Stories From Kenya

You Can Survive 3 Weeks without Food but Only 3 Days without Water

Every day, for much of the day, Tabitha ene Sekento is walking. She walks up to eight hours a day to make sure her family of 5 has the 5 gallons it needs each day to survive. Walking takes up her morning and much of her afternoon before she arrives home to cook corn flour in a pot with her precious cargo of water to make the family’s primary meal for the day. Water gets poured into plastic basins used to wash clothes once a week and is sometimes used to make sure her husband can bathe himself. Tomorrow, she’ll be walking again to carry the 40lbs of water that ensures life for her family. Her daughter may join her soon, she is of school age, but her labor is needed more to the family than her education.


A Child Bride’s Dream – A Wealthy Husband with Many Cattle

Dorcus ene Olkeri is 12 years old and is about to become a woman. She will be circumcised soon so that she will be eligible for marriage. Her father sees her potential, but knows that he could never afford to send her to high school, and a neighbor has offered to marry her paying a dowry of a significant number of cattle. This neighbor is a good man, does not beat his wives and has many cattle. The Olkeri family will all benefit from Dorcus’ union.   Even Dorcus can find some hope in being married to a wealthy man. Perhaps her daughters will have a different future.

Women Helping Women – A Blessing in Any Language

Mary ene Kapila holds a different type of hope. At the age of 60, something new is stirring her heart. She no longer has to walk hours upon hours each day, a shallow well nearby means she’s home with water by mid-morning. Her husband, now dead, never trusted her with cattle, but now she is learning how to manage a herd with a group of women just like her. She wonders what she might do with a little more food, a little more money, and growing herd of cattle. Maybe she’ll buy a tin roof for her home, to keep out the driving wind and rains. Maybe she’ll start a small business selling produce or soap, or tea to her neighbors and friends. Or maybe, she’ll go to a party held for one of the local girls raising money to go to school. She’ll stand in line as everybody gives what little they have, one dollar or fifty cents of savings. When it’s her turn she’ll reach into her purse and give that young girl ten, twenty, or fifty dollars, and know that the blessing she has received will continue on for generations.

Our Goal – Multigenerational Transformation

Water is Life Kenya’s Executive Director, Joyce Tannian, lives with these women 10 months out of each year. When asked why she gave up her corporate job in New York City to travel over 7,000 miles to this distant land, she says “The tremendous impact you have on people’s quality of life if you just add water is amazing … It’s in the midst of these women, these precious lives, that Water is Life Kenya works. We walk with them, step by step, day by day, encouraging women, supporting women, training women to transform their story to one filled with opportunity and potential… a story and a legacy that will last for generations!”