Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on August 04, 2012
July 30, 2012. The first full day on the main project site - building a three room school in Ugulului, a small Masai community in rural Kenya near Amboseli national park and home to Jacob, one of the AYP teachers. The foundation of the school had been poured before our arrival and it was now our task to start adding walls and building desks. It was a day filled with great excitement and energy, as well as lots of learning. Below are the reflections from an AYP teacher and a Seva Safari participant.
Jacob laying the cornerstone of the new school.
Today was the first say at the work site. I was very excited and at the same time confused. I was excited to start building and confused on what to do, so I started with measuring and cutting wires to build rebar supports for the school. When that was done I mingled with the Masai women who helped with putting the wires together. My best job today was putting up the walls and carrying the blocks. Everyone today worked as a team. The day ended with a yoga class that was so relaxing for my back. I am happy going to bed not too tired.
Catherine Njeri, AYP instructor
Some days in your life just have more significance than others. For me today was one of those days. When we arrived at the work site all that was there was a simple concrete slab surrounded by a few piles of raw materials. Our tools were basic hand tools, which made the tasks seem a bit daunting, but everyone’s enthusiasm for the project was absolutely amazing. I went to work building desks with a fantastic group of volunteers. What transpired over the next few hours was life changing. It had nothing to do with construction, but rather the cultural exchange that started to take place.
A group of Masai women joined us in our work. With almost no ability to communicate, these women sat down beside us and asked how to help. They sanded wood, bent rebar and hammered desks along side us. At one point I watched a friend carry a 20 foot rebar reinforcement with four Masai women behind her. It was a moment I wished I had captured in a photo, but I know deep down that image will forever be with me.
I watched with amusement as the the Masai women couldn’t wait to get their hands in our work gloves, mind you that the day before we shook some of the roughest hardest working hands I’ve ever felt. The Masai women never stopped working, handed us their children to hold openly, and showed so much trust and love for a group of strangers that my heart truly swelled with appreciation for humanity. Today was a day I will forever remember for the special place it marked on my soul.
Catherine Ambrose, Seva Safari participant