Board member Marian Bakers writes from Tanzania where she is engaged in mission work:
On Friday, 30th of November, I travelled with Elizabeth Odera to Shiru, past Kaimosi to visit Tuloi
USFW women’s conference. It was located on a large tea estate and it was a smaller gathering,
but full of joy.
On Saturday I went with Margaret Musalia to visit the Kenya Friends National Sunday School
Teachers conference at Vokoli. We taught them a song about Sunday Schools we’d learned in
Tanzania and they danced all around the school compound and kept singing it many times the
rest of the day. A person from Awana came in the afternoon and showed them some games to
use in Sunday schools.
Sunday, I stayed in Embwambwa, went to the local Friends Meeting and went to visit Agneta’s
family briefly in Malava. Monday was a day of rest and packing for our Tanzania journey.
Tuesday, Evelyn Mukonambi from Elgon E. YM joined me in Kakamega and we traveled to
Kisumu, picking up Miriam and Leunita enroute. Then took an express to Migori, where we
were warmly welcomed by Dorcas Simiti. Had a great time to fellowship with her. She used to
be the secretary for USFWK, but due to her husband’s illness, she can’t travel as before, and
was eager to hear news.
Wednesday we travelled to the border and got separated as Miriam walked across the border
to a bus stage south of town. Leunita and I went through immigration, but our luggage carrier
went direct. Meanwhile Pamela finally arrived from Nakuru and she and Evelyn had to get
temporary passports. Finally we all reunited with our luggage and I sent three on bus to
Mugumu, while Evelyn and I went to Tarime to ATM to get Tanzanian cash and boarded a
matatu to Mugumu. The bus of the other three had taken two hours to fill up, so came behind
us and passed us. We reached Mugumu and were told by Mary Joseph the leader of Tanzania
women to get pikis to Kebesonga and it was starting to rain and night was coming, so we went
only to find the others had not arrived! Their bus took a short cut off the main route, got a
puncture, but they finally arrived. We rejoiced. Then the mother of Miriam arrived. What a joy
to witness their reunion, as Miriam had married a Kenyan after finishing FTC and had not been
back in over 3 years. She’d brought her 2 little girls with her. Picture a grandmother meeting
her grandchildren for the first time and them giggling together, as they didn’t speak the same
language. What joy.
Thursday, Miriam gave a lesson on unity in the church, Pamela on discipline, and Leunita was
the main speaker. I then divided them into small discussion groups which they enjoyed.
Friday, I told the stories of 4 women in the Bible, Sarah, Hagar, Leah, and Ruth. Saturday, my
team acted out the story of 3 widows, Naomi, Ruth, and Orphah. Leunita acted as Boaz and it
became a highlight of the conference. Later Daniel and Pius, leaders of Tanzania YM arrived.
They were so impressed with Leunita’s preaching and teaching that they asked her to come
back and be main speaker at the YM sessions in August. They honored one of the older women,
and had a choir competition singing “O Come all ye faithful” in Swahili. Two older women from
Mugumu won and were given a hymn book which they received with great joy. The dancing
choir sang and danced each day. They had to sprinkle water on the dirt floor so we wouldn’t be
overcome by dust. This is one of the best built meetinghouses (of brick) in Tanzania, but it
needs help getting the cement to finish the floor and plastering. The local leader was a
seamstress and they’d decorated the rafters with scraps of colorful cloth. They also honored all
the visitors, giving us a mug, sometimes a cloth, or a heavy bag of millet/sorghum, and some
came with gifts of cash for the individuals they felt especially blessed by. We left rejoicing and
travelled back to Tarime where we spent a night with Esinas Mwita, an active woman who had
just recently lost her husband. We shared with her with much laughter, song, and prayers and
feasted on fresh avocados, oranges, and finger sized bananas.
Monday morning, we left Tarime, but they all wanted to buy some cloths (Tanzania makes
very beautiful cloth). This delayed us and one woman kept buying and buying, creating far more
baggage which she could not carry herself across the border. As a result, we didn’t arrive back
in Kisumu until past 5 PM. I managed to get home by 7:45 (after dark on a piki) and the two
others did not arrived home in Nakuru and Kitale until 11PM. The one going to Kitale got
delayed due to an accident of a bus carrying a choir from a Friends meeting in Vihiga area who
were on their way home from Kitale. The vehicle crashed killing all 14 members of the same
meeting. Speed and darkness were the likely cause of the accident. I will make sure all who
travel with me in the future only bring or buy what they can carry easily themselves, to avoid
such late arrivals home.
I’ve now washed up, repacked and rested ready for the journey to the USFW women’s
conference in Uganda which will be held high up on the slopes of Mount Elgon.
Thanks for all your prayers and support, especially for the travelling safety.