Getting dirty in the name of service!

By africayogaproject
Posted in Africa Yoga Project Blog, on August 04, 2012

By the second day at the work site we had all learned the skills needed to make significant progress toward our goal. We only had a short time in the community, so we needed to make the most pf every day. Below are the reflections of both and AYP teacher and a Seva Safari participant about day two at the work site in Ugulului.


Day two at the work site was super amazing! One thing that I learned is that in order for someone to be of service you need to HUMBLE YOURSELF. I was blown away to see the Seva participants practicing in the soil and getting dirt all over their bodies. They felt so comfortable about it and worked so so hard to see the school get constructed. Seeing someone getting so dusty from mixing the mortar, hammering their finger, and their determination not to give up inspired me to work even harder towards the successful construction of this project.


We also had lots of fun both at the work site and at our camp site. We learned about each others' culture and played new games like "What time is it Mr Wolf" and "Red Rover". It was so fun and energetic.

I must admit I have never been in such an amazing group that is so open, loving, caring, supportive, kind, and so CHEERFUL. This moment I am going through is like a miracle that was created, experienced, and lived. From the bottom of my heart I thank every Seva Safari participant for the great work they are doing and in one word this is what I call "AWESOME"!


Anthony Eniem, AYP Teacher


Day 2 of our school building Seva project was fruitful.  We arrived to our work site after a grounding meditation and hearty breakfast to power us with energy for the day ahead. For me, the Swahili word ‘Umoja’ or togetherness  resonated with me.  As a collective, we built 13 desks, completed weaving the rebar and building trusses for the roof, started building frames for the windows and built up the walls six blocks high! 


What an accomplishment only after our second day of work. We all pulled together to support and teach each other the skills needed to get through this challenging labor – the AYP teachers, the Masai people, all of us Seva Safari participants and the 4 "fundis" (construction workers in Swahili). The true feeling of togetherness was in the air as the Masai women sanded desks and wove rebar - all of their beading skills must come in handy! Masai men mixed mortar, fundis joked around while teaching us Swahili words (often through translation help of the AYP teachers), and kids looked at us with excitement and intrigue.  We were all working towards a common goal despite language barriers and cultural differences.  It was a truly unique and moving experience for me.

A highlight of the afternoon was pulling out some fun yoga moves on large blue water barrels during the lunch break. Who knew handstand, crow, and wheel poses could be so fun on new props?! The AYP teachers made these appear especially effortless with their acrobatic skills.

In the late afternoon Bernard and Ann lead us through a fun yoga practice as the sun was setting. Fresh air, new yoga friends, goats frolicking around us, and a gorgeous sunset. There’s nothing better! The village children joined us in the light yoga class. Huge smiles and laughs were all around especially when we fell out of our Utkatasana chair circle... Following our class in our game time we shared some North American school games like ‘Red Rover, Red Rover’ and the newly named ‘What time is it Mr. Lion?’  It was nice to share these games from our childhood with our new Kenyan friends.


After dinner, our long, fun-filled day concluded around the fire reflecting on the accomplishments, learnings, and breakthroughs of the day. Incredibly, the feeling of community and togetherness has grown each day by learning more about ourselves, each other, and the culture around us through selfless service.  Tonight we had the unique opportunity to ask AYP teacher and Masai, Jacob, about his culture. The Q & A was one of the most educational, interesting and hilarious discussions we’ve shared together to date.  Jacob was so generous in sharing his culture with us and always had a humorous and story-like answer to each question.  A few facts I found particularly fascinating:

-Each Masai boy at the age of 17, must kill a lion to prove his manhood. He must then wait ten years before he is married.

-The Masai have polygamous relationships, partnering with many wives and producing many children. The first wife however has a say in who the following wives will be.

-The Masai, both men and women have stretched earlobes to distinguish themselves from other African tribes are adorned in beaded jewellery.

-Masai live off their cattle and goats.Their livelihood is primarily through the trade of these animals.  The women also make intricate beadwork which is sold in markets.

-As a nomadic culture the Masai move with the abundance of the land. They will often stay in a village for a few years and leave their homes to other Masai. The only things they take with them are their cattle, goats and cow hide which they use as mattresses.

Some incredible facts! What a fabulous way to end yet anther magical day.

Eric Nelson (Masai name: Maletta), Seva Safari participant


Eric, trying on Masai footwear.



The school at the end of day two!


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