Embarking on a journey, over 400km away from the bustling town of Malindi in Kilifi County, we found ourselves in the charming town of Madogo in Tanariver from where we proceeded to Ziwani village, the heart of the Ilwana community. The road that was once smooth and paved now told a tale of floods, leaving heaps of sand and stones in its wake.

As we navigated through this transformed terrain, we witnessed innocent children swimming in pools of brown colored water collected in manmade dams, unaware of the life-altering impact the floods had brought upon them. What was once a tranquil road now mirrored the resilience of a community facing the aftermath of nature’s fury. The Ilwana community was marooned with all road inlets being cut off by the floods and many still living in camps on the higher grounds unable to return to their original homes.

Our arrival at the Ziwani village, close to five hours later was accompanied by a regal procession led by HRM King Ramadhan Babisani, Ilwana esteemed elders, HRM King Makorane a Mung’ase, the Aido President HRH Paul Eganda, and members of Aido Kenya Led by Vice President I/c of East Africa QM Millicent Odhiambo, Ambassador to Kenya QM Elizabeth Ngare, Chief Henry and AIDO Ass, Administrator Bessie Sarowiwa. We were surrounded by jubilant community members who were filled with hope in their eyes and gratitude in their voices as they welcomed us with song and dance.

Addressing the gathered crowd, His Highness Paul Eganda, the AIDO President, conveyed greetings from the Diaspora Royal Kingdom. He shared how moved they were by the distress call from the Ilwana Kingdom regarding the devastating effects of the el nino floods on their people and how much more they wished they could have done.

One community member, amidst expressions of thanks to AIDO and the contributors, shed light on their marginalized existence, left behind by the government and other development partners. Their humble plea was simple – an opportunity for their children to venture abroad for a chance at self-improvement. Pointing to a house wall, marked with water stains up to waist length, he highlighted the unimaginable challenges faced by those who once called this place home. Most of the community were forced to relocate to higher grounds, starting their lives afresh.

From the contributions received by AIDO on behalf of the Diaspora kingdom, friends, and well-wishers we delivered and handed over 52 bags of maize meal containing 24 packets of 1kg each and 35 cartoons of bar soap consisting of 12 bars of soap in each cartoon which was extremely important to help prevent disease outbreak from lack of sanitation facilities and 30,000ksh given to HRM King Makorane a Mung’ase to buy medications for a medical camp he is planning to conduct later.

Finally, on behalf of AIDO Royal Community His Highness Papa Paul Eganda planted an orange tree in the heart of Ziwani to signify a lifelong relationship between AIDO family and the Ilwana community. We drove away filled with gratitude for what we were able to do, fueled with the desire to do more, which was our commitment to the great Ilwana people.

In the face of adversity, Ziwani and the Ilwana community stand united, resilient, and hopeful, cherishing the support that has come their way and looking towards a brighter future.

On behalf of AIDO Network International, we would like to sincerely thank all the contributors who made this mission possible especially Her Majesty Queen Asianut Acom II (Dr Hilary Brown) , Queen Jenny Gamachana Ikatekit, the ACDA family of Guyana, Queen Mother Violet Smith Paelo, Princess Africa and Chief Dion, Queen Mother Yvette Harrod Akisa, Queen Mother Dr Chenzira Davies Kahina Adeke, Princess Ulrike Acom, Chief Damien Dublin Abio, Princess Brandy Mukasa, Chief Solomon Emong Badula, Eng. Teddy Curran, Queen Mother Bishop Cynthia Adu Boateng of Ghana, Queen Mother Carla Astaphan, Queen Grace Eganda to mention just but a few and the Aido Kenya leaders for coordinating this exercise.

Bessie Sarowiwa
Aido secretariat