Kenya is located in east Africa just below the “horn.” It’s bordered by the Indian Ocean on the South East, Tanzania on the South, Uganda on the West, Sudan on the North West, Ethiopia on the North and Somalia on the North East.
Maisha is in the south-west corner of Kenya in the village of Kadiju, an area more commonly referred to as Kano due to its location on the Kano plains. It is situated about 20 minutes by vehicle outside of Kenya’s third largest city Kisumu. Kisumu lies on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest freshwater lake.
Resting on the equator, the climate is tropical and humid, creating a beautiful landscape. There are two rainy seasons; the long rains in April and May and the short rains in November and December. The hottest periods are from January to March and August to November. The coldest months are in July and the beginning of August. Average temperatures in Kenya range from 50° F to 95° F.
The rural area of Maisha, for the most part, lacks modern conveniences like running water and electricity. The main source of transportation is on foot or bicycle. The area is home to the Luo tribe. Most of their homes and facilities are primitively made from clay bricks, concrete, tin roofs, and grass.
The village of Kadiju is governed by chiefs. Our local chief Jenipher Atieno Kosome is one of our closest allies in our effort to bring transformation to the community. Being one of very few women chiefs, she has a particular heart to see change for the present and future generations of children and works tirelessly for the rights of women. We also work with Assistant Chief Matengo on land matters and acquiring birth certificates for the children. In addition, our area school supervisor Mr. Kabaka, sits on the Maisha Academy Board.
The Maisha Center, the first facility of its kind in Kadiju, is the hub of activity in the village and surrounding areas. The center operates through solar power and houses the feeding program, sewing center, and computer center. We also host bible studies, youth rallies, classes, and economic empowerment activities in the center. Outside sits the bore hole which is always a busy location for drawing fresh water.
Much of the land in the village is used for farming and raising animals. Digging sand for building materials has become popular as well, leaving sand traps that fill up with water during the rainy season. Women farm the land with assistance from children and raise extended households of orphans due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result, over two-thirds of the village’s population is children. An entire generation has been lost to the ravages of disease and left the land and its people devastated.
Despite the harsh circumstances, the people contain abundant joy and love. They sing songs, dance and laugh often. Maisha has become an integral part of the community, bringing hope to the area.
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