A new beginning in Kajiado

December 6, 2010

Since we moved to our new house, there has been a flow of people who come to pray. Many little sisters from both Kenya and from Tanzania as well as lay people who come for a day or two to pray with us. There are also groups of youth, women and men who spend a day here, either praying together or meeting. All this makes us feel that this house is what we had dreamed, a house for welcome and prayer.

We are still in the process of making our house and its surroundings into a home. Now that God has blessed us with rain, our big job is planting trees in our bare compound. At the same time, lack of water, termites, goats and camels are a real challenge. We have often planted, trees that never managed to survive the droughts. One day we would love to dig a borehole. How nice, restful and prayerful this place would be if it were green! Added to the splendid sunrise and sunsets of Kajiado, being here would be inviting for praising God. We also consider planting trees as a contribution to the restoration of the environment, which is badly damaged.

As we write to you, the desert is flourishing and all is green. People have water and wild green vegetables, which are very healthy food; and we are expecting a harvest. Like people around us, we start sowing as soon as a rain falls. Often however the crops do not to reach maturity, but we never give up because we get a good harvest once in a while. This was the case last season. Our cows and goats also survived the drought because they had been moved many miles away and they are now giving milk. The faith of our people here is really striking.  The more severe the drought is, the greater their trust in God's providence. Deep down, they know that God cares. Our faith is enlivened and we are reminded of the text from Is.41:17-20 concerning an oasis for the poor.

We feel very much a part of our local Church and full members of our small Christian community. We form a lively community with our Masai neighbours joining in all that goes on and we like to prepare together the Sunday liturgy. Yesterday, we spent the whole day at the Church, because it was a family day. We shared a meal together after a long Mass which included the graduation ceremony for some of the youth who had followed a peers counselling course.

We have been commissioned to visit the sick and the elderly taking them communion. Most of them live very far away from the parish church and takes time and energy, but witnessing their faith and joy boosts our own.

One of us also takes time to attend to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. The reality of HIV/AIDS is something we cannot remain indifferent to. When ARV's were not readily available, it meant visiting people in their homes, giving them home-based care, giving simple medication, trying to remove the stigma for them and their families, and also showing the family how to give home-based care to their sick. At present, most people use ARV's, which help them to keep healthy and extend their life. As beneficial as these drugs are, they have their negative side-effects. Infection spreads even more rapidly and they still experience a lot of stress. The reality of HIV/AIDS is all around us and affects our whole society, as you well know.

Our friendship going back many long years with the Masai people is our treasure. Here is an example. The nomad little sisters left Mailwa many years ago. Recently Michael Ndete came and said to little sister Lydia Teresa (one of those who lived in Mailwa and is now here):

"You little sisters must visit the Christian community that you started hi Mailwa. You left when it was in its infancy, but it has now grown to maturity. You need to come so that the young can see you. It is very important for their faith. Besides, there is a goat that has been waiting for you all these years as a sign of that friendship!”
Four of us went and stayed with Michael's family for three days. It was wonderful for us and for the Mailwa community. People were so happy to see us after so many years, especially Lydia Teresa, and the joy was mutual. What a joy it was to see the Christian community and share in their Sunday liturgy. There were mainly young people and it was very lively. Michael was a young man when the little sisters lived there; and it was the little sisters who introduced him to Christianity and to becoming a catechist, although he later went on a formal course.

When we now look back at our life living as nomads, building shelters and moving on each day, fetching water with the donkeys from several miles away, collecting firewood, milking, listening to stories in the evening and laughing, and of course narrating bible stories and speaking about the life of Jesus, little did we know that a small seed was falling on fertile soil and germinating that has now grown into a full tree. (Just like Mk 4:26-27).