As Zane and Amal Wilemon's two-month trip to Kenya drew to an end, we chatted to Amal as she reflected on one of the many highlights of her journey — her Mom's stay in Kenya.
In the seven years since Amal started coming to Kenya with her husband Zane, her older sisters Gina and Unushe have visited, but this was her Mom's first time. Over eight days, Mama Amal, as our Maker Mums fondly refer to her, took in the rich culture of the South Asian community in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, toured the 11 acres of land where our Maker Studio is in Maai Mahiu and looked in on the kids at the Ubuntu Life Special Needs Centre. She has supported the Ubuntu Life Foundation for many years as a devoted member of Tribe Heart, as well as an investor in the for-profit business of Ubuntu Life.
"I have wanted my Mom to come to Kenya for a very long time. It's hard to adequately explain what we do in Kenya to my parents' generation without them seeing it first hand. It was incredibly fulfilling to tour the land and show her the production side of the business. She has been so influential to me and, in turn, the company. I get my love of travel and fashion from my Mum — she has impeccable taste."
"When she decided to come to Kenya, I was thrilled at the prospect because I knew that she would feel at home — there are many similarities between Kenya and Pakistan, where she was born and raised. And I was right. She instantaneously felt like she belonged. There is a significant South Asian community in Kenya, and the cultural influences permeate Kenyan culture and cuisine. It was extraordinary to see her connect with our Kenyan team over a shared meal of rice, chapatis, and curry at Café Ubuntu."
"There is something remarkably grounding about our land in Maai Mahiu. You see it when our Maker Mums gather to share meals or to pray during lunchtimes. You feel it when you walk the ground or sit in the meditation garden. There is something that makes you entirely comfortable to sit in your spirituality and share the human connection. Perhaps the most powerful moment of her trip, for me, was during her first afternoon on the Ubuntu land. After lunch, she felt tired, and Maker Mums generously laid down one of their blankets for her to rest under an Acacia Tree just near the Maker Studio. I had some work to get on with, and I found her in prayer when I finished my tasks and went to check on her. It was an emotional moment for me to witness the deep sense of peace she felt on the land that is so important to me."
"As you can imagine, eight days felt like too short of a trip. My Mom is at the point in her life where she is devoted to service. During her time at the Foundation, I felt that she deeply wanted to spend more time with and support our work with the kiddos."
“Reflecting on this special time with my Mom, I am left feeling full of gratitude and longing for many more. Next time with my Dad too.”
We look forward to hosting Mama Amal in Kenya again soon!