Hello from Kebineti!

Kebeneti is in a rural area and we mainly work on the land like our neighbours. Most small farmers grow tea which is the main cash crop. These farms cover the controversial Mau forest. Most of the traders in our area sell their farm products at Kisumu.

Like most of our neighbours who farm on asmall scale, we grow maize, vegetables and have a few cows. Most fruits don't grow here, especially citrus fruit but pineapples, bananas and avocados do well. Passion fruit grows too. When we have enough we sell avocados, pineapples and vegetables, especially sukuma wiki. The fact that we do not have to buy vegetables gives us a lot of satisfaction. Milk gives us a good income and enables us to interact with neighbours who come round in the evenings to buy our produce.

Since 2009, we have been three little sisters: Young women who want to learn about our life come and go. We don't only farm, but we also visit the neighbours and neighbourhood parishes. We also try to remain aware of deeper issues in the diocese. Sharing with other sisters enables us to learn together and seek ways of being open to the needs of our times.

Apart from farming we make candles, which we sell locally. We also make soap, both liquid and in bars. People come to buy at the house, and it is a way of meeting people from different backgrounds and Churches. We also make soap with women from Kipranya and from Cheptuyet. It is a ways of socializing and sharing at deeper levels. Work ends with the rosary. Every Friday afternoon we go for adoration to Chepruyet; and once a month, we visit the sick with the same group of women. The groups also make 'mala' (sour milk) which they sell locally and in the market. For some, it has become a source of earning cash and empowering them to participate in social activities.

Our neighbours, as always, are generous and welcoming to newcomers. Friendship has been well-cemented and maintained over the years.

Burials are very challenging, especially when people die in hospitals that are far away. In fact, the nearest hospital is about 40 kilometres away, so we try and help each other transport the body home for burial. Hospitals are expensive and when a person is admitted, the neighbours come together to help with the bills. Fundraising for higher education and hospital bills is just normal, and people do it with love. There is a good spirit when it comes to helping each other. The little one gives is appreciated and everyone has something to offer: firewood, fetching water or helping with work. Marriages are also a big boost to the community. Celebration and parties helps us all to keep a balance in life. Little sister Wambui's Jubilee was a community celebration, and the Church was packed. Although Wambui did not want a celebration, people challenged her saying that it was not just a personal celebration but for all the community in the sense that no one person grows alone. Christians from the Kebeneti zone arrived at 11 am and left at 6 pm.

For newcomers, the biggest challenge is the language.

Repercussions after the violence surrounding the 2007 elections are still felt. There is still a lot of suspicion and many Internally Displaced People (IDP). During the Referendum, tensions ran high but in the end, all turned out well.

The Government has done a lot to improve the transport industry and roads have been repaired. Although some have been tarmaced, maintenance is still a big challenge. Chinese cars are popular and you see them everywhere. Unfortunately they cause lots of accidents. In the country you could say everywhere is now within reach!

Since October 18th 2010, Kebeneti has become a parish with a resident parish priest. The Bishop was clear he wanted Kebeneti to become a parish. Once the Christians in our zone understood he was serious, they invested their time and resources to build the priest's house. They gave their labour, dug the foundations and fetched water, both women and men. Those who had no money gave their energy and came to do the manual work. It was very encouraging., We are part of the process of discerning and planning how to go about the building and how to welcome the priest. When he arrived we had a big feast.

Water is a still a big challenge. What helps is harvesting rainwater. The population has grown, and the spring that is the source of our water is small. It uses gravity and is free but it does not reach us. We have a new neighbour who is friendly and generous. Now he has built a very big house and has installed his own system for drawing water from the same source. He allows his neighbours to come and fetch water and we too can connect a hose pipes to bring water to our underground tanks. He and his wife live and work in Nairobi.

We are happy now that we have the Eucharist regularly and we do not feel deprived spiritually giving importance to building up our community life together. Our priority is to focus on what each one can do and offer reaching out and loving each other and all whose life we share.