At the Source of Kenyan Kiwi Garnet

Gem Culture, Gem Journal, Travel

We are back from a fabulous trip in Tanzania and Kenya. The group traveling with us this summer calls themselves Team Kuba Kuba. In Swahili, Kuba means “big” or “strong.” We discovered together we can make a difference and everyone has something to contribute.

We found our team name resonating throughout the trip, most especially when we visited mines and interacted with the strong people of East Africa who dream really, really big dreams and face endless obstacles to reach their goals. They are truly the “kuba” ones.

Team Kuba Kuba

We re-visited two Kenyan Kiwi Garnet mines to follow up on their progress! First, the Baraka Mine, formerly called Moma’s Mine, is the oldest operating female-owned mine in East Africa. It is currently being run by Moma’s daughter, Gladwell, and her husband, Christopher.

Gladwell and Christopher


“The baby stones lead you to the mama,” Gladwell told us. They are following a new vein and are excited because they believe it will hold a big deposit. We viewed the area they have blasted and are now clearing out. The mine looks completely different from 4 years ago, the last time we visited it, including new housing for mine workers.

The second mine we visited is called the Precious Women Mine, led by Esther Okeno, the widow of Roger’s dear friend and mentor who we lost 2 years ago. She, along with several other women, are working this mine every day. We were inspired by their tenacity, joy, and determination. They have made remarkable progress.

These Precious Women are finding all the indicators that they are on the right path: Graphite, Mica, and Feldspar!

We’re hoping for a Kuba (BIG!) and Kuba (STRONG!) sized load of Kenyan Kiwi Garnet!