Located in the hills north of Lake Natron in Kenya, Joel’s village is a community living in isolation with a great lack of services available to the community. The town is comprised of a series of bomas — circular enclosures built with thorns, sticks and twigs — that are designed to keep livestock in and lions and other predators out. But aside from the bomas, the people of the village have little.
When we first met Joel, the school consisted of a small structure, also built from sticks, that was far too small to hold the 12-plus children who resided in the town. Since our project began in July 2016, the school grew in number to 77 kids. The school lacked benches or chairs, and the students used twigs and rocks to practice handwriting and arithmetic. Villagers often had to trudge to nearby streams to retrieve drinking water, which was a scarce commodity in the town.
An amazing thing about Joel’s village is the resilience of the local population. While we griped about the beating sun and sought shade wherever we could, the villagers gave no indication that the heat bothered them. Though they had little to eat and even less to drink, the villagers never complained nor showed any signs of discontent. To the contrary, the people who lived in Joel’s village were always smiling, laughing and singing, exuding a type of happiness that few of us had ever seen before.
The enthusiasm and grit exhibited by the residents of Joel’s village inspired us, and as we drove back to Magadi and Nairobi, we decided we would help the village in any way that we could. Thus far, we’ve raised enough money to construct a building that serves as both a school and a church for the population, and to install a water system that can help to address water shortages in the town