Reflections on Kajiado: Ted Sherwood.

My first thoughts relate to the fact that a group of 8 can undertake a trip of this nature and never once did I hear a word spoken in anger or a disagreement concerning any of the tasks individuals involved.
Secondly my stand out memory is of the colour, vibrancy, good nature and willingness to please of the Masaai people. Despite what seems to us to be an onerous existence they appear to carry on with their lives in a most positive and engaging manner.
With the Deans (of two Cathedrals) arrival at Hurley House we set upon the task of transferring all the gift bags to the College Minibus.We set off for the airport aware we had to babysit them until the arrival of the rest of the travelling group.
The ACK compound in Kajiado was quite an eye opener. Basic but functional, and also interesting by way of the fact an income was generated by renting units to various organizations. Our welcome from the Bishop and his Staff was both warm and genuine.All our meals were wholesome and tasty and the conversations around the mealtable allowed us to get to know one another before embarking on the main purpose of our mission.
The visit to the Girls school made me realise what a privileged position I had enjoyed over 38 years teaching. The Dorms, Classrooms and most of all the Kitchen facilities were extremely basic and yet the exam pupils we met were all smilling, happy and appeared content with their lot. When the opportunity arises I will endeavour to fundraise in order to complete the plastering and painting of the girls toilets and showers.
The journey to Oltiasika begins with packing the Land Rover before heading across the plains where we enjoy our first viewing of the African animals in the wild. Ostrich, Wildebeest, Hartebeast, Zebra, Giraffe, Gazelle,Secretary birds,Bustard. For those on their first African visit this was an exciting journey, hot and bumpy over murren tracks and yet we all shared a feeling of expectation and purpose. Our lunch stop under the tree on the plains gave us our first view of the Chulu hills.
With a background of Mt. Kilmanjaro our compound was primitive but perfectly adequate for our needs, wooden huts, long drop toilets,solar heated showers, and unfortunately broken fridges which meant that we had no meat for the duration of our stay.
Our first visit to the cisterns was initially very disappointing as we realised that a great deal of work had still to be carried out before completion. Even the cathchment area of 60 by 30 metres was only half complete. A great deal of work needed to be undertaken before the arrival of the Bishop for the dedication.
Sunday service under the tree down on the plains was an unusual experience highlited by the Deans sermon and the dancing and singing of the Massai women. That evening I enjoyed a working model conversation with Paul that concluded with the awareness of 300mms. of rain would fill the cisterns and this would provide around 2000 Massai, 7 litres of water for 48 days. In reality a wonderful benefit to the local community.
The days settled into a sort of routine with a nightly reflection but I suppose for me to address our group on the subject of Equality was a first. It was obvious that all participants had given a great deal of thought and research in order to make us think about the nature of their talks.The Bishop (Patrick) served Holy Communion using Coke and oatmeal biscuits as Host and wine and when questioned his reply was it was”the real thing”.
My interest in Land Rovers was accentuated by a most interesting interview with Ronnie where he explained all the modifications he had undertaken in order to make it fit for purpose in Africa. I will send photographs and script to LRO in due course.
Certainly one of my highlights was travelling around the hills in the Land Cruiser collecting plastic chairs and benches for the dedication ceremony. Unfortunately the cisterns remained uncovered but at least the catchment was covered in concrete. Setting up the chairs in the clearing was done in the traditional fashion for us not realising that the men would all sit on one side, the women on the opposite and a space left in the middle for the choirs to sing and dance. I felt it a shame that the tribal elders used the opportunity to lobby the Bishop on matters concerning the area. Although shaded by trees 2.5 hours of this in the heat was a bit much. We all looked forward to some meat but the stew was overtaken by some wonderful hot chappaties.
Ronnie and Maggie really coordinated everything so well over the course of our time but our 3 pieces of bar b q goat that evening had to be followed by brown bread and peanut butter sandwiches in order to placate our rumbling tummys.
With celebrations over we were fortunate to travel back to Kajiado by way of Amboseli Game ParK. In a way this was back to civilization as we had real coffee in Oltikia lodge and a super lunch in Serena while viewing a serious number of animals on our game drive. Elephants were a highlight for me as they appeared in such numbers, a downside was the number of dead zebra and antelope that has suffered from the prolonged drought conditions.
The Clergy convocation in Emmanuel Cathedral was blighted by his Grace The Archbishop of Kenyas 2.5 hour speech. I certainly did not look forward to speaking about Leadership following that. The most exciting part of the day was enjoying a coffee in Sizzlers Hotel with Bishop Patrick and the others before delivering my reflection on Blessings and Blessed.
It was interesting to visit Ronnie and Maggies home in Isanya and yet disappointing to see the level of dilapidation and closure of the many buildings and farm implements that had been donated to the Rural Massai project. There is great hope for the future that includes the building of a shopping center. This could sustain the community into the future and perhaps direct agricultural projects that would enhance the life of the Massai.
The journey to Ilmaru and the Bishops homeplace will never be forgotten. On route through the bush we found a number of vehicles unable to cross the river. Ronnie and Land Rover to the rescue as we pulled ad hoisted all of them across.
What a colourful experience as 2500 people gathered for the celebration. The tented village was inspiring as was the singing and dancing by numerous choirs in full regalia. To sit on the dais was a real experience and we all felt so proud as Bishop Patrick gave his speech. It was amazing to think that everyone who attended was fed and watered adequately. Our return journey was a repeat of the morning crossing of the river except this time we were forced to deliver a good deal more cars across. The sing song in the back of the Toyota on the way home lifted everyones spirits.The journey back to Nairobi was marked by a visit to the Galleria center and lunch in the new Hub before Evanson picked me up and whisked me off to the Windy Ridge in Karen and the start of the next two weeks in Kenya
For all the work and fundraising on behalf of CMSI and the knitting in schools. The organization and itinerary set by Ronnie and Maggie and the fellowship we all enjoyed together will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always remember the manner in which our Bishop rolled up his sleeves, got stuck in and set an example by way of leadership and commitment that ensured we all enjoyed a successful and enriching exoerience both spiritually and physically.