The Gift of Giving: A Milestone for ‘Join Hands For Africa’

We are very proud to announce the very first full sponsors of a child’s education through our Join Hands For Africa movement, Chris and Connie!

Chris, a very old friend of ours, has been a staunch supporter of our cause from the very beginning, and we are humbled by his and Connie’s generosity. You are an inspiration to us all.

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“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Even though you guys are the ones there, you have the support of many and more to come. And we agree that education is a human right, not a privilege. We are fully aware of how lucky we are and we are more than happy to share our blessings with those who are less fortunate. We hope that our small gesture will make a big contribution towards a child’s well-being.” Chris

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“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill

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If you want to follow Chris & Connie’s example please click HERE. Remember, even the smallest of donations can make a big difference for a child like Mandela Jr. (below).

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Stay tuned.

Androo & Alan

Belated Festive Greetings: Christmas and the Holidays in Kenya

Heri za Krismasi na Mwaka Mpya Wenye Mafanikio – Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

First of all, please excuse our lack of updates. It has been a very uneventful two weeks leading up to Christmas since all work stopped for the holidays. Yet, that is not to say that nothing happened:

– Thanks to the ongoing donations from our countrymen back in Malta, we were able to buy almost double the amount of books for our library project. Words cannot express how grateful we are!

– Androo’s old primary school generously donated a number of books as well, that are still on their way to Kenya. It is heartwarming to see this amount of solidarity, even though we are so far away from home.

– The compound got a new dog, called Moscow, and we took it upon ourselves to thoroughly wash the little pooch. We cannot comprehend how this little guy is going to serve as security in the near future – it is too friendly and adorable for anyone to be scared of it.

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– One particular morning, when we had absolutely nothing on our agenda, Alan, James (a seminarian, aka Jimbo, who’s been spending his holidays with us) and myself, simply fooled around with our camera. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun, especially when things didn’t go as planned.

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– Alan spent one evening trying to teach Kevin (left) and Bernard (right) how to play the guitar. In fairness, all they wanted to do was strum, and within 10 minutes of them picking up the guitar, they even started a singalong!

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– We managed to play some football as well. We asked Kevin for a ball and we were presented with this: a combination of paper and plastic, tied with a string and submerged in water to give it weight. We felt like kids again, using trees as goalposts and running until our heart couldn’t take it anymore.. Or, to be honest, until Alan fell, almost face-first, in the mud!

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– Christmas eve was spent decorating the house with tinsel and balloons. It was a good day, everyone was in high spirits and we were treated with some soda and sausages.

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– Being in Maasai land, we bought traditional shukas and dressed appropriately for midnight festivities. We tried to look all serious and imposing for the photo since we were wearing traditional Maasai Warrior clothing but we failed, miserably.

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– Here, when the clock strikes midnight, the people unite in ululation. It is a sight to behold!

– Christmas day was one big treat. We spent the day at the Maasai Mara in a 5-star hotel right in the middle of the Mara. Christmas amongst the elephants (and all the other wild beasts)! Moreover, lunch was one big food festival and we indulged accordingly. It had been a while since we had such a selection of food in front of us and ate as if we were never ever eating again, ever.

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All in all, we hope all of you had a pleasant Christmas and we wish you a very happy New Year. Stay safe and stay tuned!

Androo & Alan

It’s been a month already…

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Cannot believe that it has already been a month since we left our little island paradise to ply our trade in Africa. It has been a wonderful experience, even though sometimes quite overwhelming.

To commemorate, here are some highlights from our journey so far:

– Spending almost an hour at the Passport Control station in Istanbul (connecting flight) because the officer in charge was suspicious of Androo’s documents.

– Landing in Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, and breathing the Kenyan air for the first time, constantly hoping we’ll find our luggage where it was supposed to be. This was particularly stressful. You know.. our lives depended heavily on the safe and unhindered arrival of our luggage.

– Travelling for 7 hours just to arrive at a checkpoint, Kilgoris, before heading to Lolgorien the following morning. This ride was our first true culture shock, so to speak. Upon leaving the very centre of Nairobi the standard of living plummets. You are struck with extremely poor settlements, dirt roads and a complete degradation of surroundings.

– All the children at our residence, in Lolgorien, shouting “MUZUNGU, MUZUNGU – How aa’you?” when we first arrived. {Muzungu is Swahili for white man. We hear this phrase from the little ones everywhere we go. Their smile is always a pleasure to behold.}

– Eating, for the first time, at a private residence and accepting that, regardless of how full our stomach is, if we’re offered food, soda, water, or tea, we have to accept it. It would be extremely offensive not to.

“The people here don’t have any money; but what they have, they share.” – Fr. Thomas

– Tasting ‘African Cake’ – Ugali in Swahili – and realising that it is as close to cake as soil is.

– Launching our Library Project and seeing it taking shape day by day.

– Researching the culture and the compound in detail, finances and all, to better our impact with the Join Hands For Africa movement – and later launching it here and on Facebook.

Meeting the traditional Maasai and having lunch in one of their beautifully constructed huts.

Driving through the immensity that is the Maasai Mara and seeing the most amazing collection of wildlife we ever set eyes upon. An experience difficult to forget.

– Cooking a dish of spaghetti bolognese for the locals.

– Realising that bathing here is a luxury. Everyone depends on rainwater (those who can afford to buy water tanks) or water is collected from the river, 2km away from the town centre.

– Daily power cuts. Daily.

– Coffee is a rarity here. Chai is the cultural favourite. It was a bit difficult, going from 3-4 cups of coffee a day, to absolutely nothing overnight.

– Goats and cows everywhere. Every road is littered with livestock and we have to constantly slow down to give the farmers ample time to gather their herds towards the side of the road.

So, one month down, 8 and a half to go. If every month turns out similar to this one, we’re in for one heck of a ride. Hope this blog is giving you a taste of what we’re experiencing. 🙂

Stay tuned!

Androo & Alan

A Day With The Maasais: Circumcision, beast goats, and a 3 year old driver!

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Yesterday, we were lucky enough to spend most of the day with the traditional Maasais – the ones who refuse to adopt the modern (Western) way of living. Meaning that, regardless of their level of education, they prefer to live on their own land, close to the Mara, far away from civilisation, electricity (or even phone signal for that matter), in their beautifully constructed huts, living off their land and livestock.

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Stunning traditional Maasai clothing.

We had a small celebration of initiation for the 12 year old boys who had just undergone circumcision that, in Maasai tradition, serves as a rite of passage towards manhood.

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After the feast, came the food. Goat meat is a Kenyan staple, regardless of tribe, and we were served lots of it. One has to understand though that animals here are very well exercised, unlike ours, and so the meat is relatively hard to bite into. It is also very rude not to accept food when offered.. Needless to say, my teeth are still rattled, especially after the nyamachoma (roast meat) arrived. It is astonishing looking at the locals eating it as if they’re eating boiled vegetables. So, we put on a brave face, smiled (whenever someone was looking) and did our best to eat this beast of a goat.

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Food was followed by chai (tea), a quick message from the chief, and we were on our back. The trips here are always breathtaking, not only because of the scenery, but also because of the wildlife – of which there is plenty. Zebras are as common as cows and we even managed to see giraffes (!!) going along their daily routine on our way back to Lolgorien!

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Our ride was in very safe hands.. Adorable.

Stay tuned!

Androo & Alan