After a long day of walking the dusty trail back and forth, fetching water for her family, and chopping and gathering firewood in the bush Noomali sometimes has a chance to sit in the shade of an Acacia tree and work on her beadwork. Necklaces, bracelets, ceremonial clothing and ornaments are made by many of the women to give as gifts and sold to earn a little extra money at the market.
The bright colors of the glass beads and the geometric and sometimes intricate patterns add cheer and drama to the often desolate landscape.
Noomali slowly and carefully pushes the awl into the soft leather, then threads a red, green and blue bead onto her thread and puts the needle through the small hole she just made in the bracelet. Her fingers are tough and strong, well suited to this work.
A few other ladies slowly walk over to join her under the tree. They take up their own beadwork, one woman is beading a long traditional necklace for her pastor and the other is making a pair of traditional earrings or imintira. The women work and chat, catching up on news from the nearby villages.
One woman has an infant that suckles as she works. A toddler plays on his mother’s lap, pulling himself up to stand on his small shaky legs at her side. This is where he will learn to walk for the first time. The flies buzz about and land on the children’s faces, they pay no attention but go on with their games.
Sitting here on the red dirt, their strong backs noticeably straight and upright, the women pass the late afternoon hours. When the sun gets low enough that it can no longer be escaped by the shrinking shadow of the tree the ladies pack up and head to their homes with their children in tow. It’s time to rekindle the cooking fires and put some water on to boil for tea. The shepherds and their flocks will be returning home as soon as the sun sets and will be very hungry after the dusty days’ work in the hot sun.
Montana on a Mission seeks to partner with Maasai communities like Noomali’s to provide access to clean water along with health and hygiene training in order to increase opportunities for men, women and children, sharing the love and blessings that The Lord has given us.
A water sponsorship is a $35 per month contribution and has the potential to provide clean water for 35 people for life!