Monday, May 10, 2010

Going to church

On Sunday morning we split into groups to worship at three different Friends churches. Two of these were in Nakuru – the main church and one that serves a poor area of crowded homes. I went out of town, to Njoro, a small agricultural town.

We arrived at church at 9:00am as the small a capella choir was beginning to sing. Later they were supplemented by an electronic keyboard player, but they did just fine without that – they made a delicious sound. The half dozen of us visitors were all asked to stand at the front and introduce ourselves, which we did, bringing greetings from our home meetings and churches. I was very relieved not to be asked to preach, but later we were asked to sing a hymn to the congregation. It pays to be prepared. Valerie, from Australia, was quick to her feet to teach us all a chorus. The pastor preached on a range of texts for almost two hours; altogether it was a three hour service.

We explored the clinic next door, for which the United Society of Friends Women of Nairobi Yearly Meeting had raised the funds a few years ago. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of doctors in Kenya and with the salaries that the community can afford they have not been able to retain the staff, so a solid and well-equipped building is not being put to full use. We had tea in the church hall and left for a picnic lunch.

The three groups reconvened and we had a picnic lunch in Nakuru National Park, just before the entrance gates where serious money has to be paid, so we only saw the flamingoes as a long pink stripe in the distance. We had a fun encounter with a couple of vervet moneys when we parked under a tree in which they were playing. As we photographed them, one jumped into our van, eager to get to our sandwiches. It was chased away, but we decided to move some distance away to eat lunch.

Next, we went into the town to do some shopping (our reward for several days of non-stop planning work from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.) Nancy, clothes shopper par excellence, had learnt that if we could supply the fabric, a seamstress could stop by where we are meeting early Monday morning. She would measure us and deliver back garments ready made by Wednesday morning. Sounded perfect. We would have locally-made clothes to wear to the FWCC Africa Section meeting in Western Kenya later in the week. So we split up into small groups, each with a Kenyan to help us negotiate, and went to a fabric market and bought our cloth.

Just as we reached the hotel where the minibuses were parked there was a torrential storm, so we had our cups of tea under plastic sheeting on the terrace, then went in search of the equator.

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