In this photo she is making mandazi, a type of free-form doughnut, hoping to sell breakfast to folks headed to school or work.
In the village in Africa where I visited people, women especially, seemed to often be identified as somebody’s parent. I don’t believe I ever heard this woman’s name. She was the single mother of one of the people we helped with scholarships. Her son, Felix, was starting university about the time this photo was taken. We were helping that family because, in addition to her being a single mother, her house had been burned to the ground a few years earlier, leaving her with nothing.
A critical item in construction is water. The nearest well to this school project was about a kilometer away. The women of the village, in some cases mothers of the students of the school, earned a very small amount of extra money by carrying water. The cistern in the background was for rainwater, suitable for drinking, a commodity too valuable to use to make mortar.
Notice that this woman is using a khanga as a carrying strap for the jerrycan, it is softer than rope and most women have one with them, so it is readily available.
This man was building a school. I sometimes wondered how much he appreciated the help. Every time I saw him he was very focused on his work. Keeping every thing level was a challenge since the bricks were all donated by different families and they weren’t uniform.
This is Mr. Kithusi. He lives in Mulundi, Kenya, a few miles from the market town of Kitui.
Here he is walking in the courtyard of his compound. My son and I stayed with him and his family on two trips to the village in 2011 and 2012. My son also lived with the family for three months when he graduated college, teaching at a near-by secondary school.
Don’t let the rust fool you, this is a relatively wealthy family and the compound is quite well kept. They have quite a bit of farmland and own a flock of goats and a milk cow.
Khanga, lesos are what they are called in other places, are an important part of Kenyan attire. I have a book of 100 uses for a khanga. Everything from a simple wrap around skirt to improvised baby carrier.
When Mrs. Kithusi came to the USA to visit her daughter, she gave her khanga (leso) to the woman who was going to milk the cow while she was away, so it would feel comfortable with her.
When I went on a safari several years ago some folks in my group were disappointed that we didn’t experience a kill. I was happy enough that we didn’t, especially since it seemed to be a time of year with lots of babies.
One of the awesome, actually awesome, things about my trip to Masai Mara several years ago was that our little safari group saw so many lions that we didn’t get excited about them anymore. Looking back, I wonder how I could ever have gotten to that point since I was only there three days!