Congratulations to Marilyn
Marilyn’s goal was to bring water and light to the wonderful people of Loita Hills. Her concerted efforts to raise the funds needed for over 1500 solar lights and a water well is an amazing testament to caring person she is and the impact one person can make in the lives of thousands.
Marilyn Parver worked in the motion picture industry with Warner Brothers, Universal, Tri-Star, Dream Works and Paramount Pictures. Marilyn was both a producer and “on air talent” with the Atlanta CBS Television Affiliation, where she won numerous Emmy awards. She was co-owner of two businesses headquartered in Atlanta, GA including an advertising/public relations firm that represented major accounts throughout the South Eastern United States.
How Marilyn Began Her Journey
Marilyn retired in 1998 and took a greater interest in her love of photography. Although she does not consider herself a professional photographer she has won numerous international awards. Her work displayed at The Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC. It was because of her photography that she began traveling throughout Africa.
In 2005 Marilyn developed a friendship with a Maasai guide, Wilson Lolpapit, who began to teach her about their culture. He personally found funding to build the first school in his part of Loita Hills in 2003 and recruited their first 43 students; children who had previously spent their days tending cows and goats in the field.
In 2010 Marilyn was invited to photograph the ceremony of a newly appointed Maasai “chief”, William Nairuko. Her education of this ancient culture suddenly went into “over-drive”. As their correspondence continued, William, a pharmacy student who works seven days a week in a town about a six hour bus ride from his home expressed his sadness and frustration at trying to lead and guide 22,000 primarily illiterate people at a time when the world was quickly changing. He was aware that the Maasai were changing too but slowly. Because of their traditional culture, his people were trapped in a world that still valued livestock over education and he knew that with this attitude their future was doomed.
William is only 26 yrs. old and is the only educated child of 23 siblings (His one father has three wives) and William is their only source of income. The new generation of Maasai desire only one wife and only as many children as they can educate and support but most of the existing families in Loita Hills are in situations similar to William’s. In order to make the changes William wishes for his people, they have all realized that education is their only opportunity to survive. The total population of Maasai in Loita Hills is nearly 200,000 people.
In 2012 Marilyn became determined to find a way to help. She moved to the Rift Valley in April, alone, and began many projects. Marilyn worked with partners and friends in the US, she contacted many organizations and set up several fundraisers in order to fund wells to provide fresh water and scholarships to educate more children. In Kenya, Marilyn discovered that a major stumbling block to their education was not having any light to read with after dark. Without the ability to study, the children were at a major disadvantage to advance their knowledge beyond the most basic education.
About Water Project - Photo Safari
I live in the remote area of Kenya called Loita Hills. It is the home of thousands of Maasai families who still live a life of collecting firewood and carrying dirty water miles because they have no choice. They live in dung huts in darkness except for the constant wood fire that is their stove, heater and light. The Maasai want their children to have a better life and education is the key.
In 2013, with the help of many generous donors, I was able to provide solar lights to the students at 5 primary schools. I distributed 1,400 lights so these children could study after the sun goes down (see BACKGROUND section below). These children are NEVER given “gifts” , so it was extra special to see how happy it made them!
While I was there last we were suffering a horrid draught and animals were dying and people were getting sick! Without rain we were all suffering. Water is life. Finding clean water is nearly impossible in Loita Hills, Kenya. Now I want to build a solar water project and I want to fund it by hosting a ultra luxury photo safari!
The safari I planned was the best possible way to fund my project and give donors a real wonderful experience as a thank you for helping me.
About Marilyns Photo Event.
The GREAT Photo Safari was limited to 14 guests from Sept 29 through October 7, 2014 ( arrive a camp the afternoon of the 29…check out morning of the 7th
It was an all inclusive 7 night luxury photo safari in the Mara North Conservancy. The goal was give you the safari of your dreams with all of our proceeds being used to build a solar water project in Loita Hills Kenya!! There are MANY ways to go on safari in Kenya. I have tried them quite a few and without a doubt, learned a VERY important thing…….
STAY IN A TENT!! You can FEEL and HEAR the sites and sounds around you all of the time!!
From Marilyn: “You want to fall asleep hearing the calls of the lions mixing with the “laughter” of Hyena …. you want the sounds of the hippos and the morning songs of the birds….
REALLY…..you want to feel the wild all around you and the sounds are one of the most exciting parts about being ON SAFARI!!
The perfect base for the exclusive safari adventure is the Exploreans Mara Rianta Camp, nestled in the heart of the Mara North Conservancy, north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve,
The luxury tented accommodation and buildings are directly overlooking the Mara River which winds itself around the camp with gently flowing waters surrounded with wild life and teeming with large groups of hippos. Overlooking the pool and the MaraRiver the main building and tented terrace has a welcoming Reception area and lounge, a library, wireless Internet access, a comfortable Bar and cocktail lounge and a typical safari style decorated restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Guest enjoyed a relaxing and invigorating treatment or massage at the Mvua African Rain Spa while being captivated by the unspoiled atmosphere of the African bush and the soothing sound of the MaraRiver or by gazing up at the stars after a wonderful day of unmatched safari and wildlife experience. Game drives, guided by our experienced naturalist trained drivers, are by four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser.
The luxury tents are built on elevated wooden platforms and have their own private viewing deck from where hippo and other wildlife are regularly seen! Each room has a King size or twin bed with comfortable mattresses and fine linens, the en-suite facilities with solar-heated hot and cold running water consist of a large shower, two hand wash basins, private WC with bidet shower and a Jacuzzi bathtub at some selected tents. There is a comfortable sitting area with lounge chairs, a writing desk, an in-room safe and a butler call button that allows you to order refreshing drinks or to set up private dining on your deck and ensures that your every need is taken care of.”
About the event
– Early morning wake up tea, coffee or hot chocolate
– Breakfast, lunch and dinner . The food is impressive, the best I have ever had in Kenya anywhere!
– Afternoon tea at the pool or at the Zebra Bar & Lounge
– Juices, soft drinks, selected wine, Kenya beer, coffee and tea served during meals and at the bar as per opening times, snacks are always available
– Cocktails and selected spirits served at the bar after 6 pm
– Wireless internet connection in public areas
– Pool lounger and towels
– Sundowners around the pool
-Air fare to and from Nairobi and The Mara North Airstrip.
-Arrival and departure scenic transfers from Mara North airstrip
– 2 Daily game drives in the Mara North Conservancy ( walking and night game drives may be arranged)
Check out the camps website for even more information!!
Wilson Lolpapit, a Maasai Silver medal guide and Marilyn share their stories and teach you about the behavior of the wildlife to insure you understand what you are seeing as well as giving you some advantages to capture your best possible photographs. Marilyn will review and critique your images daily. Sometimes a simple change can make a huge difference.
You can check out some of her Kenya photography at www.imagesbymarilynparver.com
Most of my winning photographs have been shot in the Mara North Conservancy partly because of its low density tourism. Animals in the MNC are treated with respect never “cornered in” by tourists trying to get a fast photo. Respect is the key word in the MNC for both animals and people.
ALL of the guides you will work with are knowledgeable and professional. We will offer Land Cruiser accommodations based on either family size or serious photographers requiring an unobstructed view.
The food will impress you as much as the wildlife!!! It looks and tastes like something prepared on the TV Show “Top Chief”!
There is a nurse on staff, a full spa, night time campfires next to the Mara River. a full time naturalist there to teach and answer your questions if I can’t
This was an incredible opportunity to help the people of Loita Hills and we created a wonderful lifetime memory of Kenya as our souvenir !!!
We did it. What an amazing adventure to all those who participated and got involved. Thank you for not letting this amazing opportunity pass you by!! You changed the lives for better in one of the most beautiful places on earth!! There is still plenty of good work to be doone, please consider donation to future projects by visiting www.worldserveintl.org and click on Loita Hills Maasai project to read more about out project and see some amazing images.
About Light Project
Together Marilyn has launched a fund raising project to help further the education of the Maasai children by providing the most basic of needs that we take for granted–Water & Light. Specifically, Marilyn and Karen, in conjunction with WorldServe, are seeking funds to purchase solar lights for students who live in the dark and drill water wells that will dramatically impact the lives of families for generations to come.
With my plan, every student will OWN their light. It will be used at home as well as late nights in the classroom. The lights will become an incentive to send a child to school. Families with more than one child attending school will benefit greatly since these lights will be shared among these large family villages. They will create a much safer home environment because at present, very few can even afford flashlights.
There are a total of 21 schools in the Loita Hills area of the Rift Valley with a total of 7200 students. These kids are eager to learn and improve their lives. The children walk upwards of 15 km a day and go without shoes and in many cases , and even without food in order to buy their required uniforms and pay the tuition.
Many of the students actually sleep on the classroom floor during the school week due to the dangers of walking home through the bush after dark. Their schools have no electricity, light or water. They receive no financial assistance and very few resources or supplies from the government. There is not even a word for school in their Maasai language.
As one of the oldest cultures in the world, the Maasai people have always lived a nomadic life. Until recently, no one possessed anything more than a few cows, a few sheep and goats. That is all changing. Though they still reside in homes made of cow dung, these homes are now permanent. Families that can, have begun agriculture. Various church organizations have helped build a few classrooms that are now their schools.
Once a classroom has been built, the Kenyan Government provides a few textbooks and a few teachers. The students devour their lessons. Marilyn has never met children with more desire to learn. They cannot do homework or read at home because they have no light. They work by wood burning fires at home and the occasional flashlight when sleeping at the school—but wood and batteries are both valuable commodities.
Prior to moving there on the first of April, Marilyn purchased 2 solar lanterns for herself, knowing she would not have an electrical source to power lamps.She purchased them from D.light Design, a company with the goal of trying to “bring light into the world where there is none”. http://www.dlightdesign.com/home_global.php
These simple, inexpensive lights are my only light here in Kenya at night and they do a great job! They are lightweight and durable. Best of all, a days charge can give light for 6 hrs or more. One lantern will provide enough light for a one room home. We have personally purchased a few for some of the very top students because of the great need they have for reading at night. It is very hard to help one child yet turn away so many others.
The emergence of the internet over the past 20 years allows us to now access global information instantly and watch videos, silly or educational, via YouTube and chat with people around the world via Skype. There are more mobil devices in Africa than anywhere else in the world and they are a primary source of education because they are used for internet access at very reasonable rates. Even many children in the field tending the livestock have some kind of mobil device and Facebook has opened the world community to them.
Right now, Loita High School is the only school with internet access and a computer funded by a group out of Holland. These same generous people also opened the first IT Center with 15 computers that a few of the students in the Rift Vally Loita Hills area can reach within a day or 2 walk. It is hoped that some of the educated, interested Maasai community members will actually have an opportunity to take courses in computer studies at the Center.
The world our children live in today is only getting smaller….our awareness and responsibility must extend globally to those who need our help. We believe that this project will be successful and will offer the personal satisfaction to you by changing the lives of young, needy, eager students half way around the world.
We can purchase a solar light for $10 and light a home.
Primary schools in the Rift Valley have students ranging in age of 6 to 17 yrs. old. A student begins 1st grade at what ever age the family can afford to pay the tuition. There should be no administrative or delivery costs because DLights headquarters is in Tanzania. Marilyn will personally drive to Tanzania to pick up and deliver the lights herself. We have no timetable, and would like it to continue until the goal is met.
The schools we would like to help are:
- Entasekera Primary School -300 students
- Ilkujuka Primary School -300 students
- Kone Primary School -300 students
- Loita High School – 500 students ( the ONLY high school in Loita Hills)
- Napolosa Primary School 400 students
- Oltarakuai Primary School -300 students
- Osinantei Primary School -300 students
This would be a “hands on”, very visual project, because we would provide photographs of how your generosity will impact Maasai students.
You will SEE how their effort makes a big difference in these lives. We will have personal handwritten notes of thanks from the Maasai students to those who get involved, giving you new friends for life.
The Maasai students would eagerly greet any donor who happens to visit the Maasai Mara on holiday to give a greeting of gratitude.We doubt anyone would ever forget such a gift. Light offers an opportunity they have never had before.