Jambo dear Pamoja-Friends,
Welcome to the 3rd Pamoja Africa newsletter this year. Before I head back to Kenya myself in November, I would like to invite you today on a little trip to Maua Villa. Thanks to your support, we made significant progress over the last frew weeks and I am thrilled to share the exciting updates with you.
I would like to start with an increadible story from Germany, more precisely from Munich. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for a donation of EUR 3,600 we received from the Förderverein der Grundschule am Bayernplatz. The students enthusiastically gathered donations during their charity run to cover the school fees for our children. It fills me with joy and emotion when children, at such a young age, show such care for their peers. A special thank to Betti, who consistently aids us with our financial planning, and Felix, who recommended Pamoja Africa e. V. as the beneficiary for the donations. 🙏🏽
The issue of school is gaining ever more importance in Maua Villa. Now that our community house is fully funded (YEAH!), ensuring the best possible education for our kids is our next major goal. As I’ve mentioned earlier, three of our children now attend secondary school. My heartfelt desire is to be able to offer this opportunity to all our children. Gathering all the donations won’t be easy, but 10 years ago, I also could not have imagined where we are today with Pamoja Africa.
If you wish to assist in funding our children’s school fees, we would be delighted to receive your donation. Please indicate “School Fees” as the designated purpose so we can allocate your contribution correctly. The precise school costs will only be determined once we know which child will attend which school. Presently, we are budgeting an average of 900 € per child per year. This sum encompasses not just the school fees but also all the expenses related to the boarding school, such as accommodation, meals, uniforms, educational materials, school outings, transportation, and more. For the year 2024, we are looking at a total of 6,300 €, of which we have already collected 5,600 €, in part thanks to the Dr. Heinrich Lüdeke Foundation.
The new community house will play a central role in the education of our kids. As the new focal point in Maua Villa, it aims to provide our primary school students a productive and inspiring learning environmen.It will also serve as a communal gathering spot for means, celebrations and play. Construction is progressing well, and we are approaching completion in leaps and bounds. Check out the photos. The interior work is almost done and the sisal trunks that cover our roof from the inside create a unique ambiance upon entering. Moreover, in the meantime, the lamps and sockets have also been installed.
In the photos you can also see the large, black water tank that has found its perfect place. It’s astounding - the precision with which our architects Bea and Alan have worked here. 🙌 The welder is currently preparing the doors and I have a feeling that the large sliding door could have one or two surprises in store for us. Then, all we really have to do is plaster the interior walls, which we plan to do when I’m back on site from mid-November.
After that, we still have to decide on a colour to plaster the floor and walls with. In any case, we’ve already done a colour test. Which colour do you like best?
In the past three months, not only have we made great progress in the community centre. Thanks to our farm manager and the help of our kids, we’ve also achieved much on our farm. On one hand, the farm supplies us with fresh and healthy food, but we also want to sell the harvest for additional income. This year, for instance, we harvested spinach, courgettes, lettuce, various types of cabbage, beetroot and onions. There is also lemongrass, mint, thyme, ginger and garlic - not just for cooking, but also for the medicine cabinet.
While the last spinach leaf has not been plucked yet, we are already preparing for the next harvest. Our goal is to establish a cycle in which there is always something to harvest. We will start again with the beginning of the coming rainy season with planting tomatoes, beetroot, aubergines, lettuce, kale, spinach and Managu. Gradually, we will add varieties like yellow and purple carrots, onions and leeks. And oregano, sage and lavender will also soon grow with us and provide a great variety in our garden.
We already have a great variety of trees in Maua Villa: mangoes, rosewood, avocado, leucaena, croton, guava, moringa, papaya, neem, tamarind, mukengeta, lemon, eucalyptus, pomegranate, mulberry, cedrach tree, red flame and jatropha. Unless you happen to be a gardener or biologist, at least half of these species probably don’t mean much to you. But I think the diversity alone is fantastic.
Another exciting addition is our small azolla pond. Azolla are 0.5 to 15 centimetre tall herbaceous plants that float on the surface and can overgrow the entire water surface. The exciting thing about these algae ferns is that they grow particularly well when you add a mixture of chicken droppings to the water. Azolla is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, which in turn makes it an excellent feed for our chickens.
Now we wait for the rainy season to start and keep our fingers crossed that we will get enough water. In all likelihood, the El Nino weather pattern will also hit us in Maua Villa, which could lead to unusually heavy rain.
I’m already looking forward to being reunited with the kids today and can’t wait to get on the plane. You will get my next update directly from Maua Villa. I would like to thank you for your continued support and trust. Your generosity and commitment are the driving force behind our success. Asanti sana!
Yours Anja with great support from Heike & Jochen