Sunday, April 15, 2018

LIFE IN KISII, KENYA (Part 1)

This is a winter that is trying its best not to go away. On this Sunday morning, the 15th of April, the government travel map has State Highway 8 colored in black, which means “travel not advised.” This is the road that runs past the Log Church of Tripoli.

So once again, we have cancelled the Sunday service for this morning. It is not the first time this winter. I don’t remembered if we cancelled only one other time this winter, or maybe it was twice. This winter has been a long one and my mind is tending to drift like the snow outside my window. We are all winter weary up here in the northwoods, and waiting for spring.

It will come—just not today.

But this quiet Sunday morning at home gives me an opportunity to put down some thoughts that you may or may not be interested in. My thoughts are regarding the Log Church, not of Tripoli, Wisconsin, but of Kisii, Kenya.

If you are interested to know some of these thoughts—read on. If you are not—turn on the TV.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Pastor Joel to explain to me more about the challenges that the people of the Log Church face, and in fact, the challenges of living that all the people face in that region.

When I was there in November, they had me so busy with my teaching in the Bible conference that they arranged, I had little time to get to know the region. I asked many questions, but I still was not able to learn a great deal about life there. Should the Lord send me back there, I am going to ask them not to have a conference, but just allow me to get to know the people better and learn about the local situation.

But that being said, Joel has been a great help in educating me during these past couple of weeks. He has sent me many photos, which is not a simple thing for him to do from over there, and he has written to me many pages of information. It is some of that which I am going to share with you. 

Housing

As I mentioned, the church is in a rural area. There is a town of sorts, but most of the people live on their portion of their own family’s land out in the country. The town is not actually named Kisii. Kisii is the larger town of the area. It is where I stayed when I visited there last November. Every day, it took me about a half an hour by taxi to reach the smaller community were the church is located.
Market Day in the Village Near the Church

I never properly got the name of that community. I asked, but I did not have them write it down for me, so I do not know the spelling. I only remember that I thought that it sounded like “mata oro” in Spanish, which means “golden bush.” But I am sure that is not what it means in Ekegusii. Ekegusii is a Bantu language and the local tongue of the Kisii tribe of Kenya.

The housing is very basic, generally one room that may be divided
(The photos are actual photos of church member homes)
into two or three sections by curtains of cloth. The houses are usually of wattle and daub construction and with tin roofs. It provides adequate living conditions for the temperatures of the region, but it also presents some problems.

This type of construction also is not well suited for longevity in that climate. It requires constant repair and occasional reconstruction. It is for this reason that we decided to build the sleeping room for the girl orphans out of brick. The cost to construct it is about ten times as expensive, but our thought that this is a ministry that will last for many years (scroll down to see the blog 5,500 BRICKS).  

Health Problems

One of the disadvantages of the mud houses is that they become very dusty—dusty to the point where they can cause health problems. This is actually a problem in the place that the girl orphans presently sleep. Several of the girls have to sleep on the dirt floor with only a thin cloth covering the soil. This exposes them to chiggers and other soil-borne parasites. Many of the girls also have respiratory problems because of the dusty conditions. This is also true for the boy orphans, but it is more severe for the girls. That is why we are addressing this problem first.

Malaria is also a difficulty of the area. This is highland malaria, which is regarded by some medical personnel as being a separate strain of malaria.

During the colonial period of Kenya, the British considered the higher altitudes of the region around Kisii as being a “safe haven” against the malaria prone lowlands. However, in the time since then, factors such as population growth, improved road systems and more interchange with lowland tribes, malaria has now spread into the highlands.

In some ways, this highland malaria is more virulent than the lowland variety, especially since the local Kisii tribal people do not have built up immunities as do people who had been exposed to the disease for several generations. When I was in Kisii in November, I occasionally would hear of a church member who was presently suffering from a bout of malaria. Since returning, I have continued to hear of this from people there. 

The food and water shortages are another of the difficulties that these people face—almost on a daily basis. I will write about that tomorrow. It sounds like spring will not be returning tomorrow either.

No comments:

Post a Comment