Friday, July 27, 2018

A Days for Girls Workday and a Special Luncheon

Our days were filled to the brim with activity from dawn until evening. At this point of our trip, about the third or fourth day, my DGD Lauren and I found it nearly impossible to keep up with our written journals. Luckily, everyone in the group was taking pictures, and we’ve been sharing them in our private Facebook group. While all the photos in the first two posts are my own, from here on out I’ll be adding pictures taken by others as well. We all agreed to share, which is awesome, because a couple of the ladies in our group are accomplished photographers and their safari pictures are amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On this day, we had three items on our itinerary.

First, we visited the Days for Girls center in a village named Rotian, near Narok. Here our hosts Marilyn and OD, along with the official Days for Girls program, have two trained women to assemble DFG kits and do programs for the girls in the local secondary schools of the Narok area. We were bringing supplies to them; fabric (flannel and regular cotton), snaps and parts for their snap machines, two treadle sewing machines, yarn (for making bead trackers for menstrual periods) and more. We also knew there would be a lot of kids in the town, so we brought pillowcase dresses, wooden toy cars and stickers. Secondly, we had a scheduled luncheon to attend, and finally we had an afternoon Days for Girls program to teach and DFG kits to distribute to the girls. One of our team members, a Girl Scout named Mary from Texas, had also collected over 1200 pairs of new panties and washcloths to add to the kits. She and her mom Becky were absolutely amazing in their drive and focus. Mary is pictured in the photo, right.

These lovely ladies, Janet and Ann, run this Days for Girls center. It’s just a small corner shop in this rather run-down area. The men in our group unloaded the machines and began working on adding snaps to the shields.

The three young women in our group, accompanied by many of the adults, began distributing dresses, toy cars and stickers to the kids who gathered outside. Anytime the wazungu (white people) come by, they figure there’s something about to happen!

I stayed inside and worked with Ann, adding ribbon drawstrings to the DFG kit bags.

But the real action was outside!

These kids are so poor, and appreciate anything. But our goal was not to hand out cheap junk, which is why these toys are handmade wooden toys (Tiny Tim’s Toy Foundation, West Jordan, UT) that will last them and their siblings for years or even decades.

Another game for the locals; hoop and stick.

It was a satisfying trip, and we knew we’d be seeing Ann and Janet again in the afternoon at our DFG program, and later in the week for another program in another area.

Then we rode back into a nicer, farm area of Narok, where OD’s sister (and hubby and family) live on a farm. We had been invited to lunch at their little compound. It’s not really a compound, but a few dung huts gathered together on shared farmland.  What a view!

Our hosts Marilyn and OD had pre-arranged this luncheon with Margaret, one of OD’s sisters. Her husband travels the country, looking for work and is only home every few months. She takes care of the farm and children, as well as providing room and board for a widowed blind woman and her two children. Generous hearts run in the family. As well, Marilyn and OD had prepaid for the luncheon food so that no financial burden fell on these lovely women.

Here are Margaret and her friend in the special cooking hut, preparing the meal. I wish I’d taken a picture of the deliciousness! We had chicken, rice, irio, chapati, and a delicious cabbage and vegetable dish. Naturally, they came around with water and soap for us to wash our hands with first!

Here you can see part of the outside of Margaret’s dung hut. That is my friend Mary Ann walking out the front door, below. The dung huts are actually animal dung mixed with mud. Once cured, it doesn’t smell of course, and is pretty strong. The mixture is used between slats of wood and is very sturdy and hard. The roofs are corrugated metal - very noisy in the rain!

This is the sitting room in the hut. The floor is compacted dirt. It’s customary to hang curtains in the daytime to hide the adjacent sleeping rooms (three in this case). The toilet facilities are an outside latrine. Those huge bins of shortbread cookies were brought by Marilyn for the ladies to distribute (over time, of course) to the kids.

Here’s another view inside the hut looking from the corner out to the front entry area. Margaret had just been able to have her hut electrified the prior week.

Guess what was hooked up to it? An Apple laptop! Another cultural juxtaposition. Ready for another? Their goat died last month, but she’s saving up for a new one. In the meantime, they’ve had to send the kids to town with empty milk jugs to buy milk in town, quite a bit more expensive.

The ladies then sang and danced a traditional folk song or two for us, then invited us to join in. We, in turned regaled them with You Are My Sunshine, Row Row Row Your Boat (in rounds), and Amazing Grace. See if you can identify another jarring cultural juxtaposition in the video below.

Black and White.
DGD Lauren and some of the local farm kids!

It was a fun time, and we all strolled back through the fields together, out to the road.

The school for our afternoon DFG program - a secondary school of girls and boys from ages 14-18 - was just a short stroll down the dirt road. Here is a picture of the entrance.

It was a really nice school, but I didn’t get any pictures (and so far, I haven’t seen anyone else post any in the group, either). There were 160 young girls to which we (along with Ann and Janet from earlier in the day) gave the presentation and DFG kits. And it was done in English, because at this stage of their education, it’s all done in English!

Afterward, we helped them make bead counters for their menstrual cycles. It was crazy, intense, and a bit disorganized as only young teenage girls can make it, LOL. But so satisfying! We were there for at least 3-4 hours. At one point, as everyone was going in different directions and I was temporarily at sea, I had to leave and walk the grounds. Like a wimp, I burst into tears - all the emotions of the last few days bubbling up and overwhelming me. OD caught up to me later and gave me a hug and a pep talk.  We can’t change the world overnight; we can only proceed one day, one school, one child at a time.

This is Part 3 of my African Trip journal.
Part 2 is HERE.
Part 1 is HERE.


  1. I can't imagine the intensity of all those new experiences! I don't blame you one bit for being overwhelmed. I really enjoyed the video of the ladies singing, and the photo of the kids with those gorgeous wooden cars.

  2. You all did good work!! Looking forward to hearing more about your African experience.

  3. As I was reading, I was thinking that these posts are such a great way to recount and remember your trip. I wonder if the company that prints blogs could print just certain posts. It would certainly be worth looking into. A perfect to have along with your written journals. I'm pondering all the information you brought to these people. I admit, the pictures of the children are my favorites.
    xx, Carol

  4. Wonderful post--I can totally understand your dissolving in's a lot to take in when you realize just how fortunate we all are and how just small items can bring such joy ....
    it must be totally overwhelming. This is an journey of a lifetime for you--good that you are journaling and taking photos...and posting.
    thank you for sharing with us here, at home....
    hugs julierose and hugs to those little ones...;))))

  5. Amazing to think that something as simple as a bit of yarn and a few beads could be so important to a young girl. I think I would have been shedding a lot of tears every single day but you have to feel so good to know how much sheer wonder you brought to those people. You will never forget this!

  6. Fun seeing the stick and hoop car tyres again. We wore jandals made out of car tyres while there too. They were very strong and durable.


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