Meet the Women
Tabitha is one of the oldest women in the group. Although she says it's tough to work at her old, she must fend for her grandchildren. After all three of her daughters died in Kenya, she was left to take care of her orphaned grandchildren. To them, she is the only parent they know. This means Tabitha must work to provide for their education, food and basic needs. Although it is certainly trying, Tabitha says that God has given her a second chance to raise kids. Tabitha says that since joining Wamasaa Project, she has been filled with hope that her grandchildren will have the best education and never go hungry. She also says that now she can afford to pay for labor to till her land as her husband is sickly and they are both aging. Since we started the project, Tabitha has been able to take care of her husband's medical needs as well. Tabitha wants people in California to know that despite her old age, she is a hard worker and loves her job.
After Koki's husband passed away from HIV (luckily they were a discordant couple sparing Koki from infection), she was left with six children to fend for and a farm that she shared with five other families. Not only is it hard to farm because of the aridity in the region, but there is barely enough land for her crops to grow.
When I met her she could not afford to take all her children to school so the girls had dropped out of school and were at home. She figured the girls would marry off and leave her, while the boys would take care of her once they get received their education. Koki is hopeful that this project will empower her to get her girls back in school so that they will have the equal chance to have a bright future like their brothers.
Since joining the Wamasaa Project, Koki has managed to send one of her daughters back to school and she continues working, she is hopeful by mid-year that the other two will be back in school. With an education, she dreams her children would be able to travel far and wide and report back to her about the beautiful hand-made bags they saw people wearing.
Nduku is a catalyst of sorts. The first visit Nancy, the founder of Wamasaa Project, took to the Kitui region, Nduku showed great enthusiasm about the idea. She had already been weaving baskets and was eager to join Wamasaa Project.
Nduku is widowed with a family of 8 children and 3 grandchildren. Nduku's husband went drinking one day and never came back home. His body was found in a ditch, but as Nduku puts it, he never helped with anything when he was alive. He used all of his money on alcohol. Since her daughter dropped out of school, got pregnant and left for Mombasa for a housekeeping job and rarely sends any money, Nduku is left to take care of her grandchildren.
Since joining the project, she has been very positive and she says she has hope that her old age will be taken care of. She believes that she will be able to educate her younger children and her grandchildren and put food on their plates. She has selflessly spread our gospel to other women in her village so that they can benefit as well. She says she would like to be appreciated by the work she does on the beautiful bags that someone will be carrying in California.