Can The Building Go Up Before The Artifacts Are Degraded? We Hope So!
When Julius Mutuku Muindi told us how he’s hurrying to save hundreds of artifacts of the Kamba people of East Kenya (also known as Akamba, a tribe of the Bantu) we couldn’t help thinking of those lyrics from the musical Hamilton: “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story? Who keeps your flame?”
Julius has been keeping the flame and telling the story for over two decades now, using his own resources, savings, and initiative to find, collect, and preserve hundreds of cultural artifacts of the Kamba people. “The culture is quickly disappearing,” says Julius. “I have documented over 400 objects, and schools have shown a lot of interest.” The collection is displayed in a tent. That’s hardly ideal for preservation, of course.
Julius is doing his best to construct a building to protect these precious items from the weather, and to give a proper museum setting to the evidence of the life of a people. He envisions the Akamba Cultural Center and Museum welcoming visitors from other countries, but first more construction materials are needed. Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help with the cost of cement and metallic rods for building beams and pillars.
Yet not everything will move indoors. The heritage collection includes plants. “The Herbarium seeks to preserve the knowledge of traditional herbal medicine of the Kamba people, “ says Julius, “which is very rich with over 600 categorized herbs.” He bought a 12-acre piece of land for this ambitious project.
Julius tells us he was honored to be made an elder of the Kamba last year with a mandate to preserve the culture. We’re honored to help.