Once again we picked up our walking shoes and headed out to the hills of Mgambonyi for a week. Ronald and Agnellah’s family welcomed us into their home again and we enjoyed their warm hospitality and of their friends, many cups of tea and delicious kimanga (my favourite is made with bananas).
One aim of the week was to buy a third cow, named Martha – that was a fun experience! As we walked, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, interesting conversations and catching as much fresh air as possible to keep our bodies going up the hills. On our way we met up with Saul (the beneficiary of the cow) and Tole, his friend and neighbour. Newton, the farmer selling the cow, is a retired agricultural officer from the Ministry of Agriculture. He and his son, Ayub taught us so many things as we stood together in the cow sheds; measuring a cow to confirm its weight, making silage, amounts of water required to produce a litre of milk. Did you know??? For a cow to produce 20 litres of milk, she needs to drink 100 litres of water as well as eat a good diet and regularly lick a mineral bar (cow’s lollipop/sucker). After enjoying a cup of tea together and doing the business, Ayub assisted us all in taking Martha from their home. I seriously felt sorry for her, she’s not used to walking far and she ran up those hills, guided by Ayub (he really knows what he’s doing!)
Another aim of the week was to visit 3 nursery schools; 2 of them held in government primary schools (funded entirely by the parents) and 1 held in a new church hall to assist 23 little children who would really struggle to walk any further to school each day. Catherine, Margaret and Jane work with the children, they teach them to read and write, teach them songs and do games in a big circle on the edge of an extremely steep hillside. Apart from the use of a nice, small church building, they have no other resources or facilities. At around 10 every morning they prepare porridge for the children, but it’s very simple porridge made with flour, sugar and water – imagine how much more tasty it could be to add some wholesome milk…! These ladies do a fantastic job, Catherine is a teacher, Margaret is studying Early Childhood Development and Jane assists and prepares the porridge for the children. The children were very shy at first, but as we spent some time playing with them and giving them the tiny toothbrushes we took for them they began smiling and playing and then laughing at us as we tried joining in their games of frog jumping and duck walking…
Some highlights of the week were being invited into the homes of so many families, sometimes for a cup of tea, sometimes for a meal and all the time to pray for the family. We spent a very interesting couple of hours with an elderly couple, born in 1918 – they had so many stories from around Kenya and in particular that area. Modest people, they were pioneers of the murram roads reaching their area and key workers in their local school and church. We met the 2-week old bull of our second cow, Iwi – he’s cute and cuddly and a great friend to the little orphaned calf we’d met on our previous visit. We were also welcomed for a delicious meal at the home of the Chief, he showed us around his shamba (garden/farm) and sent us away with some baby marrows (courgettes) bigger than I’d ever seen before!
Shali is a young lady who had dropped out of High School over a year ago because her family did not have the money to send her anymore. In the two years she was in school, Shali missed many weeks due to lack of fees, but being very hard working and industrious Shali was determined to find a way to complete her education. We agreed to partner with Ronald in sending Shali back to school. We visited the school at Kitumbi and chatted to Shali, I asked if she’d had a good day and she answered, “A wonderful day!” The school is next to one of the largest forests in Coast province so while we were there we went for a stroll – it is a beautiful pine forest, with jacaranda trees and palms thrown in for contrast, what a sight… and when we reached a clearing we looked out towards Tanzania, if we’d have been there early in the morning we’d have seen Mt. Kilimanjaro but at that time in the afternoon it had disappeared into the mist.
On the last day, we were invited to join Ronald and Agnellah for a special lunch held in appreciation for the partnership of the church leaders and their faithful, hard work throughout the year. We were both invited to share our stories with them, we felt very honoured to be invited. It was a special time, we learned about how their church came to be, why the building is where it is and some prophecies concerning the people of that specific area and their impact on the world! Exciting!
Members of Tumaini Family Church are in Mgambonyi right now at a conference, empowering men to be closer to God, to love and lead their families and to be active in their faith. In a couple of weeks time, our young people have also been invited to join their youth at a conference for fun, friendship and challenges for life. It’s an exciting link!
We were made to be connected with other people; we need each other! As we begin to build friendships, we give but at the same time receive so much. Get connected somewhere – it’ll change your life!