August 2017

September 5, 2017

Greetings,

As I write this letter I am sitting in a cloud of smoke here in Spokane.  Seems as though we are surrounded by fires on every side, BC, WA, ID, MT and OR.  My heart goes out to every person living in these areas as well as to all the victims of the flooding in Texas and Mexico as well.  So much pain, so much suffering in every corner of the world.

In my last letter, we were anticipating the elections in Kenya and praying that there would be no violence.  The opponent lost and challenged the loss, taking it to the supreme court.  On Friday last week, it was ruled that there would be another election within 60 days.  It is my understanding that it is now scheduled for October 16, 2017.  That is the same week I planned to fly to Kenya.  Please pray that there will be no violence, as tensions are high right now, praying that God will intervene and there may be peace after the new elections.

Amidst all the pain and suffering in the world, there is always a bright spot too, and that is what I would like to share with you today.  I would like to introduce to you, two young women, living half a world away from each other, but drawn together as well, as their lives begin to intertwine.

EUNICE:  I first heard about Eunice through my son, Richard Meharry living in Seattle, who introduced us.  Here is Eunice’s brief bio:

For years I’ve always had a passion for style and food.  While in college I realized the importance of eating healthy and developed a desire to cook healthy meals, particularly on a low budged.  I considered changing my college degree to nutrition and dietetics but decided to pursue my passion for fashion in the retail industry.”

“A turning point for me came three years ago, during my first year in the corporate fashion world when I read a touching article on Business of Fashion.  The article told an amazing story of a Lebanese woman who was designing handbags to provide underprivileged women with work and donating a portion of her sales proceeds to assist them and their families.  The minute I finished reading the article I said a prayer and asked God to give me an opportunity to use my fashion skills toward a similar cause.”

“Fast forward to 2017, my cousin Melissa and I decided to start “Le Foodie”, a foodie fashion t-shirt line where we could combine the best of both worlds.  The ideas stumbled upon us, but for me it was the perfect opportunity to combine my love for fashion, food and philanthropy.” 

“The ‘food tee’ is our opportunity to give back.  Many families in the United States and around the world don’t have the resources to eat and prepare healthy meals.  Therefore, by partnering with various organizations, Le Foodie will give 10% of profits from each t-shirt to help struggling families gain access to skills and nutritionally balanced meals.”

TOMONIK:  Tomonik came to Maasai Development Project in 2010.  She is the 5th born of nine children.  Tomonik is the only child to have any formal education.  Tomonik’s father did not want her to go to school, but her mother insisted.  However, because of lack of school fees, Tomonik was sent home and it was decided that that she should be circumcised and forced into an early marriage so they could collect the dowry.  Maasai Development Project was able to take her in for safety, also allowing her to continue her education. 

In November of 2016, Tomonik graduated from high school.  Because the intake for college would not be until September of 2017, Tomonik wanted something to keep her busy.  She began baking bread in the coal burning oven that MDP has at the Centre.  She soon perfected her bread baking skills and began selling her bread at the market and in the village.  Tomonik’s bread has gained popularity and is in constant demand.  Each morning, she gets up and in one corner of the dormitory she has a table set up beside the oven where she sets her bread that she will sell later that day.  In March of 2017, I spoke with Tomonik and asked her to write up a budget and begin keeping track of her income and expenses, which she did right away.  In so doing, she has found her passion, she loves the business of baking.  Her dream? To open a bakery!

Eunice has offered to design a t-shirt specifically for raising money to help Tomonik set up, build and manage the MDPEC Bakery.  Eunice is excited to be helping Tomonik realize her dream with the Bakery and has offered to donate 10% of the sale of each t-shirt and not just 10% of the profit.  Eunice is now in the process of designing the t-shirt and will be taking pre-orders soon.  Tomonik, as of today, is going to college for cookery and nutrition course.

Two entrepreneurs, both with dreams and both with a heart for giving back.  Here is how you can support both Tomonik and Eunice by becoming a part of this project.  By the 1st of October we will post an exclusive Le Foodie, fashion t-shirt design for your viewing at which time you will want to pre-order your t-shirt for the food lovers in your life, as Christmas gifts, for birthdays and for those “just because” occasions.  This is truly a gift that will keep on giving.  Your purchases will help Eunice in her new business, who will in turn help Tomonik in her new business in Kenya, who in turn will build up a bakery and give opportunities to others in her community.  Watch for updates on our website at www.4mdp.org.

All the best!

Jan Latsha
Founder/Director
Maasai Development Project

Jan Latsha