BENEFITING: AFRICA YOGA PROJECT INC
This is my blog to document and share information about my trip to Kenya this summer! The main purpose of this blog before I leave is to spread awareness of what I will be doing while in Kenya and to aid in my fundraising efforts. Unfortunately due to my rural location I will not have Internet access while in Africa, but fully intent to post pictures, memories, and lessons from my trip upon my return.
Why Africa, why Kenya? There is something about Africa that creates an irresistible draw for me, and many others, to it. I have always wanted to spend some time abroad and volunteer and it felt like with internships and jobs in my future now would be the best time. What could be better than spending the summer under the Kenyan sun?
After deciding that I wanted to volunteer for the summer, the obvious question of how came about. Sparing everyone the details (although ask me if your so inclined, it’s a great story), I ended up committing myself to a six-week placement in Kenya with Village Volunteers [insert link here].
I could talk about village volunteers for hours (please see the VV tab if you would like to learn more) and because it’s a small organization I have been able to discuss my trip at length with the amazing director Shauna. She helped me pinpoint my interests and I ended up with volunteer placements I am over the moon about.
My first destination is Mama na dada in a rural village on the shores of lake Victoria. Mama na Dada is a non profit organization whose mission it is to support the empowerment of young women through sexual and reproductive health information and the education of the girl child. For young girls in many small African communities life is anything but easy and gender discrimination has had devastating lifelong consequences.
Mama na Dada (Swahili for mother and sister) is located in Kunya Village. The village has a population of about 5,000 people, 50% of whom are under the age of 21. The district the village is located in has the second highest AIDS prevalence in the country and before mama na dada, many of the girls prostituted themselves to the fisherman who would come into town for something as simple as a cup of tea or bar of soap. Since 65% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day the girls did what they thought they needed to do. They simple did not think one time would have any effect on them, many afterwards getting pregnant or contracting AIDS. Mama na Dada has done wonders for the community and continues to change the lives of many girls through education and empowerment.
I am so excited to have a chance to be a part of such an amazing organization and work with the girls in the village. In addition to education of my missions while there will be to empower the young women and girls through yoga. Although not initially part of my plan, the more I thought about it the more perfect I realized yoga was for what I am doing. Yoga is all about self-empowerment and learning to love oneself, and I truly believe that if everyone practiced a little yoga the world would be a better place. Yoga has changed my life and I hope to change, or start the thread of change, for others. I am by no means certified to teach (although I do plan to be in the future) but I think my love for yoga and desire to teach the basics to the children will more than suffice.
After four weeks at Mama Na Dada I will be spending two weeks at Namunyak Massai Welfare. Namunyak works to make a positive difference in the unique Maasai community. The primary school that has resulted from it was opened in 2008 and has already received numerous awards and has a reputation for academic excellence. The two weeks I will be there will be spent helping the children in the school and experiencing the amazing Maasai culture.
To prepare for the trip I am going to spend a month in Boulder fundraising and studying yoga. One of my suitcases will be full of clothes, school supplies, and other necessary items for the kids at Mama na Dada and Namunyak Welfare. I also want to fundraise for scholarship money to give children the opportunity to attend the schools who would otherwise not be able to.
If you want to learn more about anything mentioned above please feel free to check out the tabs at the top of the blog for more details or for information on how to donate.