Graham B. - Letter - Kenya - May 16, 2015

It’s the dry season here. Beautiful clear blue skies, but it’s also dry and dusty. We did have one day of rain in February, but nothing really since the middle of December. It seems to have been particularly harsh this year. But it’s not the first time for rivers to dry up and the Masai travel miles with their herds to try and find some  bits of grass to help their cows survive. Zebras never seem to have a problem. I’ve not seen a thin one yet.

I am into my 35th year in East Africa now. In that time Kenya’s population has grown from 16 to 45 million and Tanzania in a similar manner. That means we really should have three times as many workers! Currently we are 6. There is some new interest in Uganda. Daudi and I spent a few weeks there in January and hope to go back again when we return from South African conventions. There is a family from South Africa there managing a sunflower farm. Uganda, like 34 other African countries, has never really been worked. This continent is vast. This is just a small corner. I’ll share the trip back from Uganda to give you some idea.

We managed the trip from Kigumba to Kakamega in Western Kenya in one day. A bit of a marathon, but quite usual for this part of the world. It's something like 500 Kms (300 miles). Took us 14 hours. Willem and Bea Botha took us from the farm they are managing to Kigumba at 04.30 and a bus DID come as we were told, just after 05.00. So we boarded the 'Bismarken' (kept thinking about 'sink the Bismark') and had a 'comfortable' seat and were in Kampala about 09.00. The window beside me would not quite shut so I got an air conditioned ride that I didn’t really want at that time of day as it’s cool. Then we had to find our way around the various bus stands in a very busy part of Old Kampala. Masses of people and motorbikes coming at you from every angle. Didn't feel unsafe, though.

We grabbed a quick cup of chai and a chapati in a street café and managed to find transport to the border at Busia. We got a 14 seater matatu (they also call them taxi's in Uganda) and left just after 10.00. Four of us squeezed across three seats so 21 instead of 14 and our bags on our laps. Four hours like that. It's getting up to near 40oC in some parts of Uganda at this time. You open windows for the A.C. and the wind is hot also. It's hotter than most of Kenya. Most of the country at about 1,000 metres above sea level only. No real highland areas like Kenya. We jumped off just before Busia to visit Joseph Masiga at his hardware shop. He had cooked some rice and beans for us which was welcome. Then we took Boda-Boda (motorbike taxi) to the border post. No problems and we were soon through. Then another similar matatu experience two hours to Mumias. Another change there and another matatu to Kakamega. We were in the batch just before 7p.m. So it is do-able in a day. But not for the fussy, or faint-hearted!! It’s another 10 hours from there to Nairobi. 14 hours from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam.

All the East African staff. All six of us! Ermina, Gladys, Devota, Heidi, Daudi and myself will be in South Africa for conventions until April 13th. I am at Cape #2, Pretoria #3, and Bloemfontein. The first time we have all gone together. It means leaving the friends and the ones listening to the Gospel alone for over a month. A little different to most places where workers are still in the country although they are at convention. We will be three countries away.

Abraham Felicite has been on the islands of Seychelles and Mauritius/Rodrigues with Josia Rabemila from Madagascar for almost a year now. He needed some surgery to remove a lump (benign) on his neck so is at home on Rodrigues mending. He is slated to go to Madagascar for conventions next month. We miss him from our staff.