A year ago this month, we began a seven-hour journey from our old home in Longido to our new home near Karatu. More than 50 girls, 14 adults, six cows, 70 mattresses and 30 bunkbeds travelled rutted, muddy roads and steep mountain passes to temporary quarters in a rented hotel a mile away from our permanent site.
Our dream was to build an ecoVillage for Maasai Girls Rescue Center on 15 acres of land we bought near Tanzania’s scenic national parks and tourist destinations, such as the Ngorongoro Crater.
The dream is big: cultivating an ecoFarm to feed us; building homes to shelter the girls; constructing a vocational training center to teach the girls how to earn a living; and creating a lodge for international tourists who pay fees to make the entire operation self-sustaining.
In only 12 months, we are well on our way!
We are grateful to our generous donors, welcoming community, dedicated staff, and local government and school officials for helping us achieve so much in such a short time. With continued support, we are confident we will realize our dream.
The ecoFarm is thriving
Where there was once grassland there is now a barn for livestock, fields with vegetables and fruit trees, a hydroponic fodder system to feed the cows, a water tower, a boiler for pasteurizing milk and a biogas system to provide fuel.
The three-acre farm cost $80,000 to build. Annual operating costs are $10,000. The market value of the farm’s production is more than $40,000 a year — an enormous accomplishment. We produce all our own protein and vegetables but continue to buy grain because it is more economical.
Girls who came to us malnourished and sick now have milk, protein, fruits and vegetables every day. They love citrus, and vitamin C works its magic! Some of the girls help out at the farm tending animals and crops. Their basic needs of food and shelter have been met.
The people who sustain us
Where would we be without our people?
Elisante Loi Laizer, MGRC’s on-site manager, is the man who makes things happen.
I first met Elisante in 2016 when he was managing a hotel in Arusha where I used to stay on business. He told me about the best places to get supplies and services. Over time, Elisante became a trusted and knowledgeable adviser, helping me navigate complex government systems and build relationships with local officials and schools. Elisante and his family became committed to our mission and agreed to come with us to Karatu. Nuruel, his wife and a school tutor, is a role model for our girls. Elisante can do just about everything. And does.
MGRC also has received overwhelming community support at our new home.
The government has agreed to build a three-kilometer road from town to the ecoVillage site. This is huge. The current road is more of a rutted path that is impassable on a rainy day. Having a nice road will allow us to bring people to our facility. (Needless to say, the neighbors are happy, too!)
Our first annual Community Thanks celebration was held Dec. 18 at the ecoVillage. More than 200 people gathered under tents to share food and listen to testimonials from girls and family members about the impact MGRC has made on their lives. About 70 attendees were family members of the girls, grateful and happy to see how the children are growing up.
Our appreciation to you
Support for MGRC extends beyond borders.
People from around the world give their time and money to our organization, which is run by two all-volunteer boards in the United States and Tanzania and many other volunteers.
Our December holiday capital campaign to build a 12-acre masonry fence surpassed our $45,000 goal. Construction is underway on the project to keep the girls safe.
Next comes building the multipurpose building to provide infrastructure, including vocational training and a dining hall and kitchen for meals. After that we start work on five homes for the girls.
We are excited to see what 2022 will bring!
The transformation so far is truly miraculous.