A Dot Com in Ngong Town

IMG_1815Sarah Senewa

Ngong town in the Ngong Hills is a bustling town about an hour south west of Nairobi. Whatever you need you can buy it in Nygong town. This community is a place where crossing the main street with cars and motorcycles and trucks and buses and vans traveling every which way–you better be fast. There are numerous services here, beginning with Barclay Bank.

There are also eateries, grocery stores, hardware stores, meat markets, schools, roadside vendors, garment makers (think Grace—in my previous post), cell phone charging shops and internet cafes. For this post, you’ll learn all about one of these internet cafes: Osotura Café, founded and owned by Sarah Senewa.

Sarah, one of 5 siblings is fortunate enough to graduate from high school and continue her education at Maasai Technical Institute, studying Secretarial and Computer Studies. She is currently married to John Parsitau. John is the coordinator for SIMOO’s education Program. He is involved in enrollments and sponsorship of Maasai students supported by MCEP donors. While doing an internship for her secretarial course, she meets John. It’s becoming more common for Maasai young women to meet their future husbands outside of arranged marriages. When John and Sarah decide to marry, a meeting is arranged where John’s father and uncles visit Sarah’s family. Their homes are hundreds of miles from each other.

In 2010 when Sarah is 29 years old, she travels to Bucks County for her first and only visit. John will stay at home to look after their three sons—Brian Lenaiyia, and twins Collins Teeka and Frankline Parsitau. The experience and confidence she gains from speaking at MCEP presentations opens a window that will lead her to exploit the knowledge she learned from her computer training.

In 2012 she decides to open a computer café in Ngong town. Finding space in Ngong is a challenge because of its competitive proximity to Nairobi. Using sales from her bead work commissions, she’s able to pay the rent deposit, buy furniture and materials to partition the cyber café. John also gives her financial support by selling some of his livestock so she’s able to purchase computers, a photo copy machine, a printer and the application for an internet connection.

Sarah enrolls in an advance computer course at Jomo Kenyatta University in May 2013. MCEP is able to find a sponsor to help Sarah with her tuition fee. “I am always grateful for the generous support MCEP offered me and many Maasai children.”

In June 2015, she will graduate with a Diploma in Information Technology. When Sarah is not at school she works in the café where she employs one full time and one part time employee. Her future goals are to expand the inventory with stationery and offer computer equipment, repairs and maintenance.




We’re here

Saturday was our first full day in Kenya. We’ve just finished lunch; stopping in an internet cafe that is owned by Sarah Senewa, one of our Maasai friends. This is one example of how the women are creating their own destiny.

I’m sorry for not adding a picture; just wanted to let all of you know that we arrived safely after an 18 hour flight in the air.

Already I’m making notes on future posts which won’t be on The Bucks Underground Railroad until I return next week.

By the way, if you’re ever in Ngong Hills, and need to email home, go to the Osotua Cafe.

Since then, we attended a Maasai church service on Sunday. We showed QUENCH to the congregation. Many young people there were too young to even know or understand the challenge of walking up to seven miles for water.

Today we visited Member of Parliament Moses ole Sakuda, a Maasai who is doing wonderful things for the Maasai community. We gifted him with two Obama T-shirts and absolutely loves them.

The weather is like summer. We don’t miss the cold at all; everybody asks us how cold it is back home.

Have taken over a hundred digi pics and am on my third roll of film. I filmed the church service (it was 4 hrs long). Exceptional.

Probably won’t have an opportunity to post again. No wi-fi at the village.

Tomorrow we visit the schools and wells; On Wednesday the beaders will gather at Susan’s home (she is the wife of Francis ole Sakuda, Exec Director of SIMOO). We’ll be buying stuff!

Sorry for no pictures as unable to download from my camera at the cyber cafe./

So much more to come.


Return to the Motherland

?????????????????Today, February 19 I travel to Kenya, East Africa—the Cradle of Civilization. This is my fourth Sojourn to the Motherland and my second to Kenya. In my other two Sojourns, 1999 carried my soul to Ghana where I walked inside the dungeons that imprisoned my African ancestors. In 2000 I rubbed  my hands across finely carved blocks of stone that created the Egyptian Pyramids.

I will travel with Phyllis Eckelmeyer and Alice Sparks. We form the volunteer triage for the Maasai Cultural Exchange Project (MCEP). For eight days we will live in the Maasai village of Olosho oibor–a village that is thriving because of the generous financial support from thousands of adults and school children in Bucks County and beyond.

When MCEP was founded in 2005 the goal was to raise funds for the drilling of a well that would bring potable water to the Maasai. Seen below at left is the first well–Christy’s Well— named so for its generous benefactor. This well was drilled in December 2005. It continues to bring potable water to the 5,000 Maasai living in Olosho oibor. A film crew accompanied MCEP Co-founders Phyllis Eckelmeyer and Jennifer Ellsworth to this drilling. A half hour documentary, QUENCH is completed and will be distributed to schools and other supporters of MCEP.

Ten years on–

7-2005 *There are now seven wells sited across Maasailand.

*One hundred Maasai children are benefitting from education sponsorships.

*The Maasai have installed pipelines and cisterns that carry water from the wells to schools, greenhouses and infirmaries.

*Maasai women have established a beading co-op that brings additional income into their households.

I’ll journal while in Kenya as blogging might be impossible with our busy itinerary. We’ll tour the wells, the schools, the greenhouses and meet with Maasai who have been instrumental in many of these improvements. We are also excited about the prospect of filming elder Maasai women while they retell ancient and indigenous folktales that have been carried down from previous generations. The Maasai language is not written down; and from these oral stories we will print children’s coloring books, similar to one we printed in 2011 titled The Lion, the Ostrich and the Squirrel.

What’s on My Bucket List for Kenya? 1) Inhale the scent of Africa as soon as I walk outside of the Nairobi Air Terminal; 2) Rise early one morning to milk a cow; 3) Feel the burden of carrying a jerry can on my back filled with water; 4) Visit the Market in Ngong Hills; 5) Walk the earth in the Rift Valley; 6) Attend the Maasai Sunday church service; 7) And everything else to absorb this last half of Black History Month 2015 while I Sojourn in Kenya, East Africa.