If you ever wondered how much a life can be transformed with loving intervention by caring strangers, consider the remarkable journey of Momoi.
Five years ago, Momoi was 12, living with her family in the African bush, sleeping outside in a makeshift hut of sticks, hidden by day from government authorities searching for children who were not in school. Her father saw no benefit in school for his daughter or for him. Her future had already been sealed with a dowry payment of livestock to a man seeking a child bride to bear children.
Rick Morro heard about Momoi and approached her father with a proposal to take her to Maasai Girls Rescue Center, which Morro founded and oversees. Her father agreed.
Today Momoi is a shining light at the center, a leader. Despite her lack of education, and speaking only her native Maa, she quickly progressed through several grade levels and is at the top of her class. She speaks Swahili and English. She has learned life skills like how to cook spaghetti, chili, and rice with meat and vegetables. And how to clean up.
“I have learned how to take care of myself, Momoi said. My life has changed a lot. I was living poor. Now I get the chance to own my own business.”
On the cusp of turning 18, Momoi dreams of learning how to run a bakery or a hair salon. Maasai girls and women typically shave their heads for cleanliness, but some aspire to grow “big hair” and style it.
Maasai Girls Rescue Center (MGRC) wants to give girls like Momoi options for how to make a living and become financially independent. It’s the final transition from traditional Maasai culture to modern-day life.
The new center will teach girls skills such as baking, sewing, hair styling and beadwork.
“We’ll also teach them how to run a business, with math, marketing and management skills,” Morro said.
The new structure is part of a four-building multi-purpose complex at MGRC in Karatu, Tanzania.
Momoi said she hopes volunteers with expertise in various trades and professions will visit MGRC to teach the girls. Like most teenagers, Momoi isn’t sure of the path she will pursue in life. But she is excited to become exposed to a world of possibilities she never knew existed.