New Wheels At Nipe Tumaini

I got to travel to Nipe Tumaini Children’s Home in October with the Lahash Media Team. We started in Nairobi, Kenya – a large city with busy but fairly well-maintained roads. Outside the city, the roads were still quite good and much less congested. Then, we started the long descent into the famous Rift Valley. Paved road, two lanes, and the lane closest to the valley itself feels like it’s just a little too close to the edge. (Especially when you see a large truck that rolled off at some point…) The valley stretches as far as you can see, very beautiful and very… rural. We stopped to buy water in the little town of Mai Mahiu. At that point, the road was still paved. But not for long.

For the last leg of the trip, we took a hard left turn off the paved road and headed into the bush. Edwin, the Lahash East Africa Director, was driving the team in his 4WD vehicle, and the 4WD feature was critical. The deeply rutted dirt paths had no rhyme or reason to them that I could figure out. Directions are discerned by landmarks. Like trees. Or clearings. And Edwin discerned correctly, because after about 45 minutes of slow going, we arrived on Nipe Tumaini’s ten-acre property. Years of effort to clear the bush and develop the land has paid off. Getting there is a bit of an undertaking, but it was well worth it to visit this little piece of heaven nestled deep in the Rift Valley.

Through last year’s Lahash Christmas Giving Guide, funds were donated for Nipe Tumaini to receive a motorcycle. After that drive from Nairobi, I understood why.

Out in the rural areas where roads are not well-developed, motorcycles are a much more fuel efficient and nimble way to navigate the terrain. Nipe Tumaini’s location is beautiful, and with the farm and school right there on the 10 acres, they are fairly self-contained. But it is still necessary for someone to leave the property frequently for errands to Mai Mahiu or larger towns. To operate the children’s home safely and efficiently, they need their own transportation. They had recently been able to acquire one 4WD vehicle, and while we were there visiting, the motorcycle arrived.

Thanks to the generosity of last year’s donors, the shiny new bike made its way to the property, and the Media Team (along with some very excited kids) got to witness its first rides.

Several children from the surrounding villages attend Nipe Tumaini Academy, arriving with a parent by motorbike. For Nipe Tumaini kids like Melanie, it’s just a short, straight walk to one edge of their own property. They can see their school easily from their house. But that didn’t stop Melanie from wanting “a ride to school” like her friends.

As fun as it was to witness this Christmas gift’s engine roar to life for short rides around the property, it makes me much happier to know that the Nipe Tumaini family has secure transportation options. Whether it is used for routine supply runs and errands, or for time-sensitive emergencies, that motorbike is yet another step toward sustainability for this special home and all who live there.

Motorcycles and bicycles will greatly benefit many of our partners and the families they serve, across various partnerships. If you would like to donate funds toward these transportation needs, you can do so at lahash.org/christmas.
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Story by Jen Johnson
Photography by Will Campbell