphans, rescuing most of them from the slums of Kibera. Many of them have HIV and the majority of the kids became orphans because their parents died of AIDS. Mama shared her story with our group and the impact was so powerful. Additionally, she’s raised four kids of her own but admits to housing an additional seven orphans personally because she can’t bare to see them exist in the truly most unimaginable and horrific of conditions.
MM started the Tenderfeet school more than five years ago and desperately needs help to keep it going. She believes that by educating these children, they will then go out into the world and do their own kind of good. Mama believes in love multiplying. She knows fully that her purpose is greater than the 130 children she and her mostly volunteer staff is currently serving. Her selflessness is awe-spiring. My mom and I are going to try and find a way to get to the school before the end of our travels. Meanwhile, we were so pleased to give her some of the supplies from the Women Like Us foundation that we had collected for the children. She was wildly grateful.
Just lastly, beyond the bus she dreams of to transport the kids from the danger zone to her school, beyond the well that she one day hopes to drill so the children may have clean safe drinking water, we asked Margaret “When we go home to the states, what can we do? What can we tell people? How can we help?” Instead of Margaret asking for a donation, or money, or fiscal contributions she simply said, “ When you have your next meal, look to the people at your table and let them know that they are so fortunate. Tell them that there are many, many people living without. That go hungry. That eat only a few bites in an entire day, if that. Please recognize that you are very very lucky.”
To learn more about Mama Margaret’s incredible story, learn more here: www.tenderfeetkids.org
The second part of our first day was traveling nearly five hours to Masai Mara. What an eye opening journey. I saw so much poverty. It silenced me. For most of the drive I felt rather somber taking it in. We stopped at a local “curio” shop where the locals sell things to tourists like our group. That’s where I met Charles, my salesman-turned friend. Our tour guide made us promise not to pay full price; to pay 40%-50% of what we were quoted. Damn if I’m not a softy. Horrible negotiator. I paid far too much for my beautiful wooden warrior statue. Charles told me he made commission and well, let’s call it my monetary donation for the day. His cheerful face and soft stature melted my heart. I’ll never see dear Charles again but I’ll never forget him. He liked it when I took his picture. I asked him what he wanted for his future and he said all he wants is to be a driver. I knew what he meant. He didn’t want to stand still. Charles would outgrow his village. He wanted more. He wanted to escape and discover what the world has to offer outside of his tiny village in the wide open spaces. I believe he’ll make it.
We made it to the Sarova Mara tented camp. It was pouring down rain and rumbling with wicked thunder when we arrived - so moody, I love it! A number of beautiful Masai tribe members greeted us upon our arrival. Many of them were wearing their typical red garb complete with shiny silver jewelry. What gorgeous people. Our camp lodge is just perfect, complete with a fire pit and nestled into the woods like a tree house. I’m going to like it here. I’m really tired. Tomorrow we head into wide open spaces. My first ever game drive. Early to rise at 5:30am.
Goodnight from inside my netted bed inside my tented home for the next 3 days. Bunking with my mom like when I was a little girl. #Peaceful