Marian Baker

From board member Marian Baker: Merry Christmas to all!

Eileen Malova and I travelled to Mbale, Uganda on the 11th of December, 2018 to home of Apollo and Sylvia Wopicho. On the morning of the 12th we traveled into downtown Mbale to clear with the bank and the Mbale School of Nursing the second semester school fees of Stella Awino, the young woman from Busoga whom we are training to help her home region that lacks any medical facilities. She had just completed her semester examinations

In the afternoon, Apollo drove us and Sylvia to Mutoto where the women’s conference was being held. We were given a room in which to sleep and by 10pm supper arrived! The women made delicious food, but didn’t know how to cook quickly, so breakfast ended up being at 9AM, lunch at 3:30PM and supper at 10PM. Later when I gave a lesson on cooking, I tried to teach them to rise up earlier and to cook more than one thing at a time, so as not to upset the program. I also demonstrated how to make a simple solar cooker using cardboard boxes insulated with newspaper and aluminum foil and piece of glass on top (especially useful for beans that take so long to cook).

The speaker was Juliet Namono, who gave a very practical helpful series of teaching on trying to live in peace with all people. Eileen Malova also gave a helpful teaching on conflict resolution and forgiveness. Women gave very moving testimonies. Two shared excitement that they had just been legally married. (In Uganda, most just marry wives without any church or legal ceremony, so we have begun encouraging the leaders to get married officially. (Unless you are legally married, the relatives can take away all your property leaving you without even a house to live in.) Two other women who had been leaders of USFW and who had become estranged or joined other churches, decided to rejoin Friends. In addition, a group that had split away from the new Mbale church, came back asking to rejoin Friends. We all burst into song and dance with much joy.

Mutoto Friends have a church and next door is a school built with help from Australian Friends that Stephen and Rose Wamboka head. We were well taken care of, other than lateness of meals.

The executive committee met one afternoon to plan out their conference next year. Topics they wanted included raising teenagers, prayer and fasting, domestic violence, women of substance, and hygiene. They decided to hold their next meeting at Mbale Friends Church (headquarters of Uganda Yearly Meeting), for the first time.

The last day, we finished the program around 2:30, rapidly ate a full meal at the school before boarding a matatu to Magale. After an hour on the matatu, we went to the home of the Wefafwa’s, (the family that first came to Uganda from Kenya to start Friends in the country). After brief prayers, we were given another special meal- goat, chicken, matoke(bananas), chapatis, greens, and pineapple. That night my body refused so much rich food, so was sick.After travelling back to Kenya, I rested and got restored to health. Today I relaxed, washed many clothes, and caught up on reports. Tomorrow, Agneta will come from FTC to Elizabeth’s, we will do some shopping for Christmas, and then head to her home in the rural area to relax after some hectic travels. As I walked in town to the internet today, I heard radios playing Jingle Bells and other Christmas melodies. I am praying that all who receive this letter will take time to rest, reflect on the meaning of Christmas, and live in peace with your families, friends, and neighbors.

Thanks for your prayers that enable us to travel safely.