Jan 1, 2017

A Traditional Pastoralist Girl's Life

a  Pastoralist Girl
a Pastoralist Girl

The rooster crows, the cows murmur, donkeys bray, the morning birds begin their wake up calls. It is time to rise from the stiff skin bed in the corner of the wattle and daub home in the dry dusty bush. Sempela, a six year old girl rises and finds mother already at the fire. She fetches what water remains in the 20 liter plastic jerry can with the logo and emblem of a generous organization that gave them out last year, pour it into the aluminum pot and set it on the fire to boil for tea. Yesterday mother sold her bag of charcoal so today she will have tea with milk before heading off to school. She is one of the lucky girls whose parents allow her to go to school and have found a sponsor for her uniform and shoes. At the same time in the village other young girls are rising and fetching the water for their tea without milk. Others will not go to school like Sempela. They will stay at home, fetch water for the family, clean and scrub dishes and then go search for firewood and roots for the evening meal. Some girls, after milking their cow, carry some milk to the forest in a gourd for strength in the midday sun. Already the girls know how to run their household.

In a year or so, father will take his knife and with a small ceremony cut out one of her bottom teeth. It is an occasion each girl will remember for their lifetime. Sempela will fetch water for her mother, dress and walk the 2 miles to school.   As they live in a traditional village, it will l not be long before the girls may be “beaded” – given to a young man at least in his teens and possibly an older relative.   If a baby is produced from this relationship it is not accepted and in their tribe is taken to the forest and left. The girls know this and accept it as the role of a girl in their tribe.

At any time in the girl’s life a suitor may approach the father to have the girl in marriage. Peeking from the cooking fire the girl wonders as the arrangements are made, she is not consulted.

Girls will participate in a circumcision ceremony to graduate them to the status of women. This is most often a December group ceremony. The girls are cloistered together and trained how to be women. Then it is customary for them to be married into a polygamous home. From that moment, the woman’s lifetime job is to bring children for the husband, and work to maintain the household.

Sempela has learned a bit more in school about these traditional ceremonies. She has enjoyed learning to read and seek answers to her questions and discover different worlds and that she can have a different lifestyle if she chooses. She learns that FGM and EFM are illegal and that she has rights as a child in her country. She learns that education is the key that opens many new doors for her and eventually for her family. She becomes the advocate in her family for new ideas.  

 

Expanding Opportunities uses your generous donations to locate these “Sempelas” and support them in school.

Thank you.

Classroom
Classroom

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Nov 28, 2016

Gordon Clem Academy completed its second year!

A Class at Gordon Clem Academy
A Class at Gordon Clem Academy

Gordon Clem Academy completed its second year!   Despite a myriad of challenges Gordon Clem Academy completed its second year. 

But there have been some fundamental problems in gaining sufficient funding to operate the Academy as planned. 

The Government of Kenya has put a halt to opening new public schools without significant clearance.  Gordon Clem Academy was in the process of registration as a public school but it was not completed prior to the halt. Therefore, the government are unable to supply teachers, books, food etc.

The people of the area cannot afford to pay school fees for the school to operate as a private school. 

Therefore we are searching for the way forward.  While we are doing that, we will deactivate this project and return with our new direction in the future. 

Thank you for your support to date.

A Class at Gordon Clem Academy
A Class at Gordon Clem Academy

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Nov 28, 2016

November at CAMP FOREST

Coal Burning a bowl takes patience
Coal Burning a bowl takes patience

November is the time the Camp Forest staff gathers to plan the next year. As the snow falls and covers Camp, we look forward to changing the lives of children when the ice is gone and school is out.

 While planning the Camp Schedule we keep in mind the growing research that indicates the work of Camp Forest has far reaching effects. Not only are the children engaged in outdoor healthy exercise but also the time spent at Camp Forest has long term positive benefits.

“Spending time in natural environments helps with recall and memory, problem solving and creativity.”

 “Mental health and wellbeing benefits from play in natural settings appear to be long term, realized in the form of emotional stability in young adulthood.”  Open Space Research Center

 The low enrollment ratio we cherish for more one to one contact makes it difficult for the children who need an outdoor wilderness experience the most. Your donations for camperships help to make it possible. Thank you

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