Marian Baker

From board member Marian Baker: News of Kenya and Uganda

On the 4th of January, I travelled to Kaimosi to make a down payment to FTC for the QREC Collaborative to be held there the 16th-19th January.

The 5th was mostly a day of rest and washing clothes (which dry within 2 hours in hot equatorial sun with a breeze) Then went to visit Margaret and Matthew Musalia. Matthew had just returned from the expensive FWCC Conference held in Jinja, Uganda at the Nile Hotel, a five-star hotel overlooking the Nile river.

On my birthday, Matthew gave us a ride in his brand, new car to Keveye Friends High School which has over 1000 girls. Margaret is chaplain there and I gave the first sermon of the year to the girls under the hot sun. I gave some teachings concerning wisdom and wisdom of one of the African women in the Bible, the Queen of Sheba. I came back to Elizabeth’s where we celebrated my birthday with fresh, cooled mango juice (great on a hot day). Then had her whole wheat chapatis with ndengus (the small mung beans that Americans eat raw as sprouts.) When cooked up with onions, tomatos and carrots, they are delicious. Fresh red papaya from her garden was our desert.

On the 7th, I spent the day writing up the financial report of the workcamp of the previous week and repacked ready to return to Uganda. On the 8th, Eileen Malova, Evelyn Mukonambi and I visited Busia, Uganda Friends and urged them to come to conferences and trainings and be more active in Uganda Yearly Meeting. James then drove us in his new car to Kimidi. On the way, we saw some of the baboons in the national forest who often come to the roadside.

At Kimidi, we were greeted by the women who we had helped start a farming cooperative. They had prepared tea with freshly roasted groundnuts (peanuts) they had just harvested so they could share with us. We met with the leaders for the evening, seeing how prepared they were for the Uganda Young Friends Conference that was to start the next day at their school.

The next morning, we went and bought some locally made mats, some basins and jerry cans, several solar lamps, and other materials to be owned by the church in order to host larger gatherings and conferences of Friends and labelled them all, so that no one person could claim them. The local pastor and also the women came bearing chickens to help feed the visitors coming. What a joy to begin to see them starting to take responsibility to provide food for visitors. We picked up a big watermelon and ate it for lunch, as it is the dry season now and quite hot.

Later that afternoon, I left Evelyn and Eileen and travelled on to Jinja, Uganda to visit Agneta’s daughter in law and granddaughters who had missed coming to Christmas this year. The girls were excited to receive the dresses I had hand sewn them to match their dolls from last year. They immediately modeled them and women in the household were amazed that such dresses could be made by hand instead of by machine.

Jennifer, their Ugandan grandmother was very excited to host a wazungu (foreigner) in her house for the first time. They run Paradise restaurant within 700 meters of the Nile River bus stage. They showed me a cashew- which grows as a vine up and over a tree. When the large nut falls, it splits apart and they can harvest all the small cashew nuts inside. I had not realized that cashews were a vine, not tubers like peanuts.

I left the next morning early to return to the Youth camp and greet them all and give them a warning, not to be misled by advertisements on the internet that advertise high paying jobs available in the Middle East. Already 3 young women from Uganda I know have been misled and will likely never return to Uganda alive. (Their passports and i.d.’s and cell phones are taken away from them and most end up in the sex trade and get AIDS as forced prostitutes.)

Eileen and Evelyn then joined me in returning to Kenya that afternoon. I had to buy my third visa for Kenya! Even though I had paid for a 3 month East African Visa, the Kenyan government decided to make all visas only valid for one month. Since I had had my spare emergency American cash stolen a couple weeks ago, I had to rush to the closest Kenyan Bank, withdraw Kenyan shillings and then buy American dollars, and rush back to the border office to buy another visa. This delayed us, so I was only able to reach Eileen’s last night and didn’t get back to Elizabeth’s as planned until this morning.

I have now rewashed clothes, written up reports, and repacked and will head to Agneta’s near Malava this afternoon. Fresh papaya and yogurt for lunch, yum. Beth Collea has arrived in Nairobi and we will meet her at Eldoret airport tomorrow.

Thanks for all your messages and prayers and support during these busy days of travelling.