Last summer, Asante Africa Foundation’s Founder/CEO, Erna Grasz visited the Alton Maasai Project’s community in Oldanyati, Kenya. An active supporter of the project’s goal; to provide Learning Center classrooms that would double as community space for the local women, Erna witnessed their dedication and resolve first hand. In March 2013, Erna returned to the community to see the project’s growth.
Upon returning to Oldanyati, I was reminded about what initially brought me here.
This deeply rural community is 15km (almost 10 miles) from the closest primary school. The Learning Center classrooms would serve the community’s children before they are old and strong enough to walk to the primary school on their own. In the past, traveling to the primary school has proven tragic for some children and their families. One family lost a child to a lion attack a couple of years ago, while another’s drowned as she crossed the river en route to school.
There are many kids and mamas in this community. The Learning Center classrooms will serve over 150 children. The women are passionate about using the same space for their own learning in the afternoons. It was obvious from the beginning that the community was more than ready for the project to get off the ground.
I arrived on a beautiful afternoon in mid-March and was greeted by a throng of the community’s mamas and children. They were eager to show me the progress since I was here last. Where once before there seemed an endless stretch of land filled with grass and dirt, now stood the foundations of classrooms. I watched as women brought water to aid the men who laboriously repeated the cycle of spreading cement and stacking one stone at a time, by hand. Despite the exertion, smiles and laughter accompanied the work; it was a labor of love and hope for this community.
I have had the honor of watching the progress of numerous infrastructure projects not unlike the Alton Maasai Project, but it never gets old or wearing. It’s a sign of a new chapter in every community and for Asante Africa Foundation; it’s always uplifting to be a part of that change.