Posted by: MamaPatricia | May 18, 2007

Dispatch 3

On several occasions we have visited other parishes in this diocese. The first place we went to was Rateng. We visited the shamba, which is the farm that Mama Koyo has started for her women’s unity group. This will teach other women how to farm and then harvest their goods for a profit. We went to Sunday service after the visit to the farm. The church service was held on the future foundation of the bigger church that they will build. At this service we baptized Mary Patricia. The mother of the baby gave me her child to hold. I stunned to see this baby wrapped in a wool blanket. It must have been in the high 90’s outside. I had to use handy wipes to keep me cool. Unfortunately in my using of them I completely wiped off my sunscreen from the back of my neck. I got terrible sunburn from the walk back to the church home.

Later in the week Bishop and Mama took us to two churches south of here. The road we took was unbelievable. The ruts were so deep from the rains. They have made some attempts to correct them, by placing large cement pipes over the road with dirt in front of them. We bottom out so many times. We visited Bishop Koyo’s mother’s home and the place of his birth. He grew up right on the shores of the lake. The people in that area grow rice. I had never seen a rice field before. It was something to see. They even stopped and got me a small plant so I could see how it grows. We later then traveled to visit the church St John Lake View. This was an unannounced visit to the church. The people were surprised to see. They welcomed us warmly and showed us around the church. The breeze from the Lake made me homesick for Lake Erie. After seeing their church, we went down to the lake. We went through an area of banana trees and tall papaya grass. The Lake was beautiful. There were fishing boats near the shore. When we leaving the people gave us different roots that the people eat here. Mama showed me aloe plants and showed me how they use them to make designs in the mud floors. They use everything nothing is wasted. We then drove down to a small fishing village to see the different types of net that they use. The young fisherman we so excited to show us everything. They loved when we took their pictures. Back on the road again we went to visit the church at Odenya. By the time we arrived it was dusk. The people came and were so excited to see us. They showed us their church and then wanted us to visit the pastor’s home, which was near the church. It was a mud and stick home with a metal roof and dirt floor. They asked us to sit on the couch. When I sat down the rooster behind the couch protested and scared the heck out of me. After a short visit we were getting ready and they gave me the rooster! They also gave us bananas and rice. I wondered how this chicken was going home with us! The chicken rode in the boot (what we call the trunk) along with the other items. We went home in total darkness. I was stunned to see the sheer volume of people that were walking the roads so late at night.

This past Sunday, we went to Fr. Tobias’ church, which is north of us. We left early in two vehicles. There were many in the truck bed and many in the car. We went north through Kisumu. As soon as you leave Kisumu, you approach the hills. I prayed that the cars would make it up the steep hills. The car is 33 years old and the truck around 15. We crossed the equator near the top. I of course had my picture taken by the marker. I can remember as a child tracing my finger around the globe of the world and wondered what it would be like to cross the equator. I found the experience exciting.

Fr. Tobias’ church is about 30 kilometers from Uganda. The hills that we traveled through were beautiful and unusual. There were random large boulders just sitting at the tops of the hills. It looked like God just placed them here and there. The countryside was so lush and green. The people in that area make bricks out of the ground, which is dark red. As with the other Sunday’s, there were many people out walking to church. The truck overheated just toward the end and we needed to get water from an area home. When we arrived, so many people reached out to touch our hands and greet us. I have been told that I have been the first white woman to visit their church. Fr Tobias is a dairy farmer. I checked out the cows with Fr. Tobias. He was very proud of them. We had breakfast and then proceeded to the church. We passed the actual church and went to a covered pavilion down the road. There were over 300 people there. I am not sure when the service started but I know it finished around 5! Three men were ordained deacons. It was beautiful. After the service we had dinner and left for home. We had three more people with us this time till we reached the next town were they caught a bus to their home. We got back to our place around 9:30 and fell into bed. I have never slept so well as I have here!

I wanted to take the time and tell a few people how helpful they were with some of the things they sent me with. The box of items that WOAM gave me has been invaluable. I use most all of it but I am most grateful for the sun lotion. The children love the flashlight that I wind up. Barb McNeil showed me some sugar free packets that I can put into bottles of water. We have used them all the time Barb! Thanks Julie Pieper who gave me some Avon products from the woman’s gathering (clericus) last year. I use the one small net bag for my soap in the shower. It will stay here for future trips. Pam Kline blessed me with an African cover up. I use this all the time Pam, back and forth to the shower and for dinner at night. Pam also gave me a journal. I had not started to use it and one of the woman here commented on it. She takes good care of us cleaning our room and doing the laundry and my plan is to give it to her when I leave. Her name is Pamela too Pam and she is the head teacher at the school and I know she would just love it. I will tell her that it is from another teacher named Pamela back in the states. This young lady is a widow and lost her 7-month-old son last year. I wanted to thank my boss Laurie Saunders OTR CHT, for giving me the time off from work. I will be calling you on Labor Day to find out what time you need me on Tue! How are my tomato plants Marj?
I want to thank my daughter Anne for her mother’s day gift she made for me. It is a necklace that is green, black and red, the colors of Africa. I wear it whenever I can. My granddaughter Faith gave me a silver ring with a purple stone and I never take it off. I think of you so often Faith when I see it. And last but not least I want to thank everyone for the constant prayers. It has made such a big difference in my life and the lives of these people! You have made a difference in future of Africa. Now that is BIG.

The entrance processionmoreThe baptism of Mary Patricia

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