From the Ocean to the Highway:
A Walk through Kimokouwa Village
Our walk today begins at the foothills of Mt. Longido, beside the ‘ocean’. The ocean is a dam created to reserve water from a spring that flows from the mountain. For years, women have walked here to get water and given the drought this year, it is, indeed, a surprise to see any water in the ‘ocean’ at all.
We walk up the main road to Kimikouwa, heading towards the village office and the school. As we walk, Christina tells me that a graduate of TEMBO is now working in the village office and so we head there first. Sitting behind the desk is not one, but two TEMBO graduates. What a fabulous surprise. It is always great to meet the girls (who have now become women!) and hear their stories. Ndilai and Sinyati recently completed college with a Diploma in Community Development. Sinyati is currently the Village Executive Officer, while Ndilai is the Secretary. They proudly talk about their job duties that seem to cover just about all village matters. And the Chairperson sitting beside them beams. He too is proud to have two educated women from Kimokouwa now working in the office.
Back on track, we head to the Primary School to join Mary TEMBO for her first lesson with the Sara and Juma Club this year, while Leah from the Learning Centre is introducing her English lessons to Class 4. As we take a moment to look around the school, one can see development – a new kitchen and cement blocks for building more classrooms.
Soon we must head off if we want to make it to the women’s literacy program on time. As we walk, children catch up with us and become our ‘assistant guides.’ A few mamas call out to us and we catch glimpses of children climbing trees.
And then we see a batch of colour: yellow, red, blue, green and we know we have found the women’s group. The lesson is under way and Leah is working with the women on their alphabet. The group started a year ago and already many of the mamas can copy the letters of the alphabet. Mary follows with a life skills lesson that has the women totally engaged with intermittent bursts of laughter.
The lesson is over and as we head off to finish our walk, we see two children pushing jugs of water to home. The women from the literacy group start to follow behind knowing that they have many domestic duties to complete before the sun goes down. And as we reach the highway – and complete our 7 km walk – we take one last look at the mountain. What a view.