Lieff it to Gretchen

By Richard Mineards   |   November 30, 2017
Making new friends at Maasai Village in Northern Tanzania where the warrior wives taught us their intricate dance steps

Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff has been exploring more liquid assets!

For the first time the women and children of the Tanzanian Village of Nhobola have safe, clean drinking water thanks to H2Opendoors. They came together to celebrate and give thanks.

Peripatetic Gretchen has just returned to our rarefied enclave from Tanzania after volunteering her services to H2Open Doors, an organization devoted to helping solve the global water crisis.

“It focuses on third-world countries and uses special technology to turn filthy polluted water into clean, safe sustainable drinking water.” she tells me.

Gretchen went to the town of Nmbola near Lake Victoria in the north of the country where women have to walk for miles, often in the dark “through terribly dangerous conditions” to provide drinkable water for their thirsty families and animals.

“It is heartbreaking to see these desperate women throughout Africa risking their lives in such a way,” says Gretchen. “Not only did we help this community by providing safe drinking water but also gave them the ability to sell the water to other villages and use this new source of money to build schools and provide medical care.

“It felt so good to help such lovely people… to help themselves by leaving them with a truly sustainable clean water solution.”

After leaving Tanzania, Gretchen traveled to Zimbabwe, which just dumped its despotic president Mugabe, and went on safari to the Serengeti.

“I was relieved to find healthy and robust populations of animals,” adds Gretchen. “My favorite line from the Maasai Rangers was ‘We shoot to kill,’ not the animals, of course, the poachers.”

There are few resources at the Nhobola School, which has more than 400 students. But they welcome us with smiles and laughter as we recite the English alphabet.

What’s in Store

Just in time for Yuletide Montecito, society doyenne Beverley Jackson is joining friends in setting up a pop-up shop downtown.

The store at 725 de la Guerra Plaza will sell Beverley’s pine needles baskets and art deco collages, and friends Tamara Kinsell‘s Indian silk prints and heavily beaded caftans, Hjalmar Van Meerdervoort‘s hand-blown glass, and Martine Dupuch‘s hand-painted silk stoles and scarves.


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