Wednesday, November 02, 2005

of homestays and departures

Dear Friends--

I am writing from the African Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting, located in downtown Kisumu. As far as I know, I am the only international Friend who attended the conference in Kanamai who is still in Kenya. Jason and Mark flew away on Thursday;
Grace, Holly, Raul, Ru, and Therese flew away on Saturday; Lomuria took a matatu home on Saturday (a matatu is a nine-person minivan which can be hired to provide transportation--these things are *everywhere* here); Rachel flew home on Sunday.

After the conference ended in Kanamai, we took an overnight bus to Kisumu. It was a grueling trip--road quality varied from very good to quite bad; temperature went from the dry heat of Mombasa to the bitter cold of the mountains near Kisumu; some of us fell ill right before the voyage. But we got to Kisumu in one piece. After a long rest at the house of the Eden and James Grace (and Jesse and Isaiah Grace, too), we met with the leaders of all of the Yearly Meetings in Kenya. We talked about the WGYF in Kanamai, about youth leaving the Quaker Church (which is a difficult problem here in Kenya), about gender roles, and about a great many other things. All were pleased by this chance to meet, even for such a short period of time.

That night we also spent at the Graces'. The next morning we split into two groups to travel to all of the many yearly meetings in Kenya's Western Province, where the lion's share of Kenya's 140,000 Quakers live. (See,_Kenya for more information.) The first group, consisting of Holly Baldwin, Grace, Eden Grace, Mark Sailor, and Jason Tres Reyes, travelled in the south. The second group, consisting of Ruadhan Barry, Ben Guaraldi, John Lomuria, Raul Perez, Rachel Stacy, and Therese (whose last name I don't know), travelled in the north. Then the two groups met up in the Rondo rainforest for some closing time before folks took their planes home.

The northern group had stops at the FUM hospital in Lugulu and the yearly meeting offices in Kitale. We had homestays each night. I think Raul enjoyed going to the hospital the most--he repairs hospital equipment in El Salvador, and so was pleased to be in a place like his home.

Not much is coming to me from that trip north--hopefully others will be able to fill in some of the details. What I remember best is travelling by matatu, and the wonderful hospitality provided by our many Kenyan hosts.

On Saturday, when Grace, Holly, Raul, Ru, and Therese flew away, Eden and I realized that these were five people from five continents boarding the same plane from Kisumu to Nairobi: Grace from Australia, Holly from North America, Raul from Latin America, Ru from Europe, and Therese from Africa. They were all Friends and they were all friends. It was a lovely sight.

In the light,



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