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!
On Tuesday, the 12th, I met with my Kenyan support committee. It was a time of support for each other in our ministry, not just for my support. We worked on the details of the plans for our journey to Turkana, our visits to Uganda and Tanzania and updated each other on important events here for women.
Thursday, I met Zelikah Galavu, Pastors Pauline Musitoke, and Anne Adisa, and we travelled to Kitale, where we stopped to have brunch with Kitale North YM Women at a hotel run by a Quaker woman. We collected Grace Kisembe, clerk of USFW North and Ruth Mwengu, (an old student of mine!) who is Asst. Superintendent of North YM (that includes Turkana).We slowly travelled up to Lodwar- through Kapenguria, West Pokot, Lokichar to Lodwar, arriving around 9PM! We were warmly welcomed by women from Lodwar who came to help our hostess Grace Moru with our meals and boarding in the guest house. The women were excited to have women spend time informally sharing with each other all the times we were not out travelling to villages. Some of us joined in the cooking and cleaning together, laughing and singing together.
It had rained once this year, so some green vegetation could be seen, though almost all was thorns that camels and goats can eat. It’s on the edge of the Sahara desert, too hot a climate for me. Friday, we travelled in John Moru’s land rover out across the desert on hard to follow tracks through the sand, thorn bushes, and Acacia thorn trees. Our first visit was to Pastor Simon, whose wife had been very active, had recently visited Zelikah in Western Province, but died suddenly leaving 7 children. He was delighted to see us.
Then went to Nakwei Village Mtg, that used to meet under a tree but recently built an aluminum sheet meetinghouse that is also used as a nursery school. They’d received water recently from World Vision so the village is growing and they need a primary school (the nearest is 20 km away).
Then two young men on a motorcycle led us to a new group, Kangale Village meeting under a tree. The women let us visit their manyattas, separate huts for sleeping, for sitting, for cooking, etc. We found no sign of food, clothing or furniture inside, yet they sang and danced joyfully with us. We felt the enormous wealth we have for coming from areas with water that we take for granted. Every Friday, several young men spend time in reaching out to such groups and once they get a source of water, the villages grow or migrate to where there is water.
We passed by Lorongoti, an ironsheet meetinghouse which has a nursery school run by form 4 (high school) leavers. We also passed by Longoyo which was vacated when water came to Nakwei. It had an ironsheet roof, with sides of dried plants.
At Lockoyo, we found an impressive meetinghouse made of stones with a iron roof. There we found a group of teenagers who were using the place for studying during their school holidays. Two of the girls were ones who are given scholarships by FUM . (If girls stay in primary school and pass with at least 250 points and qualify for high school, they get full fees paid. This project helps prevent early marriages (at age 10-12). The builders of roads have just given the mission a new building they’d used for their workers which will likely be used to store foods donated from USFW or other groups.
At Kaituko, we saw the new meetinghouse for which Zelikah and I sent some ironsheets last year. They started income generating projects. Zelikah brought a large cooking pot, sugar, tea, so they could celebrate with us. They gave us a goat which rode on the car roof back to Lodwar.
Our second day we visited Katpakori mud/wattle/ironsheet house with bright curtain decorations while on our way to Kalokol. We also found some prehistoric rocks- with legend that if you laugh you turn to stone.
Kalokol has a concrete block building with holes for ventilation. It has a large group of active USFW women who donate to orphans, raise money for projects and hold their own women’s conferences. Most understood Swahili . They will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year right after the Triennial. They enjoyed my sharing about my visits to them in 1970’s – only two very elderly people had been there at that time. Most are young,actively working women. Lake Turkana has dried up a whole gulf. Instead of walking to the shore, we had to drive a distance to reach water, see boats being built, and men fishing. The next day women from Kalokol came to Lodwar to give each of us visitors a box of fishes to take home, they had appreciated our visit so much!
We returned safely via an all-night public transport via Kitale to home arriving safely this morning. Time for a cup of tea and a day of rest before more travelling. Thanks for all you prayers for safe travel.