It's been nine months since my first visit to the Majengo village. I was told that I was the first mzungu wanawake, white woman, to visit them. I could see mixed emotions on the faces of the children, who is this stranger and why is she here? Some were shy and others quite animated! The adults all sat in front of me wanting to know more but we did not speak the same language so after a few failed attempts to explain that I was just stopping by with my friend, Thadei, to visit them for one day, I got out my iPhone and we all gathered around and I showed them photos of my family, of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, of lions and zebras, and they all moved closer and words were no longer needed! We laughed and we danced, and they brought me a lovely gift, a handmade basket made by a woman named Nipaeli. She approached me with the basket and I see she is slightly younger than me with a warm beautiful smile. Someone then took my iPhone and took photos of me with the women with such pride and I felt the warmest welcome in my life!
A few minutes later as we were sitting and sipping Coca-Cola, the woman named Nipaeli took my hand and kept asking me, "Will you cooperate? Will you cooperate?" I looked in her warm brown eyes and told her, "yes, I will cooperate, I am very happy to cooperate!" I'm just thinking to myself, how lovely we are cooperating, I am such a cooperative person! We are so friendly! She says something in Swahili to the other women and they all clap and cheer! I am surrounded with warm hugs and many, many blessings! As this experience is sinking in and I'm smiling ear to ear, my friend, Thadei, tells me that the village is so happy and he is also so happy that I will co-operate the village with him and they have many ideas! The first one is building a maize mill!!
I then realize that I have agreed to co-operate, and according to dictionary.com, I am now, "acting jointly toward the same end, involving an educational program comprising both classroom study and on-the-job technical training a jointly owned enterprise." This enterprise is an entire village!!! Later that evening, when I got back to my room, I called my husband, and say, "hey, honey, we are now the co-operators of a village, and we just bought a maize mill!" And KiliTech was born :)
Fast forward, I mean really fast forward, and we now have the maize mill, electricity, a community hall, a new school, fresh water, vocational training for women, sewing machines, catering supplies, a small store, and other businesses have begun, in a village that before had none of these things! This is the power of hope and of love, and through the support of our donors we have made all this happen in this wonderful and beautiful and now thriving community! We truly are co-operating a village and we could never do it without your support!! So, please consider donating so we can continue to improve lives and bring technology and education to these rural villages! I return in May for the grand opening of the porter education program with Chikima Foundation and we are in the planning stages of a HUGE beekeeping project in northeast Kilimanjaro, so stay tuned!!