December 14, 2023

Permaculture, Community House and X-Mas

Jambo dear Pamoja-Friends,

I’m thrilled to share with you the fourth and final newsletter of the year, right from Maua Villa. Since the end of November, I’ve been back in Kenya, and the overwhelming feeling of being back here still hasn’t worn off. Now that I’m back at Maua Villa, I’m excited to give you a glimpse of my initial impressions. Before I forget, a big thank you to everyone who joined us for the fantastic member’s meeting. It was a blast sharing not only the necessary organizational details but also the progress and successes at Maua Villa. Special thanks to Heike and Thomas, who will continue in their roles as chairperson and treasurer. If you’re interested in participating in the next member’s meeting, you can find the membership application here.


But let’s get back to Kenya. Thanks to the abundant rainy season this year, nature is showing off its most vibrant shades of green. Just like the buds and blooms in our garden, my heart also bloomed during my first walk through Maua Villa. I noticed many small, loving changes – a small herb garden has sprung up around the house where the male staff lives. The water tank, whose opening used to stretch in the wrong direction, has been turned. The children, on their own initiative, created small beds where they’re growing plants. Even Kioli (Farm & Caretaker), not particularly known for planning ahead, cleared the entrance of thorny bushes a few days before I arrived. These may be small things, but to me, they reflect a deep appreciation for Maua Villa. You can’t imagine how happy I am to see that our work is bearing fruit. 🌿

Maua Villa Farm 🌱

This brings me to the topic of Maua Villa Farm. I’ve talked about our permaculture garden numerous times, which provides us with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and useful plants. In 2024, we plan to establish a demonstration farm for various agroforestry systems. For instance, a syntropic agroforest mimics the natural succession of nature, involving the return of animals, plants, and fungi to a disrupted ecosystem. It relies on cumulative life processes to restore the fertility of ecosystems. An ecosystem provides us with food, fibers, oils, and building and firewood. Additionally, it purifies air and water, enhances biodiversity, and revitalizes the soil. Collectively, these systems are much more resilient to droughts, floods, winds, and wildfires than monocultures. We believe it’s crucial to showcase and leverage these wonderful properties in demonstration projects as a key element against the crises of our time. Through the demonstration farm, we aim to provide access to essential resources and create a learning space for our children and the villagers. Moreover, we are laying the groundwork for exchange and networking with other permaculture projects. An important goal is to train multipliers who can independently plant systems and organize educational initiatives.

In collaboration with the Food Forest Network - Sarsarale e.V. and Hungry Cities Permaculture, we are currently developing a concept on how to contribute to education for sustainable development in Kenya. Sarsarale e.V. is a non-profit organization that has been successfully establishing and supporting climate and environmental protection projects in the global South for 15 years. Hungry Cities Permaculture is a collective of permaculture designers and educators from Berlin, Potsdam, and Brandenburg.

To achieve this, we will be applying for grants from foundations to cover the costs of conducting a certified permaculture design course and a networking exchange for the permaculture scene in Kenya. Additionally, we need funds to establish the demonstration farm, the so-called Food Forest, in Maua Villa. We estimate a funding requirement of €3,000. You can find a brand-new donation form for this on our website.



School holidays in Kenya

In the heart of Maua Villa, surrounded by what will hopefully become an even more beautiful garden, stands our almost completed common house. The finishing touches are still pending, but life has already moved in. The Maua Villa kids have already discovered the new space and love the paved outdoor area, ensuring they no longer have to play on dusty ground. Since the children have school holidays until early January, private lessons for the older kids are already taking place inside, while the younger ones are taught by Teacher Victor in the previously used room. I am pleased that Mwau, Njenga, and Mutoko are also around. As you may know, the three already attend (Junior) Secondary School, which means they live at the school and only stay with us in Maua Villa during the holidays. As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, five more kids will attend Junior Secondary School starting in January. The Primary School final exams are over, and now we eagerly await the results, which will determine the Secondary School the children can attend. While we all keep our fingers crossed, I am thrilled that thanks to many donations, we have already collected enough money to enable our then eight children to attend Secondary School. However, Secondary School also means that the kids, at least during the school term, reside at school, and during this time, we have available beds in Maua Villa. In the coming weeks, I will discuss in detail with Felistus and Meshack how this transition will affect the admission of more children and the Maua Villa sponsorships. You will learn more about this in the next newsletter.



Welcome to the Pamoja-Family, Morgan

One of these available spots is for Morgan, a seven-year-old boy whose single mother passed away in the year of his birth. His grandmother was overwhelmed with the care of him and his four siblings, leading an aunt to want to take care of the five children. Unfortunately, Morgan and his siblings were mistreated by his uncle and cousin because they found the burden of caring for the five orphans too great. In despair, three of the siblings ran away, leaving Morgan and his sister behind. In collaboration with the children’s department, it was decided that the children could not continue to stay with the family. While Morgan’s sister is placed in another children’s home, we are pleased to offer Morgan a safe and loving home in Maua Villa.


Christmas in Maua Villa

I am already looking forward to celebrating a peaceful and cozy Christmas with Morgan and all the other residents of Maua Villa, to which we will, of course, invite the families of the kids. It has almost become a tradition for the Maua Villa kids to receive new clothes at Christmas. Second-hand clothing is great, but it’s just a fantastic feeling to experience a new shirt or dress on the skin. Additionally, I want to organize some bicycles for the children. If you would like to support our Christmas celebration with your donation, you would bring great joy to the entire Maua Villa family. You can find our donation form here.

Sending you my warmest greetings from Maua Villa, and I want to express my gratitude for your tremendous support, as well as that of all the other supporters. You can already look forward to the next newsletter, featuring pictures of the completed common house and, of course, the chosen wall color.

Yours Anja with great support from Heike & Jochen


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