After 2 long years, we're finally going to Kenya to distribute lights and conduct an impact ...study on the 300 lights that did make it into the country before it shut down in 2020. Very excited to make this trip. Any JKB alum, family, or friends interested in going LMK. I can give you more information. Here is a narrative about the powerful & profound impact those 300 lights have made:
KENYA - JUNE 2022
Friday, June 24, 2022
Sunday, July 3, 2022
For women who live on Mfangano Island life can be exceptionally tough and at times seem ultimately hopeless. Located in the eastern most tip of Kenya on Lake Victoria, the main industry for 90% of the residents is fishing. This type of work is physically demanding and considered by most locals to be “men’s work”. These island women are dependent on their husbands to provide for them and their children.
Unfortunately, these men often abandon their families because of financial burdens, or, worst-case scenario they die from HIV. This region has one of the highest percentages of HIV cases in the world. Thousands of these women are confronted daily with the sobering reality that in order to feed their families they must trade their bodies for food. In an act of desperation, they will trade “sex for fish” with the local fishermen.
When we visited the island, a mother of five confessed, “I know what I’m doing is wrong, but it is the only way I can feed my children.” She has been a part of this cyclical exchange for almost ten years. Her story is a familiar one; her husband died of HIV and with no other means to provide for her family, she resorted to selling herself to put food on the table. She may sleep with as many as three different men a day to provide three meals for her children. As she spoke, her eyes started to fill with tears and she confessed that she didn’t know how much longer she could continue doing this.
On a neighboring island, Mary Achieng received a solar light from Watts of Love enabling her to fish at night, and purchase her own boat with her newfound savings. In addition, this allowed her to employ other women so they too could provide for their families. The solar light is also used to attract more fish to her nets at night. “I feel like part of me that had been taken away has been returned because of the solar lights,” she stated. “Now I know the joys of being empowered as a woman and the economic freedom that comes with it.” The solar light also lights up her fish stall at night so she can stay open longer and earn 10 times more than she used to. “With the solar lights, I can decide to stay late in the market to sell my fish and I can also decide to be at home so that my children can study using the solar light.”