Habari za asubuhi!! (Good morning!)
Another great day in the rural area. We have spent the last day in Malambo. We are staying at Sister Angelika’s Guest House which is associated with the Nesarian School (“Nesarian” means “peaceful” in Kiswahili) she has established in Malambo. The school has about 350 students from the surrounding area. She runs the school with another wonderful woman, Elizabeth. Both are from Germany and they are doing great work here in this very remote town. Unlike Maasae Girls Lutheran Secondary School (MGLSS), this is a school for both boys and girls and it is not a boarding school – except for about 20 Secondary girls (to protect against getting sold into marriage). All students are sponsored by caring individuals in Germany and other parts of the world. The school gets about 150 student applications a year but can only take 30 students. As we have seen at MGLSS, the needs are far greater than the resources. The school board works with the local community to identify which students to accept. Since sponsorships are so limited, they will only ever take 1 child from a family as a way to spread the education around the community (this is the same at MGLSS). Can you imagine only allowing one of your children to be educated? Since girls/women have a much harder life here, the school prioritizes girls over boys for enrollment (20 of the 30 students will be girls).
It is obvious that the students understand that education is the way to open the doors to a better life. When a group of students were asked what their favorite thing about being at the school is, the majority responded instantly, “Learning!”. The next set of answers was the food since some of the children only get a meal at the school. Again, the needs here are so great. 🙁
We also learned how the school has created a water filtering system (via some fabulous German engineering) that allows them to have clean drinking water for the main assembly hall and cooking area all year long. This is an incredible accomplishment in a region that only gets 2-3 weeks of rain a year. They are able to store the rain run-off from the roof of the assembly hall in underground storage tanks and then pump (using solar power) the water out of the tanks daily which gets filtered and then pumped up to a cistern that will provide water pressure and the clean drinking water for the school. Incredible! We are getting contact information for the engineers that worked on this and hope to replicate this elsewhere (MGLSS 🙂 ).
After touring the school, we headed out to our church visit of the day today, Malambo Church – which Cross of Christ paid for the roof for in 2012. We wanted to see how things are going and continue to build the relationships with the church and community. Of course, God and Pastor Robert had other plans :-). We drove by the Malambo church and stopped at a very small church, Lepolosi, where we had a great celebration outside in the shade of some big trees. We ate and then they sang for us and began to dance. Of course, the wazungu (the white people) had to join in and dance too! It was great fun and we learned that jumping and dancing for 5 minutes is very tiring (except for Kristine who thought that this was normal 🙂 ).
We then drove to another small church, Ng’abolo, that was just getting built. Before getting to the church, Pastor Robert suggested that we go on a hike to a nearby waterfall. So, we hiked through some wilderness wondering where the water would be (it is so dry and dusty here). After about a half-mile hike, we came to the waterfall. It’s definitely not Snoqualmie Falls, but it was great to see! It’s been hot here (probably in the upper 70’s or 80’s) and the waterfall looked too tempting… So, we all decided to dunk our heads into the falling water. It was very refreshing and fun! It was a great break from the church visits that we have been doing (which are still great!). Here are a couple pictures of the fun we had!.
After hiking back to our vehicles, we headed back to the Ng’abolo church. As with most churches here, the original church is made out of cow dung, mud and sticks. The new church is made from bricks and mortar. They have the walls of the church up and it looks good!
We were again honored as guests and had lunch. The church choir sang and danced for us while we ate.
We presented the church with some monetary support and a couple soccer balls which they really appreciated. The relationship with the church was created and I’m sure there will be benefits from this in years to come (as with all of the churches we have visited).
Due to the hike, the day was getting a little late and so Pastor Robert decided that we could visit the Malambo church tomorrow. So, we headed back to Sister Angelika’s where we got to meet the girls in the Secondary School that live at the school. They sang for us and asked us questions. They were very curious about the youth since it is very rare for the school to have youth visiting with the adults. This has emphasized to us how important our team makeup has been. Having the youth join us not only gives the youth a perspective of life outside of Bellevue or the US, but it also provides the children here a view into our youth’s world too. For example, they had never seen braces before and 3 of our youth have braces. So, they got lots of questions about them (what are they for?, do you take them off at night?). Obviously, braces are a first world luxury but it was fun for both cultures to learn the perspectives of each other!
After dinner, we learned more about the school and then Sister Angelika brought out a guitar and we sang songs – mostly in Kiswahili with some English interlaced into the choruses. It was a great way to end the day. Tomorrow we will visit the Malambo church and then head to Loliondo.
Matt Pohle, on behalf of the 2016 Cross of Christ Mission Rural Team