Marian Baker

From Board Member Marian Baker: From Ebwambwa to Ebwambwa

I rested a few days at Elizabeth’s in Ebwambwa. We had the first heavy rains (after a long drought) the last day of February. We put out many buckets so we did major washings.

On March 1, Eileen and I traveled down to Kisumu. After sharing briefly with Eden Grace and Ken, the bursar, Eden went with me to a bank in Kisumu to open an account that will be only for the travel funds of Kenyan women pastors who go to Uganda, Tanzania or other areas. The computers were down in that office, so I have now received an account number but the check book and visa card still have not reached the Kakamega branch! Afterwards Eileen and I went to a restaurant and feasted on pizza (such American type food is only available in the bigger cities where tourists and young people are working.)

The World Day of Prayer service I helped lead in Ebwambwa along with the Christian Union students of the local high school was a lot of fun. We had representatives from 9 different churches gathered and as the rains poured loudly on the metal roof, we just sang and prayed more loudly in all our different languages at once. Some of the older mamas from neighboring churches taught the students the correct tunes for one of the hymns, singing in the Busotso dialect of Luyia. One teacher joined me and my banjo in singing “All things bright and beautiful” in English. The students put on a skit about ways we can take better care of the earth. The ban on plastic bags has helped improve on littering pollution, but there is still need of teaching people not to throw trash along the roads.

Saturday I traveled to Tuloi for the USFWK pastors retreat. I had been asked to give a lesson on ways to motivate pastors, and was given the opportunity just after midnight. They kept praying and singing all through the night. I then traveled Kapsabet and then by Easy Coach all the way to Nairobi the next morning, arriving in early evening at home of Professor Moni and Roselyn Wekesa. Monday the 5th, was spent visiting the various offices of Friends at Friends International Center on Ngong Rd, Nairobi. Met many Friends and had long times of sharing with several younger women. Then went to Donald and Ruth Thomas’ home for tea. Ruth is helping collect together various writings about early Friends in East Africa, including unpublished thesis papers written by Kenyans who studied in the States.

Tuesday I was surprised to run into Dale Dorrell from Iowa who worked here near me many years ago. He had come with his grown son who wanted to see the places his father had been. I also visited Irene Kisito, daughter of the late Priscilla Makhino and then went to see Emily Provance from New York YM who was between helping in the shepherd’s school in Samburu and attending the World Council of Churches conference in Arusha, Tanzania. Wednesday I visited Buruburu Art Institute, where I was enthusiastically welcomed by teacher Edigar Injairu, (Agneta’s son), and by students Duncan Amudavi, (Margaret’s son) and Steven Irungu, (the late Bilhah’s son). As a close friend of all their mothers, the tall young men enjoyed escorting me down to a local roasted chicken and chips restaurant where we ate lunch.

Rose Finnegan, from my hometown in New Hampshire, arrived that night from the States. Thanks for all your prayers that her pending E visa was approved with no questions. We spent her first day walking around doing errands and enjoyed tea with Marian Malenje, (one of my namesakes), at a cake/muffin café at Friends Center. Had good fellowship in the evening with Moni, Roselyn and their college age daughter Gaberone.

The 9th, we arose early (in time to attend a 5:30am prayer service that is convenient to those who go to work). Watched some pied crows (black and white ravens) and a hadada ibis on the lawn afterwards. Then we flew to Eldoret to the home of Claire, daughter of the late Priscilla Makhino. Understandably, Rose was so tired, she fell asleep at 4PM and woke up at 7am the next day, while I had time with Claire.

The 10th, Claire drove us to Turbo where the USFWK prayer day was held. We were surrounded by close to 3000 women, a sea of white headscarves as they prayed in many languages for the many needs of their homes and their country. We enjoyed a ride afterwards in a hired van of Chegulo Quarterly Meeting (Malava YM)- singing non-stop as the vehicle twisted and turned across less traveled country lanes cross country to Kalenda (Agneta’s home). Her extended family with many grandchildren welcomed us warmly as Rose got to experience her first rural house visit.

Yesterday, we washed our clothes and rested, and then visited the closest church (PAG church), briefly with James, Agneta’s husband who helped translate for Rose. In the afternoon a number of the family walked/biked up to a rock that covers over 4 acres! As a botanist, I enjoyed observing some exquisite little orchid like blue and white flowers on plants growing in the depression pools on the rock. Rose enjoyed the troop of local children who spotted us up on top the rock and who came to greet the “wazungus”(white folk). One was a boy with a clubfoot who crawled up the enormous rock.

Today we traveled back to Ebwambwa to Elizabeth’s via motorcycle and matatus. Everyone is now very busy planting, looking forward to fresh vegetables being ready to harvest soon. We are delighted to find it is now the season for wild mushrooms which children and adults eagerly pick and cook up for supper, while waiting for the vegetables to mature. Thanks again for all your prayers for safe travel. We will be heading for Uganda later this week after the support committee on Tuesday.