June 16, 2024

Storms, funds and puppies

Over the past few weeks, we’ve faced some challenges and experienced many wonderful moments here at Maua Villa. From heavy rains and power outages to the arrival of new animals, I want to share our life in Kenya with you again in this newsletter.


Storms, power outages, and floods

The past few weeks at Maua Villa and much of Kenya have been marked by severe weather. Intense rain led to flooding, and strong winds destroyed power lines and even entire houses in our area. Our new 10,000-liter water tank filled up within just one day – that was quite a downpour!

A power outage lasting several weeks paralyzed the entire community around us. We only really noticed it in Maua Villa when more and more villagers started coming to us to charge their smartphones. How fortunate and privileged we are to have become largely self-sufficient thanks to our solar panels. It was another moment that showed me what we have already achieved together.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the government decided to keep schools in Kenya closed, and all the children stayed with us at Maua Villa. Despite all the hardships, this was honestly a wonderful gift for us because we got to enjoy a lot of free time together. Additionally, we were able to effectively make up for the missed classes through home-schooling.







Puberty and education

We also used this time to talk with our teenagers about love and sexuality. As our children get older and more of them attend secondary school, they naturally meet many other students their age. In a cozy group setting, we took the opportunity to openly discuss these topics with our teenagers and answer their questions.


The kids had the opportunity to write down their questions beforehand on slips of paper, which we then discussed together. The most common question was actually quite simple: What is sex? The answer to that is not as straightforward as one might initially think. Meshack, Felistus, and I were able to discuss the topic from various perspectives, hopefully providing clarity and encouraging responsible behavior.


Water is running again

There is good news from our drinking water well: we have installed a new pump, and the water is flowing again! I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for the incredible support and your donations. Unfortunately, the project ended up being twice as expensive as we initially expected.

The old pump could not be repaired, so we had to get a new one. Along with the new pump came a new motor, and we also had to make changes to the power supply, which was likely the cause of the old pump’s failure. This required additional solar panels, which in turn necessitated enlarging the metal structure that holds the panels. Additionally, all the wiring had to be replaced.

Although it turned out to be much more work than we initially anticipated, everything is now fixed, and our water kiosk is running smoothly again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Demonstration farm, a termination and BMZ funding

There’s good and bad news from the Maua Villa Farm. The demonstration farm is fully funded, but Ben, our farm manager, has decided to pursue new projects. The parting was amicable, with Ben emphasizing how much he enjoyed being part of the Maua Villa family and that he’s not one to give up easily. We must acknowledge that the position of farm manager at Maua Villa is obviously quite challenging, as Ben is not the first manager to leave.

Building a permaculture farm under our conditions is truly no easy task. Constant irrigation, creating new beds, and planting new crops are just part of the job. There’s also a lot of organization and planning for the cultivation areas, including the new agroforestry demonstration farm. Although Ben had strong support from Kioli with the manual labor, it seems that, as a theorist, the “hands-on” work was too much for him.

To achieve our ambitious permaculture goals, we’ve decided to change our strategy. Meshack, Felistus, and I will now handle the organizational and planning aspects of the work. Kioli will carry out the farm work together with our new assistant, Katwelle. Kioli will be further trained in permaculture through our own training program. Additionally, we are now looking for a permaculture specialist to support us with expertise in planning and implementation, who is also willing to work hands-on on the farm.

As mentioned, we were able to fully fund our demonstration farm thanks to your generous donations. We now want to move into the second phase of our project and host a 14-day permaculture workshop at Maua Villa. This will require additional financial resources. We plan to apply for funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

You can imagine that a bit of paperwork is needed for us to even apply for these funds. The first step has been taken, and Pamoja Africa e. V. is currently undergoing a sponsor assessment by the Schmitz Foundation. For us, being recognized as a sponsor, which would allow us to submit project applications, is a huge opportunity to benefit from these funds in the future. Additionally, we continue to collect donations through our website, as more equity positively impacts our eligibility. 👉 Projekt: Permakultur Teil 2






Permaculture Design Course

If you’re interested in the topic of permaculture, I have a special course to recommend. It’s the Permaculture Design Course (“72-Hour Course”) organized by SONED e. V. and Hungry Cities.

The Permaculture Design Course is held under the motto “Understanding Global Connections – Changing Climate and Consumption.” Over three sessions, participants will learn, develop, and practice the fundamentals of permaculture design in a collaborative atmosphere. During the course, I will present our project at Maua Villa and share my experiences in collaborative development work. You can find all further information about the course and registration here 👉 hungry-cities.net.


Our new common house

We are currently facing a small challenge with our new common house. The house has already become the new hub of activity at Maua Villa, and there’s always something going on—even though we still haven’t plastered it. We’ve conducted various tests with different “recipes”. The color is great, but unfortunately, every time the plaster dries, large cracks appear.

I therefore reached out to our architects again, and they told me that this is quite normal, especially for interior spaces, and not really problematic. They recommend filling the cracks with a finer, more watery plaster mixture. We will follow this advice and hope to complete the work soon.



We are expanding

Expansion of our property: We successfully purchased a portion of the neighboring lot directly adjacent to us. This gives us more space for our farming, our children, and future projects. Land in Kenya is becoming increasingly expensive, so it was a good opportunity to buy the plot we had been eyeing for a long time. With this purchase, we are expanding by 1 acre (0.4 hectares or 4,047 m² ).



New Puppies

As we wrap up this edition of the Pamoja Newsletter, I want to share these photos of our adorable puppies with you. Our dog had five puppies, and they are my personal highlight and an absolute cuteness overload. We’ve already given three of the puppies to our neighbors. The interest was huge, and we hope they will have a great time in their new homes. The two remaining puppies are staying with us at Maua Villa.



I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us with donations and hands-on help in making our projects at Maua Villa a reality. With your help, we can provide our children with a loving home and a hopeful future. Pamoja – together strong! 🌻

Yours Anja with great support from Heike & Jochen


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