I recently returned from New York where I visited The Art Show, an annual art event that has been a big part of my life for the past twenty years! It was this same time, one year ago I left the art world (or so I thought) to become the Executive Director of The Samburu Project. I handed out brochures to art world friends and everyone wished me luck. I came back to LA and dove straight into TSP’s Walk for Water. I can’t believe how fast that year flew by. It’s been action-packed! Visiting The Art Show a year later, my colleagues and collector friends all wanted to know how it was going and asked me to tell them about Kenya. In short, it’s going great! I’ve had plenty of challenges learning about the non profit sector (that’s what the non profit people say – “sector”), meeting the TSP donors, trying to learn all the names of the Kenyan villages like Lendadapoi and Lokunlyani, learning all about well drilling, well parts, water systems, water jargon, WASH terminology and the like. I’ve had to learn a zillion new names of donors, volunteers, interns, vendors, in between learning how to write a grant and deal with the world's slowest internet in the world's tiniest office. I couldn't have made it through without Kiki who’s been there by my side through it all and the many angels that have been guiding me when I needed some guidance.
A year flies by when you are learning a new job. If you followed this blog and/or our social media at all you’d know a little bit of what's been going on around this water cooler. What you might not know is there have been a lot of people who have helped steer TSP through this transition year. I am grateful for a wonderful board and staff in California and Kenya, and friends, donors and supporters, volunteers who I have met along the way.
After the 2016 walk we re-branded the organization, launched a new website, procured funding for 9 more wells and repaired a few that needed some TLC. I traveled to Kenya twice, visited 53 wells and met lots of Kenyans. Whew!
Now it's time for the Walk for Water again. Last year we raised $55,000 at the walk. We did this by growing the event from our original Hermosa walk and 1 satellite walk in Stamford to an event that included 8 additional satellite walks from San Francisco to Atlanta to New York City – so many friends joined the TSP team! We are all working very hard to make sure the 2017 walk is even better and bigger. I think we can get there with your help. This year we have 13 total walks, including one that is scheduled for Nairobi in July. That will be a first!
I’ve taken a lot of my art world friends and colleagues on this journey with me. I’ve also met a lot of new friends in the US and Kenya who believe in our common humanity and that access to clean water is a human right. I want to thank you all for supporting the mission of The Samburu Project and let you know that you are all very important to the success of our small but mighty organization.
It's Spring, we just celebrated Earth Day, let's all get out in this beautiful world, wherever you are and join me on Sunday, April 30 to Walk for Water. If you can’t walk, please consider making a donation. All donations make a big impact in Samburu.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.