Council of Churches board member Marian Baker continues her annual missionary work in Africa from November through January. As she sends letters back to the United States we will share them here as a testimony to her good work for the Gospel abroad!
Greetings to all from sunny Kenya. I arrived in Nairobi safely after the long flights. Connecting in Paris is a challenge as directional signs scarce and only in French. During the nine hour flight from Europe to Nairobi I watched two fascinating movies- that I would encourage others to see. One called Indian Horse produced by Canada to share more of the truth about how they treated the Native Indian children badly, trying to force them to become white and stop being Indian (similar to what unfortunately was done in USA years ago as well). The other was Hidden Figures about how several black women managed to do the complicated calculations that enabled Alan Shepherd and crew to fly to the moon and back without burning up. Both are important parts of history that are usually ignored in the history that is taught in schools.
Judith Nandikove welcomed me at the airport and drove me to her home for the night. She had prepared a typical delicious African meal to eat after my arrival. All her kids had stayed up to eat with us at around 10PM at night
Today Judith drove me back to the airport and I flew to Kisumu where Katrina and Shawn McConaughey met me and drove me up to Amalemba (Kakamega) where we all attended a planning meeting of the big International Triennial Conference that is happening in July. I ate lunch with them and then Elizabeth came and fetched me.
My namesake, Marian Irungu (the grown daughter Elizabeth had named after me was at home, along with her 98 year old father they are caring for, and Methuselah was back from University. I unpacked, prepped my room, rested a bit and then repacked ready for tomorrow’s journey to Tongaren YM area (Naitiri part of Kitale) for the USFWK Executive Committee. Marian fixed up tasty fish (which in most parts of Kenya includes the bones, but is so tasty, I don’t mind carefully removing bones as I eat.)
My regular phone here, in case you need to call me is the same as last year-[REDACTED]. (stick a 011 in front if calling from USA).
Thank you for your prayers. Pray for safe travels up north to Kitale, to Shihendu, and to Agneta’s home over the next couple days.
Nov 11, 2019. I just returned to Elizabeth’s. I took a piki out to the main road and was picked up by a busload of USFWK women leaders. The bus kept picking up women along the way until we reached Naitiri just before Kitale. The roads have improved in many places- done by Chinese and Koreans.
After the executive meeting of the women, I went to Shihendu where we went to deliver our condolences to the family of Jenniffer Wafula, the Kenyan rep. on the International USFW Board, who had died suddenly of pneumonia 2 months ago. I was shown the gravesite. In Kenya, typically people are buried on family land near the main house. Then went to Gladys Kangahi’s home for the night. As one who has been collecting the history of women in East Africa we shared for hours together about the history of Friends here.
On Sunday I walked with her husband (Gladys is not able to walk much these days), to their local meeting. The clerk of the meeting was very excited, as he had been a student at Malava Boys High School when I was head of Malava Girls High School across the road and he had not seen me since. I was asked to give the sermon for the day. Then I walked back to Gladys with some of the women of the meeting, as her husband was busy sharing with his friends.
Then got a bus from Shihendu to Malava, and a piki into Kalenda to Agneta’s home. They had just improved their home by creating a covered walkway between the main house and kitchen, so valuable during the rainy season.
This morning, I rode a piki across the back roads to Elizabeth’s home in Kakamega. Will now go to Kakamega town to send this message to you. Tomorrow I will meet with my Kenyan support committee. Thanks to you all for your support.