In two weeks my parents are going to Kenya to help start a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Their hope is to eventually create a farm where the recovering addicts and alcoholics from the Nairobi slums can learn how to grow their own crops.
I’ve been put in charge of researching slum life in Kenya, and it’s been heartbreaking to sift through photos of children sniffing glue or playing in rivers of sewage. But while clicking through youtube news clips, I stumbled upon an uplifting documentary about a ‘women only’ tribe in Northern Kenya.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s, hundreds of women were raped by British soldiers who were training on a nearby military base. The women were blamed for their rapes and banished them from their homes. 15 of these women then decided to ban together and form their own village. And what started out as a means for survival, turned into a safe haven for victims of rape and domestic violence. Thanks to the women’s resourceful, resilient nature and the ensuing media attention, the village has thrived. They’ve built a school and created a profitable jewelry-making business. Tourists from the neighboring safari park come to tour the village, buy necklaces or even camp along side the women.
Meanwhile, the men have been left to fend for themselves. And without the women to cook and clean for them, they’re struggling to survive. Their roofs are thatched with garbage and their livestock are dwindling. They’re angry at their ex-wives, and bitter and jealous of the women’s success.
What’s wonderful is that other ‘women only’ tribes have begun to spring up in other areas of Kenya, too. Women are going on strike, so to speak. They’re speaking out against female circumsicision and domestic violence and have even filed lawsuits against their rapists.
There’s an excellent 20 minute documentary that I believe originally aired on Dateline. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me embed this video into this site but if you click on this link, you can watch it on youtube. It’s entitled “Kenya – Where Women Rule”.
Here’s a seven minute clip from a french documentary, just to give you an idea.
For more information on their cause, you can visit their website:
I’m going to email their organization right now to see if there’s anything I can do to help. Even if it’s only to donate a little money, I’d love to support them in any way I can.