The boy was running through a dry riverbed as fast as he could. He was chasing a cow, one of the typical Masai cows you see in Africa all the time. You could see how desperate he was. He was crying and he was covered in dirt, because he had fallen a couple times already when he had jumped to catch the leg of the cow just missing it by inches. It was really hard to run in the sandy riverbed. For every three steps forward one would sink back a step. But even though the boy had already run hundreds of feet as fast as he could he would not give up.
The boy was fourteen and he was not just running for the cow but for his life. His father was a pastor who also tried to sell tree seedlings at the market, because he believed in the importance of trees. But the money he made was barely enough and he hadn't been able to pay the school fees for his son lately. So the boy had been send home. His father was really sorry and he knew that a good education was the only way for his children to have a better life and for the country to move forward. So he decided together with his wife to sell the one cow they owned to raise money for the school fees. Therefor the next day the boy was send to walk with the cow to the marked which was 10 miles away. When he had already nearly reached his destination the cow had run away and now he was chasing after it, running not only for the cow, but for his education, his future, his life.
The boy finally managed to grab the cow. He was completely exhausted. With one hand he was holding the cows leg, with the other he had grabbed on to the root of a tree so the cow wouldn't just drag him away. After a while some women came by and helped. At last the boy was able to get the rope back around the cows neck and get her safely to the market, where he sold her for a good price. But the experience got him thinking. He had realized that some of his classmates hadn't been coming to school anymore, probably their parents hadn't been able to pay the fees and were not so lucky to own a cow they could sell. From that moment on he knew that he wanted to make a difference with his life. He prayed that he would become an agent of change and move his country forward towards a better future, where all children could go to school, people could make a sustainable living and the dry riverbeds would be filled with water again and flow through a green landscape.
The boy's name was Isaac Kalua, who grew up to become the founder of the 'Green Africa Foundation' which is aiming to establish 'Green Villages' which aim to be a implement the following three practices and virtues:
- Treating people kindly through upholding ethics and training on life skills.
- Promoting good health, peace within communities and creating sustainable livelihoods.
- Conserving the environment in a sustainable way, focusing on the areas of water, soil, air and energy.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the first 'Green Center' together with a South African architect and Dr. Kalua himself. The center is located near the hometown of Dr. Kalua Kitui. We could see demonstrations of several 'green' activities and had some very interesting conversations. Since the 'Green Village' concept is well established, we want to partner with the 'Green Africa Foundation' with the goal of making a 'Green Center' at the Omondi farm and working towards the establishment of Got Osimbo as a 'Green Village'.
For more photos of my visit in Kitui have a look at Flickr.