Update :: The Tatua Way

Report from the field by Liz Njeri – Tatua Organizer working in Ngando.

At the Ngando Launch, held on the 7th of September, the leadership team was responsible for the majority of the work. The team members organised the event, did most of the speaking for the team and managed the logistics. Natalie brought two people interested in learning about Tatua Kenya to the event and it was great to show them how the leadership team had taken responsibility to run the campaign – it wasn’t just Tatua Organizers!

The best thing was they were so committed to not offering the community stipends or pay for coming to the event. At the beginning of the campaign even the leadership team would ask for stipends from the organization but not anymore. They kept saying, “We’re doing this the Tatua Way.”  

Right now we have 239 people who have joined our movement – it’s so good to see organising in action.

 

Liz Introduces Leadership Team
Liz Introduces Leadership Team at  Ngando Launch
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Reflect :: Response to a Tragedy – Creating a Story of Us

Letter from Natalie Finstad, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tatua Kenya 

Kenya Candle

 

Dear Tatua Family,

As you might have heard, this weekend Nairobi was hit by a wave of senseless violence, the Al Shabaab terrorist group attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi’s Westlands area. The entire Tatua Kenya team is safe, thank you to all of you who have kept us in your prayers and heart.

It is clear that Kenya is responding to this tragedy with the hand of grace. The attack was very disconcerting, it’s never easy to know that violence is close to your home, however the response from Kenyans has been beautiful.  Crowds of people showed up to donate blood, women carried cooked food to the soldiers, Kenyans of all colors carried one another out of Westgate and President Kenyatta and former PM Odinga (formerly rivals) came together to hold their country.  I ask that you continue to stand with Kenya in whichever way seems right for you.

Kenneth and I were talking today about the violence and the subsequent response and Kenneth remarked that this was a beautiful “Story of  Us.” He is right, Marshall Ganz often teaches that a “Story of Us” is not powerful because of our homogeneous nature but because of our diversity. This weekend we saw Kenyans come together, disregard differences, and stand as one nation, one people, with one response. I look forward to celebrating the solidarity of Kenyans, to telling this story in the future.  Join us in hoping that we continue to stand together.

Thank you for your hearts and your hope.

Natalie

Reflect :: Leaders Emerge From Everywhere

Tatua has the gift of hosting others and offering them a glimpse of what’s going on in Kenya. Katherine Mquade Toig visited Tatua Kenya last month and kept this blog. Below are her reflections on how witnessing Tatua has given her hope about leadership.
 
Last night I met a dozen young boys, ages 8-11. They were not dissimilar from my own son and my mind quickly formed a connection to them. They came over to the car I was sitting in, knocked on my window, smiled and pulled me out of the vehicle. They enthusiastically talked to me in Swahili and I understood nothing. They huddled around me which felt foreign and fantastic at the same time.  I didn’t need language to understand their welcome and hunger for love.
 
Rose and Jacob during their coaching session.
Rose and Jacob during their coaching session.

Today, I am sitting in on a meeting with Tatua community organizers Rose Chege and Jacob Okumo and founder Natalie Finstad. The essence of Tatua’s mission is to expose the power of ground up solutions. Rose and Jacob are championing a movement to help boys, like those described above, to go to school and obtain an education. Natalie coached them and helped them to develop their plan.

 
If you could have seen Rose and Jacob you would have been taken back.  They tell me that they originally sought out Tatua because they wanted to “create change where they lived and help build their communities”. When they talked about the homeless boys they had passion in their voice a sophisticated understanding of the situation at hand.  They also felt a sense of responsibility for solving the problem.
 
 
 
I felt humbled as an outsider watching and listening. My thoughts shifted from ‘How do we help Kenyans?’ to ‘How do you support Kenyans as they help themselves?’.
 
Here is some of the language they used:
 
·      “If there is a problem in the community, we can fix it.”
·      “I mobilize things in my community.”
·      “ I have hope”
·      “How can I help shift my communities focus from receiving to giving to one another.”
 
Take away: Leaders emerge in every corner of this earth. Rose and Jacob are emerging leaders. They have a fire inside them. It’s the same fire that lives in all of us when we are filled with purpose and meaning.