The most common question we receive after “What does your organization do?” is “What does “mugumo” mean and how on earth do you pronounce it?” First, the easy part: muh-GOO-mo. Not MOO-gum-oh or mo-GO-mo. Just mugumo.
For us, “mugumo” holds a special dual meaning. The volunteer house where Charity, Charlotte, Katie, and Jessie first met was located on a quiet, leafy street called Mugumo Lane. Operated by the volunteering company, the Mugumo Lane house was well-known in the area for having a constant rotation of wazungu (or foreigners, usually on the strange side in our case). At the time, Charity served as the house mama–cooking meals, cleaning, and helping volunteers adjust to the rhythm of Kenyan life. Our initial plan to sponsor children was hatched at Mugumo Lane. This is where it all began.
In 2011, we decided to forge our organizational identity from our common beginnings–Mugumo Lane. After some research, we discovered that “mugumo” is a Kikuyu word for a fig tree that is crucial to the indigenous religion of Kenya’s populous Kikuyu tribe. The symbolism of a tree perfectly represents the mission of the Mugumo Project in several ways. Just a like the deep roots and sturdy trunk of a tree, we aim to provide Mugumo kids with the support and stability needed to achieve their dreams. Just like a tree’s far-reaching branches, we hope to create a cross-cultural network of people working to improve the lives of children right around the corner and around the world. Just as a tiny sapling grows into a powerful contributor to the environment, we strive to encourage Mugumo kids to rise up and be a positive force in the world.