Welcome to the Change Heroes in Eor Ewuaso, Kenya,community report!
Eor Ewuaso, a rural community located in the Narok South District of the Rift Valley Province in Kenya has a small population of approximately 1,400 people. Due to a severe wind disaster in 2000, many classrooms of the Eor Ewuaso primary school were destroyed and fixing them is a huge undertaking for a community that lacks funding.
Education is important for the Eor Ewuaso community, but due to lack of resources, the illiteracy rate for boys stands at 20% and 40% for girls since girls are expected to take part in early marriages, which hinders them from attending school and successfully pursuing an education. In addition to education issues, Eor Ewuaso also suffers from lack of access to health care facilities and clean water resources. The community lacks funding on all parts so often times, one latrine is shared among 40 individuals and during drought season, many children are malnourished because there are no trained health practitioners nearby in the village.
…For the record, 4 hours of sleep is not enough when you’re already running on fumes from the night before. Everyone talks about how wonderful travel is, the easy-breezy nonchalance manner in which we think about time while on “vacation,” (even though, technically, this isn’t a vacation) but so often we leave out the part about actually getting to where we’re going (which in my opinion, can also be an exciting part of the adventure). And where we’re headed, today…well, let’s just say it doesn’t have the most direct route.
Back to 4 hours of sleep. 6:37 am in Quito has me confused. The sun is rising, ripe as an orange, just beyond the Pichincha volcano; the teeming city of Quito, waking up with the glow, looms just below.
Where am I? Oh yah, Ecuador. Why am I here? Oh yah, this is my job.
My alarm is set for 3:00 am. Upon crawling into bed — after laundry, packing, checking and double-checking my lists, and checking-in online — I do the math in my head: If I fall asleep right this instant (11:13 pm), I will get 3 hours and 47 minutes of sleep. Not possible. If I fall asleep in 15 minutes (still not likely), I will get 3 hours and 32 minutes of sleep. The numbers game makes the task of falling asleep more and more daunting as I see precious minutes pass by on the dimmed screen of my iPhone.
(Foreshadowing: in 24 hours, none of this will matter. In 36 hours, I’ll be without the luxury of my iPhone, or even electricity, for that matter. In 48 hours, my eyes will be opened to a whole new reality; an entirely new perspective)
I’ve done this before, though. I might even call myself a ‘seasoned traveler.’ At 25, I’ve been fortunate enough to see my fair share of plane bellies. I’ve been to Europe and back again — twice. Trekked my way through Italy, Belgium and Holland. Three provinces in China exposed me to monkey cheek dumplings, X’ian’s terracotta warriors and a culture shock I could never have predicted. Between the beaches of Costa Rica, Mexico, and Cuba, I’ve effectively earned the status of ‘heliophile’.
But I’ve never been somewhere like this. I tried to Google>image Mondaña, the village in Ecuador we are venturing to, but it’s so remote that not even the World Wide Web can provide me with adequate pictures or any reference for me to form some sort of expectations. The fact that it’s only accessible by way of canoe on the Rio Napo should have suggested as much. I’m going in blind, so to speak.
Welcome to the Change Heroes in Osenetoi, Kenya community report!
Free The Children describes this village as being “situated in Lemek, a sub-location within [the] Ololunga Division of Narok South District,” but to be a little easier for all of our friends on the other side of the world, whilst looking at a map the village is situated in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya, Africa.
The village consists of just over 2,300 community members , and over 330 of them attend Osenetoi Primary. The village is mainly comprised of Maasai people, who are indigenous to Kenya and Northern Tanzania. For those who have travelled to either of these areas before, you may have noticed the Maasai women wearing traditional beaded necklaces. This indigenous group speaks the Maa language and families are relatively large. This is because polygamy is common amongst the Maasai and households generally consist of the male head of the house and 2 to 3 wives. The main occupations for men in in the community are animal husbandry and small-scale agriculture, while the women partake in beadwork and weaving. Their diet consists of livestock, produce grown via household farming, and other items villagers purchase at the market.
If 1 person can build a school using the Change Heroes platform, what can 100 people do?
This fall, we’re about to find out.
Just a few short months ago, the Change Heroes team took a field trip. By way of plane, bus, a gigantic river canoe, and our own two feet, we travelled deep into the Amazon jungle of Ecuador to the remote village of Mondaña.
The Kichwa people of Mondaña (like Iveth, Stefania and Haidii in the photo below) welcomed us with open arms, embraced us with their culture, taught us invaluable lessons like the meaning of #MINGA and shared with us their struggles. Immersed into their daily life, we saw their needs first-hand.
Located in the region of Kumbhalgarh, Kamoda is considered a tehsil — a sub-district consisting of multiple minuscule villages in the Rajsamand area. The community is home to approximately 130 households, which makes up a small population of just 800 people.
Due to the small population, Kamoda lacks multiple resources that are important for the preservation of the village. Out of the 135 children ages 6-14 in the village, only 54 are enrolled in the village’s local elementary school. The school, run by only two teachers, has two classrooms and the infrastructure of the school is often negatively affected by the poor weather. In addition to the lack of education, Kamoda also faces issues in health care and water sanitation as health facilities, such as maternal care, are not available and there is a severe shortage of water pumps and sanitation facilities in the community.
Welcome to the Change Heroes in Oleleshwa, Kenya community report!
Located in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya, Oleleshwa girls secondary school is part of Free The Children’s Adopt a Village program where schools, libraries, water projects, and other initiatives are built throughout the country to establish a good community outreach program. As of 2003, 56% of the Kenyan population live below the poverty line and less than 10% of students who graduate from grade eight have the opportunity to continue on to secondary school to complete their education. Change Heroes has worked closely with Free The Children in the past few years to mitigate the education issue in the country. This is where Oleleshwa comes in! Read on to learn about our exciting journey!
Welcome to the Change Heroes in Marialapa, Haiti community report!
From political tumult to the devastating earthquake of 2010, Haiti has experienced its fair share of disasters that have severely affected its land and its people. But the Haitians are not easily defeated and have proven themselves to not only be strong in the face of tragedies, but also positive as they work hard towards building a brighter future.
Ever since the earthquake in 2010 that hit Port-au-Prince, Free The Children has amped up its health and education focus in the nation to ensure that communities, like Marialapa, receive better access to education and health clinics. Marialapa is home to approximately 4,000 people and is a small community located in the Central Plateau region, in the Commune of Hinche in the Upper Plateau, Haiti.
Presently, 80% of households in the village lack easy access to safe drinking water. In addition, the closest clinic is 10km away from the village and it also lacks the necessary supplies, medicine, and equipment needed to treat patients. The illiteracy rate in Marialapa is staggeringly high – with 85% for men and a higher 95% for women. The long history of illiteracy proves to be a constant barrier for young people who wish to have access to education.
“Always be learning & insatiably curious” – Change Heroes Manifesto
As some of you may know, one of Change Heroes core values is to “always be learning and insatiably curious.” The human brain works far too well and far too fast to ever become stagnant. The Change Heroes office is full of individuals who are facing obstacles and overcoming them because they go out of their way to learn new tactics, processes, and solutions. Now where do you think this importance of learning comes from? Curiosity of course. When a problem arises, the mind takes over. Questions like why? How? What can I do to fix this? New ways of looking, examining, defining problems start to develop. Suddenly that coding problem is a puzzle, that photoshop layer is origami. So how can people begin to grasp all that being curious has to offer? Well. Let me tell you.