Distributing food and essential supplies with the Maa Trust during COVID-19
About the author:
This week, we have a special guest post from Josien Suntjens, a yoga and mindfulness teacher and safari guide based in Kenya, originally from the Netherlands. Josien recently had the opportunity to assist Asilia and our Positive Impact implementing partner the Maa Trust to deliver food parcels earlier this month. Josien and the women of the Maa Trust visited Nkoilale, a small Masai village on the border of Naboisho Conservancy.
Coming from the Netherlands and being active within the safari guiding and camp management environment for the past 1.5 years, I am very pleased to work for Asilia within the Naboisho Conservancy. Asilia works closely with different partners on conservation and sustainable human development initiatives, including the Maa Trust. The Maa Trust’s projects are focused on increasing benefits to Maasai landowners. These different programmes range from assisting schools with their needs to selling delicious Maa honey products made by the ladies of the Trust. There are also many conservation, education, sanitation, health clinics and bursary programs that the project supports.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our world is facing, the Maa Trust has had to close its doors. In these difficult times, it was such a special moment to be a part of donating the incredible amount of US$17,500 to those in need after being able to pull together donations. The donations couldn’t be more welcomed and are to be used to buy maizemeal — or unga as they say here in the Mara — sugar, tea and oil. Over the course of seven days, the food was distributed to 637 families.
The day began with an opening speech, followed by a short training of the importance of how crucial it is for everyone to take the COVID-19 procedures seriously. The women were then each called individually in order to symbolise this act. I was lucky enough to be stationed behind the water tanks and had the chance to observe these strong and powerful Maasai women, whom I have heard so much about in the past.
Each woman took a 24kg (52lb) bag, put it on one shoulder while carrying the other bag with their hands and slowly, but determinedly, made their way home.
On our way back, we were able to give a ride to four ladies and their food packages. Nature decided to throw us a curveball: a flooded river threatened to prevent the ladies from getting to the other side. However, I was able to navigate the situation and make sure the women and their food packages safely made it to their homes.
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