Milestone Moments in East Africa

Gem Journal, Gem Legacy, Travel

Jambo (“hello in Swahili) from Detroit!

We just returned from a fabulous time in East Africa with a remarkable group of people who call themselves “Tribe Baraka.” Baraka means “blessing” in Swahili and we sought to be a blessing during our interactions with East African friends – old and new alike – but we were overcome by how much we were blessed instead.

Isn’t that the way it is with friends? We’re blessed to have such deep, authentic, genuine relationships with our comrades in Tanzania and Kenya. Their passion for their work, their tirelessness in caring for their fellow countrymen, and their joy in gemstones never ceases to amaze us – and inspire us!

This trip seemed to be filled with “little victories.” Gem Legacy has BIG goals in the vision for the future: an East Africa where every gemstone leaving the countries is having an exponential and lasting positive effect on gemstone sourcing communities. We reached some Milestone Moments in East Africa on this trip and they’re billboard worthy on the journey to reaching Gem Legacy’s goal. Here’s a little recap…

Thankful for your partnership and investment,

Roger, Ginger, and Rachel

Book Donations Begin A Library at Mwatate Orphanage

Book donations from many of you began a library at the Mwatate Orphanage in southern Kenya. The 28 kids under the orphanage’s care learn English in school, which is essential to their future success in jobs, but do not have any tools to practice their English outside of school. A library of English books will now allow them to practice their English for pleasure in the evening and further their knowledge of the English language.

Elephants Released into the Wild

Several of the elephants we – and friends – have supported at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi and Voi for several years have been released back into the wild and are thriving. The Trust’s goal is to heal physically, emotionally, and mentally and prepare them to reenter their natural habitat confidently and successfully so they can once again thrive with their own kind.

Tsavorite Production Achieved at Baraka Mine

We’ve been visiting and supporting the Baraka Mine (yes, meaning “blessing”!) for many years including when it was formerly known as Mama’s Mine, named for Mama, who was the longest female owner of a continuously running mine. Her daughter, Gladwell, is continuing that legacy today and they were blessed to hit Tsavorite production this year!

Positive Results from Kenyan Training

May’s Gemological Training at the Gem Centre in Voi, Kenya continues to have deeply positive effects on the local gem industry. We were blessed to hear reports of attendees’ feedback to the Gem Centre Administration: increased confidence in identifying gemstones, greater prosperity through gem trading, and plans for partnerships between constituents of the gem trade. We’re making plans for further gemological training in Southern Kenya next year!

2 Faceting Machines Delivered with Training

Gem Legacy’s BIG 2019 Goal is to fill the Arusha Gemological and Gem Faceting School with new American-made precision faceting machines. We’re 5 machines closer to our goal and a Facetron expert generously donated 2 days of his time to train the students and teachers on Facetron techniques! We are so excited to equip the school so that it is graduating students who are ready to succeed in a job at a gem cutting center.