Swahili New Testament Project

Bibles are available in Swahili, but a full Bible is expensive and thus, not available to the masses. When you only make about 300 shillings a day ($3) and most of that goes to household expenses, you’re not going to go out and buy a 900 shilling Bible. It’s almost an impossibility for the average villager to save up enough money to buy a full Bible if they have pressing family responsibilities.

Though Kingdom Driven Ministries would love to see everyone have their own Bible, we also know that without some “skin in the game,” if you will, a Bible freely given is likely going to sit on a shelf as a showpiece, collecting dust. Thus, it has generally been our policy to give Bibles only to those who have surrendered to Christ, repented of their sins, and been baptized into new life. We encourage all new disciples to take the study of the Scriptures seriously for their own spiritual growth.

We have partners who help us buy Bibles, but the cost has even given us pause. For a while, we were able to buy New Testaments, as opposed to full Bibles, and this seemed a good solution. New Testaments were more economical and, as a friend of ours has said, a New Testament lets people “meet Jesus on the first page.” However, this changed recently when the Kenya Bible Society stopped publishing its New Testament.

After some conversations with ministry partners, we decided to embark on a New Testament publication project. We found an open-source Swahili translation online, but it needed work–it had some errors, and was in fact missing the book of Philippians! With a micro-loan secured to pursue the project, we hired a well-recommended translator, who polished up the open source text and translated Philippians, primarily from the NASB. With review, and a faux-leather cover design completed, the Swahili New Testaments were near-complete.

swahili bible cover

We organized with a Nairobi-based printer for a print run of 3,000 Bibles–that gave us the best price for a quantity that would fit in a limited storage space. Must admit, picking them up in a mini-van had us worried about the weight after we realized just what a quantity of 3,000 New Testaments looks like!

swahili bibles

This was only the beginning! Back to front, the van was full by the time all the Bibles were loaded.

Bible distribution is an ongoing work of KDM, and with your partnership we are able to do more! If you would like to contribute to this aspect of the ministry, visit www.kingdomdriven.org/donate. A donation earmarked toward “The Great Commission” can be used for Bible distribution, or note “Bibles” during the checkout process. Many thanks to all of our partners who help us get the Word out!

 

 

Market Day

012017Sunday is one of the busiest days for the people of our small village. Besides being a worship day, it is also a market day. In many African towns and villages, there is a special day where all people gather together in a central location to purchase the goods they need. These special locations are commonly known as market centers, while the day is known as market day.

Market centers have existed in many of African societies from ancient days. In those days, various communities would gathered together in a chosen and strategic location on a special day, for the purpose of exchanging goods and services. This system of trading was referred as  the barter trade system. Barter is a system of exchange where goods and services are directly exchanged for other goods or services, without using a medium of exchange such as money. These barter days were also known as ” silent trade,” because every community had their own native language and there was no common language; thus, trade was conducted with very little exchange of words.

During the times of trade, it was the main duty of the local chief and the village elders to identify the best locations and separate the special days for this activity. When regional trade came into existence, communities were forced to select another location which was easily accessible by all the communities involved in the trade activities. This was the beginning of the modern trade centers and market days.

Every region had its own trade centers and specific days to meet.  As well, different communities had their own unique commodities that were their trademark. This specialization is what gave rise to these market centers. One group were well-known producers of farm produce, while their neighbors would only produce animal products. Communities along  water bodies were known for fishing, while  their neighbors were gifted in art and crafts. For these communities to easily benefit from the diversity of production, it was a must for a common and special location and day to be established.

Our village market center is among the oldest markets that emerged as a result of this ancient trade practice. Unlike the ancient times where trade was through barter, today people gather from different communities every Sunday to exchange and buy services and goods using the medium of money.

Traders from different communities bring their products every Sunday morning for the purpose of selling or exchanging them, or in some special situations they will return to the old practice of barter. Farmers will bring their farms’ produce: grains, vegetables, eggs, and fruit. You will find also different household stuffs: plastic furniture, clothes and shoes, kitchen utensils and items, bedding materials. This is also a good day for different fundis, (or, “experts” in Swahili) to market their services. These include: mechanic, boda boda (motorbike) transport, barber services, shoe repair, tailoring, local medicines, and many more.

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Market days are not always peaceful and orderly. Because many people from different communities are present in the market center, it is not uncommon to witness incidents of violence, chaos, theft, physical and verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and other forms of vices. Nonetheless, the county government has always striven to provide a conducive atmosphere and suitable trade environment by employing security personnel during market days. This is to ensure that trade is not disrupted and also to check upon the hygienic condition of the market and the quality standards of the products in the market center.

 

Celebrating Victor’s Life

The brethren here in our local fellowships have pulled together in an amazing way over these past few days to honor the life of our brother, Victor, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. We are more than thankful for the saints from afar whose financial gifts have made all of these arrangements easier, removing a large burden from both Victor’s family and the church at this time.

The burial took place yesterday (Wednesday, the 18th of May) at the home of one of Victor’s relatives. Our church’s wazee and deacons faithfully managed all the details, from food for the mourners, to transport for various brethren, to tents, chairs, PA system. Many of our church’s ladies volunteered their time from Tuesday onward, to prepare the massive amounts of food that would be served after the burial.

Here are some photos from the day’s activities:

Victor suffered for about six years from cancer. Neither his family nor various government agencies could help him, but our local chief asked Kingdom Driven Ministries  for help about two years ago. Because of our involvement in his care, Victor heard the message of the Gospel, repented of his sins, and was baptized into Christ. Eventually we helped Victor find a new home, where he lived in close contact with several other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Though occasionally discouraged because of his illness, and particularly at the end, because of pain, Victor always had a ready smile and rarely complained. He regularly attended the weekly “wazee” (elders) meeting; though he was still a relatively young man (only in his 30s), he was welcomed by the wazee because he had experienced ill health and suffering, which gave a different perspective on life than other youth. When called upon to teach during Discovery Bible Study or share a testimony during the weekly fellowship, Victor did so with an understanding of the Scriptures but even more, with a sense of deep relationship with God. Though of course not a perfect man, he was quick to repent when he fell short. We will miss our brother’s dedication, his friendship, and his warm smile. Thank you again for all you’ve done to assist with his medical needs and improve the quality of his life for the time that he remained with us. We praise God that Victor will enter into our Father’s rest.

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Games Kenyan Children Play

020Children love to play. In every country, culture, home and continent, children play. Playing fulfills a vital role in childhood development. Without games to play, physical and mental  development of the children will be delayed. The basic similarity between a black child and a white child, an African child and an Asian child, a Kenyan child and an American child is that all have games they play. The only difference is in the types of games they play.

Since the dawn of civilization, Kenyan children have been playing many different games. Some of these games still exist today, while others melted away when the heat of technology and other online  games were introduced in the land, especially in the cities and urban towns. In the villages and communities where modern and western games have not found lodging, children continue to play their traditional games.

Among the common games that Kenyan children play is the tricky hide and seek; this takes at least the minimum of four children. One child will be asked to close his/her eyes or be hoodwinked with a piece of cloth so that the rest will run and hide in secret places; after few minutes the seeker will open the eyes or untie the cloth and start to seek others. In this version of the classic game, an object is placed in the center of the playing ground; if the seeker discovers the hiding place of one child, he runs to the object and hits it. The one who was discovered first will become the seeker in the next round of game. And if all the hiders hit the object before the seeker reveals them, he remains to be the seeker.

Many boys love to play marbles, known as “banta”  in Swahili. Often it is not really marbles; it can be nuts, seeds, stones, or dried fruits. Boys also learn how to make kites using plastic bags, strings and sticks. Often only “city boys” are expert in making kites, as compared to their village comrades.

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Children playing with fruits, as marbles

002In the neighborhoods where old and worn out bicycle, motorbike, and vehicle tires can be found, they become a playing tool for the children. You will find that rich children will play with vehicle tires taken from their parents’ cars, while the poor children will play with bicycles tires. Regardless of the form and type of the tire used, it is no less amusing to see them endlessly propel the tire forward with any good stick(picture on the right, a child with an old bicycle tire).

Girls plays with dolls made from old pieces of clothes, wood, or even plastic. Those who have parents in a good position financially will enjoy playing with real dolls.

Football (soccer) is the most common game Kenyan children play, both in the urban towns and rural villages. You will find children from different estates or villages coming together every evening after school and every weekend to compete in this sport. Many children cannot afford to own a real leather ball, but this to the children is a little matter. Almost every child knows how to make a paper-made ball. These balls are made from rolling plastic bags and tying them firmly together using ropes.

Skipping and jumping rope is one of the favorite games for young girls, especially those of lower grades (class 2 up to class 5). This game starts from the ankle, working all the way up to the neck. You only need a skipping rope, but many use stockings as an alternative to the ones you can buy at the store. In the game, two players stand on each end of the rope, swinging it in a circle motion, often while singing a song. A third player will start to skip and jump in the middle, as the rope turns. The two players on each end start swinging the rope low, which is easy for the jumper, then gradually progress by lifting the rope higher and higher to the knee, the thigh, then waist, until the third player can’t jump any higher. While the girls enjoy skipping, boys will find much fun in long-jumping and hopscotch. In most schools, children are taught these games as physical education.

Bird hunting, swimming, bicycle riding, fishing, and swinging are among many other games that village children love to play. Play is a universal need for children; only location and available resources determine how it will be met.

 

 

April Medical Update

These days, Kingdom Driven Ministries is fortunate enough to have a deacon who oversees our churches’ and community’s medical needs, so we don’t directly meet all those we help. We also don’t always know their stories, which is somewhat of a disappointment since we have been so personally involved in this aspect of the ministry since our arrival in Kenya in 2012. To compound the slight disconnect, we’ve also recently been blessed to be able to hire an office staff member, who has been charged with various administrative tasks. This includes taking photos and interviewing patients post-treatment, so that we can give a good update to our medical ministry partners.

As we looked forward to preparing the April medical report, I asked our trusty reporter to take some representative photos and see if he could get a few good stories. He brought back some photos, but shook his head sadly, saying, “There are no stories this month. Everyone just had malaria.”

We did have a few special cases that were referred to the District Hospital, but diagnoses are rarely provided in those cases, so reporting is difficult. As well, it is hard to follow up with those patients who are farther away or may not be well-known to those who work with the ministry. I thought that later on, as I looked at the month-end receipts from the clinic, I might be able to suggest a specific follow-up. But when the time came, indeed—with only two exceptions of pneumonia—everyone was, in fact, treated for malaria.  Sometimes “malaria, and…” typhoid, asthma, or what have you; but the initial diagnosis was always malaria. It must just be the season. But we thank God for the support that enables us to treat all these sick folks. Believe me, malaria is no fun. The local population has such a high resistance to malaria, and such strength in enduring it, that by the time they come asking for treatment you can be sure that they are miserable. Many were elderly or young children, so their treatment was a particularly pressing need.

Two of the sweet girls who were treated for malaria

Thus, though we don’t have any particularly touching stories, I can assure you that all those who were treated in their time of need are grateful for the assistance our partners so generously provide. Our month-end regular medical expenses totaled almost $400 for the treatment of 20 patients.

We also addressed several continuing special medical cases. Five-year-old Michael Wafula was finally able to be fitted with a new brace to help correct his spine after a bout with spinal TB. Praise the Lord!

The young man Micah Juma, who has some pressing injuries resulting from a road accident some time ago, has spent the last six weeks or so on a regimen of antibiotics, in anticipation of his body healing enough to perform required surgery on his leg. He returned to the hospital recently for a consultation but, in spite of traveling to the appointment and waiting for some time, the surgeon turned out not to be available. We are tentatively going to consult with a different hospital to see if the leg surgery can be performed elsewhere.

We continue to provide for pain medication and other needs for our brother, Victor, who is struggling with cancer. Though he recently visited Uganda for another round of radiation and followed up with an oncologist here in Kenya, the assessment was that the radiation might not be effective and that palliative care may be the only remaining option. Indeed, it appears the cancer has metastasized and Victor continues to suffer. Please keep him in your prayers. We are discussing next steps and looking for consultation on providing some sort of hospice care for our brother.

All told, our special medical needs amounted to approximately $360 during the month of April. We thank all those of you who continue to provide for all these needs!

 

Extend the Circle Of Compassion

005Anthony Mirundu, age 32, a resident of Muungano village, husband to Agnes and the father of three children, is one of the patients who has recently been sent to us by the local government authority seeking medical assistance. Brother Anthony is a very poor man who has been suffering from a serious wrist wound which started in early 2011 as a small sore infection, but slowly grew and became a terrible problem to him and his entire family.

Late in 2011, he was admitted to Kakamega General Hospital for a while, and due to financial constraints he was discharged from the hospital without receiving any medical assistance. His relatives and friends contributed a little money and took him to another local hospital, Kitale District Hospital, for examination. After a wrist X-ray, it was reported that there was “an expansible osteolytic soap-bubble lesion of the distal radical metaphysics.” There was also large soft tissue mass and minimal soft tissue ossification; the conclusion of the report was radial bone neoplasm, likely chondrosacroma, which is the cause of Osteosacroma disease (a malignant bone tumor).

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Being without any source of income, Anthony was unable to seek for further medical assistance, and instead he visited the local chief’s office to find help. In turn, the chief also sought compassion from Kingdom Driven Ministries.

Our desire is to show compassion to Anthony and alleviate his suffering. But as we all have our own limitations, it is not always possible to do good at all seasons and to all people. Perhaps it is good if I borrow the wise words of Cyrus the Great, the ancient prince of the Persian people, to drive the point home:

“And I think that no virtue is practiced by men except with aim that the good, by being such, may have something more than the bad; and I believe that those who abstain from present pleasures do this not that they may never enjoy themselves, but by this self-restraint they prepare themselves to have many times greater enjoyment to come.”

As Christ-followers, we know that as we sacrifice to meet the pressing needs of others, we indeed store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. These works should be directed by our God-given compassion. Albert Einstein said,

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.”

It is true that we so often see what is immediately before us and concern ourselves with those closest to us. Yet we should all challenge ourselves with the words of Jesus himself: if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” So in a case such as Anthony’s, perhaps you can help us to extend our circle of compassion. If you would like to donate to help us assist Anthony with his medical need, please visit www.KingdomDriven.org/donate. You can earmark to Urgent Needs/Medical or note that it is for Anthony. May God bless you for your generosity and also for your much-needed prayers as we seek a way forward.

 

 

 

What Does Sunday Fellowship Service Look Like?

Sunday is one of the most special days for many Christians all over the world. We commemorate anew that the Lord Jesus Christ overcame  and defeated the power of Hades and conquered the power of death by rising from dead. In this day the entire human race was given great hope and possibility of true immortality and life of eternity; indeed, Sunday is a special day.

Since the infancy of the church, early Christians held this day as a very sacred and unique day of the week. It was the day that all the followers of Christ (the church) would gather together in their homes to be in fellowship with God the father and the son through the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was also the day for the saints to be in communion with one another.

In the early church, Sunday was not the day for powerful sermons from charismatic individuals; rather, it was the day for the powerful teacher, the Holy Spirit, to minister to the church through the ordinary saints. It was not the day for special entertainment and show, rather it was the day of true worshiping of God in truth and spirit. The saints would gather together in humility and sincerity to strengthen one another through interactive, Spirit-led fellowship. It was a special day for remembrance as the Lord Jesus promised his disciples,

” These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” ( John 14:25-26)

According to apostle Paul, the church service was all about edification and listening to the Holy Spirit of God, the sharing of the spiritual gifts imparted to the saints by God. In his epistle to the saints of Corinth, he admonished them saying,

” What is the outcome then, brethren ? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching,  has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by the two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the under pass judgement. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is a not God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. ( 1 Corinthians 14)

In all of our local Sunday fellowships here in East Africa, with humility and sincerity we strive to adhere to and imitate the ancient practice of church service. We honor those who came before us, we learn from those that taught us the way of church because they  also were taught by the Lord himself through the Holy Spirit.

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The church of Saboti that meets at Patrick’s house.

In our Sunday fellowships, baptized men, both old and young who are filled with the Spirit, are allowed to share and contribute their spiritual gifts for the purpose of edifying the church. While women are restricted from teaching men in the church, they are allowed to sing psalms and hymn to the Lord and share their testimonies with the church, just as it was instructed by the great founder of the churches:

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive as the law also says.” ( 1 Corinthians 14)

For the sake of our conscience and obedience to God, we encourage our women to be silent and submissive during Sunday service and also to cover their heads as their  symbol of God’s authority over their heads, according to the scriptures:

” But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.” ( 1Corinthians 14).

In these fellowships saints have struggles, challenges and difficulties which need to be addressed. Here the saints are given a chance to share their struggles and request for prayers. The elders of the church will lay hands on them and pray for them.

” Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing  them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.” ( James 5:14)

The deacons of the churches  collect contributions from the saints which will help to meet the needs of the  churches, and the poor and needy in our midst. This practice helps to cultivate the virtue and spirit of giving and sharing among the saints.

These is how the ancient church did their Sunday services, practices which we hope to exemplify in our churches here in East Africa.

 

 

Shopping in the Village

What does it look like to live in a developing nation without electricity, without supermarkets, without automobiles, without all the myriad of things that many people use every day? What does it mean to live in a village where supermarkets don’t exist? A village with very small shops with very few items? This scenario is typical of many small, African villages.

Life can be simplified in two ways: voluntarily, or involuntarily. Simple living asks, how little can a person live with and be satisfied? Or perhaps, how much a person can live without and still be comfortable? Poverty can serve as a strong catalyst in simplification of one’s life. Poverty itself can also be either voluntary or involuntary.

Because of the simplicity of many villages of Africa, supermarket is among the unfamiliar terms which very few people will understand. Small canteens and tiny shops (usually called duka) are what serve the order of the day. Supermarkets are only found in bigger cities and major towns. In the village duka, you won’t find the secondary needs on the display, only the basic needs. You won’t find the luxurious things of life, only the necessities. Here you won’t purchase monthly supplies, only daily supplies. In a supermarket, customers can walk through the aisles and pick up what they need. A duka is usually fully closed-in; customers choose from visible inventory and the shopkeeper passes it through an open window.

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Some people in the villages never see the inside of a supermarket

Most villages have at least two to five shops, which meet all the demands of the villagers. These shops sell only basics and primary supplies that are necessary for the welfare of the families. The shops usually all sell similar commodities, which mainly are  food stuffs and other basic needs: sugar, bread, rice, cooking oil, wheat flour, salt, soaps and washing detergents, sodas, tissues, sweets and few other things. The quantity of washing detergent is usually 10 or 20 grams–enough to wash the day’s clothes. Sugar, and even fresh milk, are sold in quantities as small as 1/2 cup–just enough for the day’s chai.

As the old adage says, the earliest bird catches the worm; so, too, are the shopkeepers who wake up early in the morning. Because all village shops sell similar commodities, it is only those shopkeepers who open their shops very early and stay open after the sun sets that will make a higher profit. An average shop will make about 300-500 KSH ($3-5) profit every day, but this profit might change during the harvest seasons as the circulation of money will be higher at those times.

These shops are normally open early in the morning at around 6:30 a.m, and close late in the evening around 8:30. Usually women are responsible for running the shops during the day while men work in different areas, often farming. A shopkeeper can serve a minimum of 30- 50 people every day, depending on the time he/she opens the shop.

In many villages the task of running a shop is undertaken by the average, bright minds who are able to deal with little calculations, keeping records, giving accurate balances and accounting. Shopkeepers are viewed as a life -line of village life and a main cornerstone of the community foundation. These small village shops have uplifted the living standards of the village people, providing sources of employment and boosting the economic growth of the nation.

 

Man and Food

Naturally, man does a lot of things in his few and brief fleeting moments under the sun. Some of his daily activities seem so mundane yet very vital and important for his survival. Many take the ordinary activity of eating for granted, offering it little attention or reverence. But in reality, food is essential and vital for every living species in the universe. Food is the well spring of life and vitality.

No doubt, both the man in the White House and the poor man in a mud and grass house need food to gladden their souls. A king and a slave both need food to satisfy their hunger. Both rich and poor rise every morning and retire late in the evening to toil and labor for their daily food. Food is the focal point of man’s life; the only point where both races meet, and the vital activity that all living beings share in common.

The entire process of man’s deception, seduction and manipulation revolved and centered on the subject of food ( fruit ) and the eating (see Genesis 3). Crafty serpent fully knew the weakness of mankind laid on their vulnerability and dependence on food;  he deceived where it was hard to resist.When God cursed man, his punishment also rested on the matter of food:

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it  all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you,  and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food…

In another ancient account, the man Abraham  demonstrated his hospitality and generosity to his divine guests by preparing and offering a delicious meal,

      So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. ” Quick,” he said, ” get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.

” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.” (Genesis 18)

Jacob deceived his old father Isaac with a palatable lamb meal, and thus stole Esau’s blessing ( Genesis 27). And again Jacob robbed poor Esau’s birthright with a delicious stew ( Genesis 26:27).

In the gospel account, we also learn of the vital role that food had in the life and ministry of Jesus,

Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, ” Rabbi, eat.”
But He said to them,” I have food to eat that you do not know about.
So the disciples were asking to one another, ” No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” ( John 4:31-34).

In His compassion to the multitude of the people, He fed five thousand with two pieces of fish and five loaves of bread ( Luke 9:12-17), and four thousands in the second account. In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus used the celebration and killing of a calf to symbolize the value of food in the spiritual and physical life of a person ( Luke 15:11-12), in the Lord’s prayer He instructed the disciples to remember asking for their daily bread,( Matthew 6:11), He further made it clear the cause of man’s anxiety and worries under the sun, is food and clothing, ” For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” ( Matthew 6:25)

From the Biblical accounts to the present day, food plays a  fundamental role in every man’s life and every community.  Man needs his food to survive; thus, the creator of life has allowed sun and rain to help the land to produce all the food varieties ever known. Every community has their traditional foods, every family their staples, and every person their favorite.  Each food has its unique preparation and preservation.

In Kenya,  food plays an important role in uniting families and enhancing stability in the communities. Urban folks have different foods compared to the village folks. Most average village families, just like those in the West, take three meal a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Breakfast is often milk tea and a few slices of bread. In other homes corn meal porridge is the favorite morning meal. Families gather together for the morning meal. In a Christian family, the father, who is the head, will lead the family in prayer and thanksgiving. In the case of a traditional family, libation will be offered to the ancestors. A normal breakfast will cost at least  50KSH (50 cents) every day. Breakfast is normally eaten between 7 and 8 AM.

A002fter daily tasks and duties are done and the children are back from school, the family will come together again for their second meal. Many families in these villages use githeri (a mixture of maize and beans) as the best meal of the day, perhaps because of its high starch and heaviness. People’s main food, especially for dinner, is Ugali or fufu (corn meal). Ugali is a starch dish made from maize flour, which is stirred in boiling water to make it solid and eatable. It often goes well with greens or beef stew.

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Githeri for lunch

Of course, in the village, cooking is done in large pots over three stones (see Water and Fire, part 2).  Even making  a simple meal like githeri requires much time in sorting beans and cleaning maize; to say that many villagers eat this simple meal doesn’t show the many hours of labor involved in these efforts. May this article stir your reverence and appreciation to God for the gift of food for nourishment of man’s body. Remember to share your meal with the less privileged and the hungry.

Kingdom Driven Ministries is blessed to partner with those who care about feeding the poor; we  stock bags of maize (our community’s staple food) in the KDM office, which our church’s deacon gives to those in need (both from our fellowships and in our community). We want to offer a hand up, not a hand out, so we give 1 Kg per person per week, except in special circumstances. Thank you to all those who make this giving possible!

 

 

Public Education In Kenya

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School uniforms are required, differing based on the school of enrollment

Education holds a great promise for the lives of young people, the growth of nation,s and the strengthening of communities in general. Nowhere will you find more people say that “Knowledge is power” or the promise of a future, than here in East Africa.

Education prepares our youth to be responsible young adults as they look forward to taking on greater responsibilities in the world. Learning how to solve problems, and building desire and capacity to learn, represent the fundamentals of real education. The prevailing view in our area is that education is the means of creating a better nation–free from poverty, diseases and ignorance.

The nation of Kenya has came a very long way in establishing and re-establishing its  public education system over the years. The first missionaries who came to the land, Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann (in the year of 1728) worked with a Swahili manuscript Utendi Wa Tambuka (Book of Heraclius) and established the first mission schools in the country at Rabai, in the coast of Mombasa in 1846. The zeal and thirst for education was stirred and aroused among the people of Kenya. Both government and non-governmental organizations have given education higher advantage, and invested heavily in its provision.

After the end of colonial administration, Kenya government began a campaign to give free public primary education in 1963. Since then, the system and structure of education has undergone transformation and reformation three times. First the system of public education was established in the format of 7-4-2-3: 7 years of primary education, 4 years of secondary education, 2 years of high school and 3-5 years of university education. This system resembles the British public education,wherein children begin their elementary ( primary) education at the age of 7 and complete at age of 13 after sitting for final examination.

In the year of 1985, a new system was introduced, 8-4-4: 8 years of primary education, 4 years of secondary, and 4 years of university education. Two weeks ago, the ministry of education introduced a new system of 2-7-3-3: 2 years in kindergarten, 7 years in primary school, 3 years in secondary school and 3 years in university.

Public Primary Education

Since 2003, education in public schools became free and compulsory. This resulted in high pupil enrollment, overwhelming the number of teachers. In some parts of the country it was reported that one classroom contained 100 pupils with only one teacher. Primary education is free by law. Parents are, however,  required to provide essential supplements that are needed in the learning environment which Kenya government cannot provide: school uniforms (at a cost of 8000-10000 KSH, or $8-$10), fees for desks (500-1000 KSH), lunch fees (1000 KSH) and extra-curricular activities fees (500 KSH).

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Children at our village primary school

Primary education begins at the age of 6-7 after completion of 2 years in kindergarten. The first class or year of primary school is known as standard one, and the final is standard seven. Primary children are called pupils. School semesters at both primary and secondary begin in January and ends in November. Students get three school vacations in April, August and December. The school day starts at 8 a.m and finishes at 4 a.m, from Monday to Friday. Depending on where a child goes to school in relation to home, he may get up while it is still dark to begin the long walk school.

Public Secondary Education

Public secondary schools are divided into three levels: national, provincial and district.. Pupils with the highest scores from primary schools gain admission into national schools, which are more prestigious and offer quality education compared to provincial and district schools. National schools charge higher fees than provincial and districts schools, at least 70,000-80,000 KSH every year. That’s $700-$800; if the average daily wage is 500 KSH, or about $1750 per year, that’s almost half of a family’s annual income! However, if one is accepted into a national school, few parents would refuse to struggle and make payment.

Pupils with average grades will find admission in provincial and district schools, which are still difficult for families to afford. An average provincial school charges 40,000-50,000 KSH ($400-$500) every year, while the district schools might charge only 10,000-20,000 KSH ($100-200) per year. School fees are paid in three terms. In 2008, the government introduced plans to offer free secondary education to all Kenyans, but this has not been successful implemented.

Principal subjects offered in public secondary schools are: English, Swahili, Mathematics, History and Government, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Religious Education, Business and Agricultural Studies.

 

Even free primary school has fees that add up and challenge the average family; once one or more children are enrolled in secondary school, paying school fees is a constant challenge and a burden. However, even those we would consider the most poverty-stricken willingly sacrifice to give their children as much education as possible, as an investment in their future. Currently, Kingdom Driven Ministries  does not assist with paying school fees for children, except in very special cases, simply because the need is just too great. However, we ask you to pray for all of the parents in our towns and villages who want to give their children  the very best hope for the future, and struggle so much to provide it through education.