Since we last heard from him in August, David Weeks ‘73 reports that progress has been made on his projects with the Maasai community in the district of Narok, about a three-hour drive southwest of Nairobi, Kenya. He and his partner and former student, Kikanae Punyua, have constructed a medical dispensary, the Osiligi (Hope) Medical Dispensary, for emergency care and to support the childbirth needs of women. In addition, they have almost completed the construction of a facility that will house a pharmacy, dentist’s office, vision center and lab for the making of traditional Maasai medicine to complement western medicine. They have received a $5,000 grant from the Fund for the Future of Our Children Foundation in Washington, D.C., but still need an additional $20,000 to complete construction. Following the construction, a wish list of equipment needs will be developed.
As part of his overall vision for the community, David is now in the process of working with an architect on a design for a small hospital ward to provide a residential facility for staff and patients. He has already established a MOU with the Narok Health Department which has staffed and made the Osiligi (Hope) Medical Dispensary operational. The Narok Health Department is expected to also support the pharmacy/dental/vision center and the hospital ward, once completed.
When the three medical facilities are complete, David hopes to see a community center constructed to support traditional Maasai song and dance school competitions and presentations to tourists, to house artifacts from their proud past and to provide a display and marketing room for the beaded handicrafts of the women. He is involved with the Fair Trade Movement and has been supporting the Osiligi Women’s Craft Cooperative and selling their beaded jewelry in Maryland.
Please see David’s GoFundMe site for further information about projects and the history of his association with this Maasai community in Kenya.
In addition to his work in Kenya, David is involved with the establishment of the Salih Self Development Center in Ghana. Along with another former student, Ibrahim (Anyars) Salih, David has developed a 501(c)3 to help support the Center to address the needs of the community in Kumasi. A sewing vocational training program and a computer design program have been developed to provide valuable skills to the youth in the Aboabo township. Ibrahim has also been consulting with Kumasi government officials who have wanted to provide more vocational training in the industrial arts: plumbing, electrical, carpentry, automotive and computer. Since the programs take place on rented property, David and his team have wanted to establish a centralized Salih Self Development Center. Land has been purchased on the outskirts of Kumasi, a well has been dug and plans have been drawn for the construction of the center. The design for the facility will be large enough to provide the support being sought by the Kumasi government. David also hopes to establish a MOU with the Kumasi government to assist in staffing this facility upon completion. It is estimated to cost $500,000.
Essential to the work of David’s projects in Kenya and Ghana are his former students. In Kenya, former student Kikanae Punyua graduated from the University of Maryland with an economics degree and is presently studying for his MBA at a university in Nairobi while working at a hotel in Narok. He lives in Narok with his wife and two daughters. In Ghana, Ibrahim (Anyars) Salih graduated from Hood College with a business degree and is presently working with a company in San Diego and living there with his wife and daughter.
Please check out both websites to gain a better appreciation of what David and his former students have been doing: