Trucks do not often travel up the sandy track to the Maasai village of Elerai in Tanzania. The road is narrow and rutted. Traffic generally takes the form of donkeys, bicycles and motorbikes all overladen with goods and passengers.
So when a large transport truck makes its way up the hill to stop outside the village elementary school, it attracts a lot of attention. The pupils crowded round, eager to help with the unloading of sacks of rice and pails of cooking oil.
In early August we sent an appeal to the Yukon for urgent help. The school lunch program had run out of funds, and the storeroom was almost empty. The children were due to start back at school after their summer holiday. We needed to do something quick.
And Yukoners responded in their usual generous way!
We are fortunate that EMAYO, the local Maasai Youth Organization, is partnered with The Kesho Trust, a Canadian NGO, which has a website and Paypal facilities. The Kesho Trust’s Founding Director, Yukon resident Bruce Downie, was able to fast-track your donations to EMAYO so that the store room could be quickly re-stocked.
During this time, the village was not idle. Villagers had been working on making the stores rat-proof … not an easy thing in an area where you can’t get planed wood, and a tool kit consists of a machete and something heavy and metal to use as a hammer.
Donations of maize from the recent harvest had been dropped off by parents, a bucket or half-sack at a time. The children had been out collecting firewood for cooking fuel, carrying the bundles back on their heads.
The first delivery of food is now safely stored, and in Dawson City the fundraising continues, to ensure that this school year these children can think about their lessons, not their empty stomachs.