The charter flight for our long term partners RedTribe, brought visitors the opening of a new building for RedTribe Beadwork. The visitors included friend and mentor of RedTribe missionaries Hennie and Becca Marais, a man passionate about their work and a Maasai himself: the Anglican Archbishop of Kenya the Most Reverend Dr Jackson Ole Sapit.
Becca Marais receives traditional gifts of appreciation from the Maasai community of Olorte
RedTribe missionary Becca Marais has been utilising her creativity and artistic talents to work with Maasai widows, who are amongst the poorest and most marginalised in society. RedTribe Beadwork started in the back room of the Marais’ home, employing just one lady, Koko, to make jewellery designed by Becca and based on the kind of ornaments the Maasai traditionally wear.
Becca with Koko, a Maasai widow who was the first employee of the beadwork project.
Seven and a half years later, the project is a source of livelihood for over 20 women and is also managed by local community member Pelua Ole Siloma. Having outgrown its small beginnings, the ministry was in need of more space, and so it was agreed with the local community that an area of land set aside for church use could be made available for the construction of a purpose-built home for the work.
Space to grow
The official opening and dedication of the new building was what brought the visitors for this trip. One of the visitors, Archbishop Jackson, was only too happy to pay a flying visit to his home area and to share this special time with his dear friends.
The ceremony was joyful, colourful and celebratory. The beadwork staff were honoured, and there was a time of special appreciation for Koko. Church and communities leaders spoke of their gratitude for the ministry of RedTribe; the primary school choir performed songs, and a team of Maasai warriors from the organisation S.A.F.E Maa brought a message through song about ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Archbishop Jackson led those assembled in thanking God for the amazing ways he is working amongst the Maasai.
Above right: Community members and visitors, including pilot Daniel Loewen-Rudgers, crowd at the doorway of the new building to hear the Archbishop give a blessing.
Below: Maasai warriors from the NGO SAFE Maa sang a song urging the community elders not to submit their teenage girls to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
A short flight home
Straight after the service it was time to leave; Archbishop Jackson had commitments the following day in Kabarak, some way north of Nairobi, and then trips to the USA and the UK in the following weeks. ‘I am always very busy,’ he smiles, ‘but I thank God for the work he has given me.’ It was a privilege for MAF to be able to assist him and the other visitors on this quick trip to Olorte, which would not have been possible by road as the journey time is too long. It was a joy to see how both he and the RedTribe team are loved by the community, and how God is at work in the lives of these very isolated people.
The people of Olorte were delighted to welcome delighted to welcome the Archbishop as he is local to the area. Picture shows Hennie and Archbishop Jackson.