Friday, October 7, 2016

School days, 'golden rule' days. . . . . . . . . .

Being welcomed to the community school was an overwhelming and
beautiful African experience.  
Due to our friend Paula's work here through her foundation in memory
of her late husband Sterling, we were given such a grand welcome.
 As well as being draped in colorful Maasai traditional blankets, which we had to
 keep and bring home, we were given upholstered chairs to sit on whilst being
 recited to, and sung and danced to by the amazing 650 plus students. 
Several parents joined in the celebration, along with the school board, teachers
 and Maasai elders.
 Bob and I were invited to speak to all those people about our relationship
 with Paula (our 55 years of friendship coming up in December), and of Sterling
 whom we loved and miss so much.

The welcome committee!
Here we were visiting the new classrooms for grades 6 thru 8 - Paula's recent 
project which has helped the overcrowding issue the many older children were
 faced with.
Also built recently, a small building to house several teachers who have to live
 on the school premises. Thrilled to have a little room of their own with
 lighting (solar powered as is everything, no electricity available), they
 can now prepare lessons, mark papers etc. in the dark evenings.

Visiting the 8th grade - all interested in learning where we came from.
Note the desks - all handmade and funded through the foundation -
 the 'school system' apparently unable to supply them.
Next will be computers, world globes and large wall maps - all the students want 
to learn more about our planet and the location of countries etc.

I chatted with these boys who were delightful - and showed them where
 North Carolina was located on a tiny world map in their shared text book.

Many of these children board at the school. All were exceptionally polite.
They live in scattered villages across the Mara and have no way to make
 the daily journey to the school, except to walk miles through areas where wild
 animals, especially lions, are omnipresent.
Paula's foundation has purchased mattresses and sheets for the girls and boys
 dormitories - the children had been sleeping on bare bed springs with one blanket - 
 two children have to share a small twin-size bed but they seem to manage.

All work and no play, as we know only too well, is not the way to live
a real life. Paula's foundation has also managed to give these children
a great playground to enjoy after school hours.
There is also a trampoline which they enjoy - Paula is purchasing 
two more - that news brought happy smiles.

I loved talking to the girls - they were interested in my manicured gel nails 
with glitter added to my ring finger, never having seen anything such as that!
I loved their comfy uniforms, probably made to allow for a couple of years of growth - Maasai people are tall.

This group of girls recited a very long 'poem' written in honor of Paula.
All she has done has helped make their school a very special place. . . . 
 and has given them the opportunity of an education.

These students, girls and boys, performed an amazing tribal dance. 
They had no instrumental accompaniment (Maasai do not have musical
 instruments), but made amazing vocal sounds which were melodic and
 really beautiful.

When we were invited into the school principal's tiny office, 
many others squeezed in too as these lovely girls arrived
with a basin of soap and water for hand washing. . . . . it was 
celebratory goat eating time! You may know I'm a non-meat eater of any
kind so was permitted to pass on the delicacy, whereas you see Bob 
went along with a small piece. I've just asked him again what it tasted 
like - and again he said it must have been goat as he didn't recognize it 
as anything else, but it was chewy!

Bob and Tirian chowing down.

This was such a memorable part of a very special day in the Maasai Mara.

You can read more about the Sterling Hammack Foundation HERE     


  1. I am finding the details of your trip incredibly fascinating. God bless Paula and her foundation for doing such wonderful, charitable works and helping these children. Hope not too silly of a question, but do they speak any English? I was just wondering how you are able to communicate with them.

    1. Yes Melanie, they are learning English in the school and the older students manage to converse quite well. Their tribal Maasai language is Maa and all speak Swahili also. English and Swahili are the official languages of Kenya.

      Remember now - there's no such thing as a silly question!
      Glad you are enjoying posts of our trip, and yes, Paula is making a huge difference.
      Mary -

  2. I can imaging what a unique day that must have been! They clothes are so beautifully colorful!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your African trip. Love seeing the animals but enjoyed this post about the school even more.

  4. Fun to see this, Mary. Makes my heart sing for these children. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a wonderful legacy, to give so much to these young people.

  6. They were very gracious to allow you a pass on goat eating. Your husband looks only mildly concerned. Ha! It's a beautiful thing your friend has done in memory of her husband. A gift that will keep on giving.

  7. This is so wonderful. I love hearing about Paula's foundation and big heart. The colors of their clothing is just beautiful, as are the people.

  8. So caring! Amazing experience! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Such warm heart, the Kenyans. You've captured that so well here. Lovely. Now, I too would ahve passed on the "goat" morsel. :)


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