Report from Kenya

Update from Courtney Sanford, Duke Divinity School Intern

Dear Friends and Family,

When I arrived in Kenya last Tuesday, I joined Bailey at Mama Fransisca’s. She welcomed me by slaughtering a chicken for us. Bailey wanted to learn how it was done, so she taught us the Kenyan way. Fransisca has been teaching Bailey lots of luo. We are excited to celebrate our 4th anniversary on Thursday!

The day after I arrived, I went to Saint George’s Sianda Primary School. I was joined by a group from  North United Methodist in Indianapolis. We did a home visit and met the staff of the school which is supported by Umoja Project.

Thursday we spent the day with the high school girls at their day-long retreat. It was great to see some of the project assistants that I spent so much time with last year at this event. The ladies heard from teachers, nurses, and lawyers about study habits, reproductive health, decision making, and their rights.

Friday we spent the day at Ogada Primary school. I visited a girl named Margaret who was in 7th grade. She was in position one in her class with 368 marks. The average is 250 which means she will hopefully have a good chance of being be sponsored by Umoja in high school. It is moments like these that I am proud to be working with the project.

Saturday, we attended Junior GET UP which is for the middle school girls. The room was completely full as the girls sang, learned about healthy relationships, and learned about love. In the afternoon we met with Umoja students at Maseno University. Meshak, who just graduated, remembered that I was from Boone! I was so impressed.

Sunday we attended Pastor Zachariah’s church. He is the chair of the Umoja board in Kenya. Pastor Ronnie Bell from North United Methodist preached an amazing sermon. We then went to the pastor’s house for a feast.

Monday we built a home. Thank you for your support for this home! Susan and her 5 children were living in a small home that was about to collapse. Home building is exciting because the entire community comes together. It takes many people because each wall has to be filled with mud. One group carries water, another group digs and mixes the mud, another group fills the walls. It is very difficult to get the mud to stay in the walls. We needed rocks to stabilize the mud. There were no rocks around, so we instead had to use maize stalks.

A few days ago we were walking home from school and next door neighbor’s children greeted us. They disappeared and came running back with roasted maize. They probably didn’t have much, but they showed us radical hospitality by sharing what they did have. The next day, they disappeared again and came running with roasted maize and a mango. I wanted to cry because the children were so generous and giving. The people of Kenya continue to teach us about love and hospitality. We are thankful to be here and thankful for your love and support.