My name is Christine Rottland. I came to Kenya in 1998 together with my husband Dr. Franz Rottland. After his retirement we wanted to get away from the German winter and enjoy life in a warmer climate for a few months every year. Our life, however, has developed differently.
We built a house in Tiwi at the Indian Ocean, 20 km south of Mombasa. Tiwi is remote from the tourist centers, and most of its inhabitants are analphabets. This naturally goes together with a high rate of unemployment, viz. more than two thirds of the population of Tiwi live below the poverty line.
In the course of six years of living close to my Tiwi neighbours I learned more and more what it means to live below poverty line. My knowledge of Swahili (or Kiswahili) and the experience of living with the mothers and their children opened for me a way to their culture and showed me their poverty. The support which we can give today through ASANTE e.V. is nothing which was planned at an office table. I meet people in their daily needs and I look for a way out of their situation. The resulting measures are thoroughly discussed with the people before a way shines up which can help my neighbours to cope with their problems.
Before ASANTE e.V. was founded we secured private help for a number of years based on the material support from relatives and friends. Their readiness to help has encouraged me to establish ASANTE e.V. in 2003. Asante means “thank you” in Kiswahili.