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.


Tatua Alumni :: Thoughts from Emma Wambui

Emma Wambui was a member of the 2010 Leadership Team. She recently was asked to share about her take on community development and wrote the following. 

My name is Emma Muthoni. I am a 24 year old Kenyan born resident so I have enjoyed the perks and suffered the consequences of having a developing country as my motherland all my life. In November 2010, I met Natalie Finstad, an American born citizen who had just moved to Nairobi and was intent on bringing change to the poverty stricken slums of the Kenyan capital. Natalie was not only an inspiring leader (which she continues to be) but she also became a good friend and a great teacher. It was then that I became one of the eleven initial founders of Be the Change Kenya (BTCKE) in which Natalie was the director. After undergoing a Leadership Training developed by Marshall Ganz (Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government), I was well equipped to handle the tasks ahead of me.

My position in the organization was that of a Local Community Liaison and my responsibilities included but were not limited to organizing speaking opportunities for the organization,recruiting of volunteers for the organization and mobilizing donations. Working with such a young organization was both taxing and rewarding. I got to learn new things about my country and the world as well. I realised that it was possible for the world to sustain itself. That the resources needed for poverty eradication were available and all we needed was to get an efficient way to distribute these resources. Even though I am no longer engaged with the daily activities of BTCKE, which has now changed its name to Tatua Kenya, this is a gratifying experience I have carried with me since. It has not only made me a wiser human being but I am also more aware of the world around and beyond me.