Zawadisha's home base is the Hub East Africa in Nairobi, but most of our work takes place in rural communities. We've been working toward opening our first satellite office in Maungu, and on January 13, 2016, our vision became a reality. What follows is a recap of the opening ceremony through the lens of our Resilience Development Director, Emilyn Kamya.
The day, the 13th of January, was just perfect weather for the opening. Unlike normal hot and humid Maungu weather, it was slightly cloudy, providing a reprieve from the sun. The event was scheduled to start at 9 am, and the Chairladies started arriving around 8 am, and indication of the excitement over the office opening. It was a beautiful scene as more and more ladies arrived and joined the others. The Chiefs from Boguta and Marungu sent representatives, and the village elder joined in the celebration.
“If you look to my side, you would think there’s power everywhere in the village. Solar is everywhere and that is thanks to Zawadisha. There are tanks flowing with water all over as well.” - Francis Mutuku, Village Elder
The official program begun with song and prayer, and we quickly commenced into speeches by the various representatives-- Zawadisha Coordinators Mama Mercy and Monica, our Resilience Director Emilyn, and our Opportunity & Empowerment Director Cindy.
“We have come from far. We have always had issues with water, but as I look around, there is no one in this community without a water tank. This year is the year for making things happen, and it begins with the opening of the office. Let us move forward only from here. Let us now use the resources that we have gotten from Zawadisha, such as water tanks, to fix our environment. Let us use the water from our tanks to plant trees to help get our community’s environment back on track.” - Mama Mercy
The chairladies then shared what it meant to them for Zawadisha to open an office within their community. What was quite evident in all the speeches was the feeling that Zawadisha was now a reality in the minds of everyone present. It was almost as if a myth had just been debunked. And while most of our guests had been impacted by Zawadisha’s presence in some way, it wasn't until this opening that they believed Zawadisha was serious about helping the community long term. Our friends from Wildlife Works shared how amazing it was that we’d opened an office, and that this was only an indicator of bigger and greater things to come.
“We are very happy that you have actually listened to our needs and opened an office for us, in our community.” - Fenny Mambo, Chairlady
The mood then shifted to an even higher level of excitement when it was time for the ribbon cutting ceremony. We walked out of the hall towards the office in song and dance, which did not end until we had to remind everyone we needed to cut the ribbon to officially open the office! Even as Monica, Mercy and Cindy cut the ribbon, the were continuous sounds of joy. The event marked the day when Zawadisha's vision for the community finally came to fruition.