Oltorotua is a village of about 200 in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. UUCF has had a connection to Oltorotua since 2007. Together with Rotary, we helped the villagers dig a well. This allowed the girls to go to school instead of walking miles to get unsafe water. A delegation from UUCF went to the dedication of the well in 2015.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a crisis to Oltorotua. Most of the men worked in tourism, either as game guides or in the small safari hotels. All of the hotels are closed and there are no tourists. Food is available, if money ($500/week) is available. IT IS POSSIBLE THE ECONOMIC DEPRESSION WILL KILL MORE PEOPLE THAN COVID-19! Jane and I want to feed this village until the world is sane again. We would welcome contributions from others. You can (1) mail a check to UUCF or (2) go to our website and click To DONATE Click Here. Indicate “Dig this well” or Oltorotua.
Our job now is to keep the villagers alive so they can drink the water!
Jambo! This is the traditional Swahili greeting visitors to Kenya hear often, whether your first trip or a visit many times repeated. “Jambo” seems especially appropriate here because some of you visited our Dig This Well! website about 15 years ago and some of you are new.
My name is Mary Bowman-Kruhm. While on a 2004 safari, my husband, Carl, and I were impressed with the Kenyan people, and told our tour guide that, as educators, we didn’t want to change anyone’s culture but please contact us if we could contribute to the education of a worthy young person. That comment led us to Jackson Liaram, whom we supported as he became a safari guide. Jackson has always been dedicated to both helping his Maasai people and protecting the environment. When we returned for a second trip in 2008 we visited his Oltorotua village and realized the women walked, huge containers on their backs, up to 10 miles a day for water.
Led by Steve King, Leonardtown Rotary, and with help from the Rotary Foundation, Nakuru-Great Rift Valley (Kenya) and District 7620 (MD) Rotary Clubs, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick and many friends, a well was eventually dug. Representatives from several Maryland Rotary clubs and UUCF attended the dedication on February 14, 2015. Wonderful event!
Those of us who visited Kenya in 2015 planned a return trip this summer and were inviting others to join us. Then COVID-19 halted our present lives. Jackson has been in touch because, just as our lives in the US are now very different, so is life in Oltorotua, with no tourism and their food supply chain disrupted. Fluoride filters are also needed for each house, since a little is good for bones but a lot, as in the well’s water, is not only bad but eventually crippling.
Right now, led by Bob and Jane Ladner, UUCF is able to handle their immediate food needs and Steve is progressing with the filters, but we are resurrecting this website to let you know the situation and, if need be, to have in place the mechanism to support our Liaram family and friends.
May you be well, happy, and peaceful. In Maa, the language of the Maasai: Tobiko esupat, tenchipai o tosotua.