2013 MCEP NewsDear Friends, MCEP has been busy with many Maasai projects this spring. We thank you for your past support and want to update you with recent and future events.
MARCH, 2014: MCEP's first well, drilled in 2005, went DRY. Francis ole Sakuda notified MCEP that geologists found abundant clean water nearby the location of the existing well but it had to be drilled deeper. Christy's Well, named for its generous donor, has provided water to the people of Olosho-Oibor, schools, infirmaries, greenhouses and livestock for almost 10 years. The Maasai initiated fund raising to repair the well and MCEP sent recent donations and personal emergency contributions to get the repairs underway. We are hoping to raise more funds to insure the project completion.
APRIL, 2014: Two twelve year old Maasai boys and their Maasai teacher were invited to Bucks County to join students from four other countries to attend a two week JEM (Joint Environmental Mission) Program sponsored by Buckingham Friends School. They had much to share and learn about water and environmental issues but they were not able to attend because their visas were delayed by the US embassy. It was very disappointing to everyone.
MAY, 2014: SEVERE DROUGHT PPREDICTION : Francis wrote: "...we are well, but are getting very worried. The long rains failed completely". He compared it to 2009 when the drought was so severe that people sold their emaciated livestock for $1.00 each. He feels this drought might be worse. In the past, the Maasai depended on donations of food and monetary donations. Francis has now formulated a plan that can be implemented to prepare for this year and all future emergencies. It includes "...de-stocking, livestock movement, setting up cow-calf camps. Maasai need to have their own beef market so people will not exploit them. This would mean developing modern facilities for slaughtering and packaging meat and other livestock products." They hope to open emergency boreholes and provide livestock with feed and fodder to breed stock. They have been cutting and storing hay and they are hoping to obtain a dozer so they can make small earth dams.
GREENHOUSES: The greenhouses donated by MCEP have given the Maasai a controlled environment to grow an abundance of vegetables. However, due to strong winds in the Great Rift Valley, the thin plastic material on walls and roofs needs to be replaced with a durable plexiglass type material costing approximately $3,000 per greenhouse for the plexiglass, metal poles and the artisan. This project is urgent for food sustainability in light of the predicted drought.
DOCUMENTARY: "Quench" is in the final editing stage and MCEP is very excited to share it with you at a screening this fall. The date, time and location of the viewing will be announced by September.
JEWELRY SALE: MCEP will have a table at the Salem UCC yard sale at 186 E. Court Street, Doylestown, Sat., June 21, 9AM-2PM selling handmade Maasai jewelry. All proceeds go directly to the Maasai women crafters.
Please keep the Maasai in your thoughts and prayers and if you would like to make a tax deductible donation for water, greenhouses or education please send your check to: "MCEP" P.O. Box 222, Point Pleasant, PA 18950.
Kenyan National Election
Francis Ole Sakuda is running for governor of Kajiado District. The importance of this election is that the Maasai will have a voice in the Kenyan government, and have the opportunity to improve their infrastructure of roads, electic power lines, wells and education.
Maasai Cultural Exchange Visit
MCEP is planning to host the Maasai next October 2013. If you would like to schedule a date for a Maasai presention, please contact Phyllis Eckelmeyer at email or this address
Grace Suyianta and Susan Naserian attend JEM (Joint Environmental Mission) Conference at Buckingham Friends School to plan a international student exchange for 2014.
MCEP sponsored a fund-raising jewelry sale at Salem United Church of Christ in Doylestown. Shown below from left to right, Susan Neserian, John Sakuda and Grace Salau.
April 21-May 13 2012
MCEP scheduled cultural awareness events at 50 venues in Bucks County and surrounding areas.
Hosting Maasai members, Francis ole Sakuda, John Sakuda, Daniel Salau Rogei (shown below, Military men outside of Council Rock High School, L-R Daniel, Francis and John).
Maasai Cultural Day
Maasai Cultural Day presenters included (l to r) John Ole Sakuda, Dr. Violet Kulo, Benjamin Gai and Esther Lemaiyan
School students at Millcreek Elementary School ask John Ole Saduka questions after their presentation.
Engineers Without Borders, Russ Turner(l), Walt Walker (r) John ole Saduka and Phyllis Eckelmeyer
Phyllis, Doreen Stratton and Alice Sparks at the 20th International Day, North Penn High School
John ole Sakuda describes life of Maasai children to the students at St. John's School in Ottsville, PA
Pastor Detlef of United Church of Christ, Carversville,Phyllis Eckelmeyer and John ole Saduka
Young member of 2nd Baptist Church reading a letter from a Maasai student
MCEP Education Coordinator, Alice Sparks, visits the Maasai community, February 2011.
Alice & Tom Sparks along with a friend, Tom Kulesza, stayed with Francis Ole Sakuda from Feb. 1 to Feb. 5, 2011 in Francis and Susan’s Maasai home in Kenya. They visited three nursery schools, seven primary schools and one high school. Alice was able to update photos of many of the students sponsored by MCEP donors. Even with the new “feeder” nursery schools, many children still walk 5-10K (3-6 miles) each way. It was observed that some of the schools had no water to cook the maize, so those children could not eat during the day. SIMOO had recently made and delivered desks to one of the schools and measured students for uniforms.
During the four days, they had the opportunity to visit four of the completed wells and saw the huge advantage to having pipeline carry the water in three directions to cisterns 15-20 km. away from the well where it was used for people, animals and drip irrigation for the new greenhouses. The seventh well is now completed. Some of the wells currently have pipeline and cisterns so donations are sought to extend the distribution of water at all wells.
After the wells and greenhouses are established, it is the responsibility of the community to take over the running and maintenance of all the equipment. They charge a small fee for those using the water so that there is money to buy diesel for the generator and any repair work needed. All of the wells were producing water with lines of people and animals waiting their turn in a very orderly way. There were Maasai men in charge of each project who have learned how to care for the equipment.
There are now three greenhouses near Christie’s well each about 8m x 30m (approx. 25 ft. x 100 ft.) with tomato plants in one at various stages of growth. Francis gave the good news that Seattle based “Food for Vision” has offered to match any future greenhouse construction. Starting their own sustainable source of food has been very exciting for the Maasai and they have now adapted ways to deal with the high winds
Francis and Susan were outstanding hosts and the time Francis took from his busy schedule to drive them to show all of the MCEP projects was greatly appreciated. Their last day was spent in Ngong Hills where they saw SIMOO’s offices and were delighted to see the sewing machine used to make school uniforms and the knitting machine used for the school sweaters. Throughout the visit, the warmth and sincere expressions of welcome and gratitude for the MCEP/SIMOO projects experienced everywhere they went was the most unforgettable part of the trip.
The Documentary, Quench
Jennifer Ellsworth, MCEP Co-founder and Executive Producer of the documentary Quench the film documenting the drilling of the first well (2005) is in the final stage of editing. John-Michael Trojan of Shooters Post and Transfer—the director/producer of the film; and Phil Bradshaw of Fresh Fly—Quench cameraman and rough cut editor.
Buckingham Friends School Becomes the First Cultural Exchange Group to Visit Maasailand
(also see more on our Education Page)
Buckingham Friends School raised $2,000 toward a SIMOO project to build a $13,000 greenhouse in Olosho-oibor. In June, seven students-- along with BFS chaperone/teachers Kim Troup and Melissa Trice, traveled to the Olosho-Oibor region of Kenya for a ten-day sojourn. Hosted by our Maasai friends, the students and teachers experienced the goal of our mission: an opportunity for a cultural exchange between people and lifestyles. The students who traveled on this powerful journey were Jake Zaren, Scarlett Waldman, Christopher Troup, Isabelle Phillips, Madison Lewis, Ben Kesh, and Aaron Boerner. Students from Buckingham Friends visited Ereteti Primary School. The Eretiti School is the site of the Rotary/McDonnell-Kearney well.