Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Welcome . . .

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bishop Lawi Imathui

Bishop Lawi Imathiu receive the World Methodist Peace Award in a January 29 ceremony at Kenya Methodist University in Meru, Kenya.

Bishop Imathiu was president of the World Methodist Council from 1986 to 1991, the first African to serve in this capacity.

His father became a Christian as a boy in 1910, one of the first Christians among the Meru tribe.

The bishop himself attended Methodist mission schools for primary, secondary and teacher college training. After serving as a teacher for a year, he accepted the call to ministry and studied at St. Paul's Theological College in Nairobi. He completed studies at London University and in Limuru, Kenya. He also studied at Epworth College in Zimbabwe and received a master of divinity degree from Claremont (Calif.) Theological Seminary. Emory University honored him with a doctor of divinity degree in 1990.

He was the first bishop elected to serve the Methodist Church in Kenya, which became autonomous in January 1967.

During his tenure, the Methodist Church in Kenya grew from 8,000 members in 1970 to more than 225,000 in 2000. The denomination also developed mission outreach to the nomadic Boran, Kisii and Masai people in Kenya and started Methodist work in Uganda and Tanzania.

The bishop was instrumental in founding Kenya Methodist University, which trains Christian leaders in business, agriculture, politics and economics as well as theology.
Currently, he and other national leaders are working to develop a new constitution for Kenya.

story from news.php?articleid=35743 :

Rev Dr Lawi Imathiu of the Methodist Church has been awarded an International Peace Award.
Bishop Lawi Imathiu (right) receives World Methodist Peace Award from the World Methodist Council President, His Eminence Sunday Mbang, at the Kenya Methodist University on Sunday.

More than 2,000 faithful, among them Finance minister David Mwiraria, MPs Peter Munya, Maoka Maore and Kirugi M’Mukindia, witnessed Imathiu being presented with the World Methodist Peace Award in Meru on Sunday.

The ceremony, held at the Kenya Methodist University (Kemu), attracted top clergymen from around the world and local church leaders led by the National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary-General, Rev Mutava Musyimi.

Bishop Imathiu, a one time President of the Methodist Church worldwide, was presented with the award by the current President, His Eminence Sunday Mbang and the World Secretary, Rev George Freeman.

The World Methodist Council created the peace award 30 years ago to be awarded to individuals or groups that have contributed to peace, justice and reconciliation.

Reverse Culture Shock

Returning to America can be a disturbing mixture of pleasure and pain. Pleasure because you are returning to all you love in the States, and pain at leaving all you have grown to love in your host country. Unfortunately, leaving a new home, new friends, and a new culture you have grown accustomed to, makes returning to the States quite a bit more complicated than stepping off the plane.

A couple things to be prepared for upon re-entry to the United States include the following:

Reverse Culture Shock -- Basically, this consists of feeling out of place in your own country, or experiencing a sense of disorientation. While everything is familiar, you feel different. Even walking through the airport and hearing American English spoken can be a very surreal experience.

Re-establishing Relationships -- People you were close with when you left, even those you kept in good contact with, will be separated from you by the unique experiences you have had in each other’s absence. However, this separation is certainly not permanent, and new experiences can make for some very interesting conversation. Just keep in mind that since both of you have changed, you won’t necessarily interact in the same way.

Sharing Your Experience -- Since only you have had your experience, there is no possible way that anyone can fully understand what you have gone through. While people will be interested in what you did abroad, nobody will be quite as interested as you — despite your amazing storytelling skills.

Readjusting -- Fitting your new life into your old one can be frustrating. Since every country has a unique approach to life, it can be difficult if you’re used to operating within cultural mode, or have made that approach to life a part of you, to return to the U.S. where the rules are different. It’s easy to become frustrated with aspects of U.S. culture that no longer make sense to you. Try to keep things in perspective. Bear in mind that every country has its flaws and its strengths. Also be prepared to return to all those little trials you left behind you. You might have journeyed far, far away, but they haven’t.

Returning home is wonderful in so many ways. You can talk to family and friends without a phenomenal fee, you can eat at your favorite restaurant, sleep in your own bed, and whatever else you were looking forward to doing. However, there is always the danger of falling victim to the "grass is greener syndrome."

Just as it is possible to dramatize the glory of your return home, it is also possible once you’ve returned home to over-romanticize your experience abroad. Life is never cookie cutter perfect. Home is not the impenetrable haven you might remember it as at times, and life would still not be flawless, even if you were back in the host country you left behind.

A few things might make re-entry a little easier: talk to others who have studied abroad, keep in touch with those you met abroad, use the emotional momentum to continue cultural interactions (check out on-campus groups like Friends of International Students and Scholars), and be patient with yourself and others. Savor the rare privilege of having two ‘homes’!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Suggested Handouts for Kenya VIM

Because it is hard to format the following, get original datasets from Shannon Lemmons at Oklahoma VIM office.

Books & Movies About Kenya/Africa

Books (many available from Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County):

Atwood, Melinda. Jambo Mama: Memories of Africa. 2000. Cypress House.

Dinesen, Isak (aka Karen Blixen) Out of Africa.

Elkins, Caroline. Imperial reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. 2005. Holt.

Fadiman, Jeffrey A. When We Began, There Were Witchmen: An Oral History From Mount Kenya. 1993. University of California Press

Gallmann, Kuki. African Nights. 2000. Harper Collins. Short stories. Also wrote I Dreamed of Africa.

Goodall, Jane. Any of her books on the animals and the area.

Huxley, Elspeth. Flame Trees of Thika.

Kingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible. Novel about missionaries

McCall Smith, Alexander. No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. Also others in this series: Tears of the Giraffe; The Kalahari Typing School for Men; Morality for Beautiful Girls; The Full Cupboard of Life: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency; and In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

Moss, Cynthia. Portraits in the Wild. Animal behavior studies

Nthamburi, ZablonJohn. A History of the Methodist Church in Kenya, 1862-1967.

Ruark, Robert. Something of Value 1955. (The story of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, as seen through the eyes of a white settler and a black native; also a movie)

Ruark, Robert. Poor No More: A Novel. 1959. Holt.

Ruark, Robert. Uhuru: A Novel of Africa Today. 1962. McGraw-Hill.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. 2005. Penguin Press

Smith, Wilbur – any of his fictional but culturally accurate books on Central and South Africa give a well rounded sense of Africa.

National Geographic Magazine

Some Travel/Guide Books:

Berlitz, Swahili phrase book and dictionary (good for general usage)
East Africa Handbook, from Footprint handbooks by Michael Hodd.
Essential Kenya (Essential Travel Guide Series) by NTC Publishing Group
Frommer’s Touring Guides: Kenya. By Marina Carle.
Insight Guide Kenya by Jeffery Pike
Kenya (A to Z). Justine Fontes and Ron Fontes
Kenya ABCs: A Book About the People and Culture of Kenya. By Sara Hieman, et al.
Lonely Planet Kenya. By Joseph Bindloss
Visiting Kenya. John Brigden
Welcome to Kenya. Alison Auch. Spyglass Books

Videos and DVDs:

There are several videotapes on Kenya that you can check out of the local library.

Watch National Geographic specials on East Africa and Discovery Channel programs on Masai Mara

“Born Free” movies about Joy Adamson

“Flame Trees of Thekai” – this book hs been made into a PBS TV series.

“Ghost in the Darkness” about the building of Mombasa Railroad

“Cheetah” – Disney movie

“Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen about area where we will travel.

“The Air Up There”. US college basketball coach (Kevin Bacon) recruits Maasai youth; very typical of areas we will visit.

Also explore websites on the Internet

Movies About Africa:

The Constant Gardner (2005)

Based on best-selling John le Carré novel. In a remote area of Northern Kenya, activist Tessa Quayle (Rachel Weisz) is found brutally murdered. Her companion, a doctor, appears to have fled the scene and evidence points to a crime of passion. Members of the British High Commission in Nairobi assume Tessa's widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), will leave the matter to them. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumors of his late wife's infidelities, Quayle surprises everyone by embarking on a personal odyssey that will take him across three continents. Using his privileged access to diplomatic secrets, he will risk his own life, stopping at nothing to uncover and expose the truth - a conspiracy more far-reaching and deadly than Quayle could ever have imagined.

Out of Africa (1985)

Karen Blixen, a Danish woman, marries a friend for the title of Baroness and they move to Africa and start a coffee plantation. Things unfold when her husband begins cheating on her and is away on business often, so she's at home alone, working on the farm and bonding with two men she met in her first day in Africa. She eventually falls in love with the one, Denys Finch-Hatton and goes on safari and whatnot with him. Later, she begins to want more from him than the simple friendship/relationship they have and pushes marriage, but Denys still wants his freedom. By the end, she's gained a much better understanding and respect for the African culture than when she came.

The Air Up There (1994)

Jimmy Dolan (Kevin Bacon) is a college basketball coach who wants a big promotion. To get it, he needs to make a dramatic find. He ends up deep in Africa, hoping to recruit Saleh, a huge basketball prodigy Jimmy glimpsed in a home movie. But Saleh is the chief's son and has responsibilities at home, since the tribe's land is threatened by a mining company with its own hotshot basketball team.

“The Flame Trees of Thika" (1981)

Elspeth (Haley Mills) and her unconventional parents decide to settle down in Kenya and begin a coffee plantation. This is a time of discovery for Elspeth, as she encounters the incredible beauty and cruelty of nature, and new friendships with both Africans and British expatriates. A side plot involves the beautiful and bored British Lettice Palmer who enters into an affair with a handsome safari guide. Eventually, however, the excitement of Elspeth's life is disrupted by the onset of WW I, and the changes it brings

Born Free (1974)

This drama chronicles the adventures of George and Joy Adamson, a married couple who serve as game wardens in Kenya. Not only did they care for and keep track of the wildlife, but they sometimes had to deal with poachers or other unsavory humans who were threatening the natural way of life in the jungle.

An Elephant Called Slowly (1969)

Bill and Ginny are invited by a naturalist friend to take care of his home in Africa while he is away, and they find themselves adopted by three orphan elephants.

Hemingway, the Hunter of Death (2001)

During the Kenyan struggle for independence from the British in the late 1950's, a scientific safari led by Ernest Hemingway undertakes the ascent of Mount Kenya. Hemingway has been warned by Kikuyu tribe members not to violate the sacred laws of Mwene-Nyaga, the mountain's god, by harming the elephants which ascend its peaks because it will lead to self-destruction, as any aggression against nature is an act of suicide. The expeditions consists of the author, Alex Smith, British police commissioner, Renata, the photographer and Hemingway's lover, Antonio, Hemingway's godson, a Spanish biologist and frustrated bullfighter, Kamau, a Kikuyu tribe member who secretly fights for Kenya's independence with the Mau-Mau rebels. The expedition's progress is impeded as political and personal forces collide and Hemingway comes face-to-face with his final destiny in facing the decision to shoot the Sacred Mammoth who roams the highest peaks of Mount Kenya.

A Brief Overview of Kenya

Source: Kenyan Embassy website Feb 12, 2006

Kenya lies across the equator on the East Coast of Africa. It borders Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan to the North, Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the South and the Indian Ocean to the East. It covers an area of 225, 000 sq. miles (582, 646 sq. km) Approximately the size of Texas State, U.S.A.The Administrative Divisions include eight Provinces including the Nairobi area.

The provinces are Central, Coast, Eastern, North, Rift Valley, Western and North Eastern. These provinces are divided into administrative areas known as districts.The climate is pleasant and favorable with plenty of sunshine all year round. Rainfall is sometimes heavy around April to May while some areas are more cloudy though without much rain around July/August.

The population was estimated in 2004 to be 32,021,856.Religion is mixed with 40 % Protestant, 30 % Roman Catholic, 6 % Muslim, and 23% other religions.

Kenya's history dates to the Stone Age, making Kenya one of the countries in the world that possesses the largest and most complete record of man's cultural development. This is partly because of the country's rich variety of environmental factors conducive to human survival and development. According to archeological finds in various parts of the country, the prehistoric period can best be described under two categories; the Stone Age period which dates from about 2 million years ago and Neolithic period from about 10,000 to 2000 years ago.

Available evidence indicates that man left behind traces of his occupation during the iron age through the pre-colonial period and up to the present time. The phases of the various periods are characterized by tools ranging from crude to advanced much smaller ones and relevant to the respective lifestyles. The sites for the tools are widespread in Kenya.

History is however not specific on the exact type of inhabitants who occupied Kenya between this early period and the 19th century when the British colonized the country. Islamic immigrants started setting at the coast during the 8th Century. Portuguese followed and are among the first known European settlers along the coast.

Up to the 19th Century, very little was known of the Kenyan hinterland until the arrival of the British who came and colonized Kenya.

The colonization process was met with resistance which was countered with excessive force. Hence, most of Kenya's modern history is marked by rebellions against the British, with the first one being in 1890 and the last one, known as Mau Mau rebellion in 1952.

The outbreak of the Mau Mau paved the way for constitutional reforms and development in subsequent years. In 1955, a myriad of political parties were formed all over the country after the colonial Government yielded to their formation. Elections were held in March 1957, after which racial barriers in the Government began to be lifted. By 1960, LEGCO had an African majority. In 1960, Kenya African National Union (KANU), which advocated for a unitary government was formed. In 1961, Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) which advocated a quasi-federal government (Majimbo) was also formed.

The first full franchise General Elections were held in May 1963 and KANU emerged the winner. In June 1963, Kenya attained internal self-government. On December 12th of the same year, independence was achieved with a complex Majimbo constitution which conceded much autonomy to the regions.

On the first anniversary of independence in 1964, Kenya became a Republic with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as the President. Following his death on August 22, 1978, Hon. Daniel arap Moi assumed the Presidency in accordance with the Kenyan Constitution. He ruled Kenya for 24 years. Following a general election held in 2002, Hon. Mwai Kibaki, the third President of the Republic of Kenya took office on 30th December 2002.

Swahili Phrases

English is understood by many people in Kenya but Swahili is not difficult to learn so you might pick up a few phrases.

Hello-------------------------------- Jambo
Good morning ---------- Habari ya asubuhi
Good afternoon ---- Habari ya m’chana
Good evening ---------------Habari ya jioni
How are you? -------------------------Habari?
I am well,(fine, good etc.)-------------Mzuri
Thank you (very much)------Asante (sana)
Good-bye-------------------------- Kwaheri
You’re welcome ------------Una karibishwa
I come from ------Nime toka…...Oklahoma
United States --------------------- Marekani
What is your name -------Jina lako ni nani?
My name is ---------Jina langu ni________.
Yes ------------------------------------ Ndiyo
No -------------------------------------Hapana
How much?------------------------- Ngapi?
Excuse me -------------------------Semahani
Where is the toilet? --------------Wapi choo?
Hotel ------------------------------------Hoteli
Room -------------------------------Chumba
Bed ---------------------------------Kitanda
Food ------------------------------- Chakula
Coffee ------------------------------Kahawa
Hot --------------------------------------Moto
Cold -------------------------------------Baridi
Tea (sweet, spiced) ------------ Chai Masala
Meat ----------------------------------- Nyama
Fish---------------------------------- Samaki
Bread ----------------------------------- Mkate
Butter ----------------------------------Siagi
Sugar -----------------------------------Sukari
Salt ------------------------------------Chumvi
Bad -------------------------------------Mbaya
Today --------------------------------------Leo
Tomorrow ------------------------------Kesho
Now ---------------------------------------Sasa
Quickly ----------------------------- Haraka
Slowly -------------------------------Pole-pole
Hospital ----------------------------Hospitali
Police ---------------------------------- Polici
Mr. --------------------------------------Bwana
Mrs. ----------------------------------------Bibi
What? ----------------------------------- Nini?
Who? ------------------------------------Noni?
Where?--------------------------------- Wapi?
When?------------------------------------ Lini?
How? -------------------------- Numna gani?
Why? -------------------------------Kwa nini?

Days of the week
The first day of the week is actually Saturday in East Africa. So Sunday is “pili” or second.

Sunday - Jumapili Monday - Jumatatu
Tuesday - Jumanne Wednesday-Jumatano
Thursday - Alhamisi Friday - Ijumaa
Saturday - Jumamosi


1 – Moja 11 - Kumi na moja
2 - Mbili 12 - Kumi na mbili
3- Tatu 20 - Ishirini
4 - Ine 21 - Ishirini na moja
5 - Tano 50- Hamsini
6 – Sita 100- mia
7- Saba 1000 - elfu moja
8 – Nane
9- Tisa
10- Kumi

Harambee – The concept of Community self-help; the cornerstone of Kenyatta’s ideology

Lakuna matata – means “no problem!” (be cautious; there usually is!)

Mzungu – white person (pl. wazungu)

Panga – machete
Sambusa – Deep fried pastry triangles stuffed with spiced minced meat (like Indian Samosa)

Uhuru – Freedom or independence

Safe Travel Tips

Don't be vulnerable to thieves (or worse) on your short-term mission.

"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." Proverbs 22:3

The excitement of being in a new place may cause you to let down your guard. At that point you can become easy prey for thieves or worse. As you prepare to hit the road on that mission trip, engrave these safe travel tips in your memory:

Keep your luggage nearby and within your view.

If traveling by air, check your baggage in as soon as you arrive at the airport. Only allow airline
personnel and uniformed sky caps to handle your baggage.

Don't flash cash in public.

When buying something at a store, don't pull out a huge wad of money (even though it may seems like "play" money to you).

Wear a money belt or sack under your clothes to carry your cash and small valuables.

Do not leave valuables in a car or hotel room.

Be observant . Always look around you. Be aware of what's going on. When loading or unloading vehicles, don't leave doors or the trunk open and unattended.

Keep your address somewhat private. If you're staying in a hotel, don't disclose your room number when strangers are within earshot. Be reluctant about opening your door for unexpected visitors or deliveries. If you can, call the front desk to verify the visitor's identity.

Be alert for mishaps that seem deliberate. Thieves and pickpockets distract people with ploys like bumping into someone or spilling a drink on people in a crowd.

Wedge the door shut. Take a door wedge on your trip. At night place it under the hotel room door to prevent anyone from forcing the door open.

Lock hotel room doors and windows when you leave. Don't leave a hotel room door ajar while you run an errand. If you find your room door open after you had left it closed, go back to the hotel lobby and ask that someone return with you to your room. When you leave the hotel, drop your key at the hotel desk. That eliminates the chance you'll lose it (or have it plucked from your pocket!)

More About Kenya (from


Fossils found in East Africa suggest that protohumans roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus lived in Kenya from 2.6 million years ago.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore Kenya, with Vasco da Gama having visited Mombasa in 1498. There followed a period of Portuguese rule centered mainly on the coastal strip ranging from Malindi to Mombasa.

However, most historians consider that the colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions in 1885, followed by the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888.

Incipient imperial rivalry was forestalled when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This followed the building of the Kenya-Uganda railway passing through the country. Although this was also resisted by some tribes, notably the Nandi led by Orkoiyot Koitalel arap Samoei for ten years between 1895 to 1905, these did not stop the British building the railway.

It is believed that the Nandi were the first tribe to be put in a native reserve to stop them from disrupting the building of the railway.

During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee. By the 1930's, approximately 30,000 settlers lived in the area and were offered undue political powers because of their effects on the economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kĩkũyũ tribe, most of whom had no land claims in European terms (but the land belonged to the ethnic group), and lived as itinerant farmers.

To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labor. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled.

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. In January 1953, Major General Hinde was appointed as director of counter-insurgency operations. The situation did not improve for lack of intelligence, so General Sir George Erskine was appointed commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces in May 1953, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.

The capture of Warǔhiǔ Itote (General China) on 15 January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954 after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps.

May 1953 also saw the Home Guard officially recognized as a branch of the Security Forces. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's anti-Mau Mau strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces like the British Army and King's African Rifles. By the end of the emergency, the Home Guard had killed no fewer than 4,686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 in Nyeri signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau and essentially ended the military offensive.

The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to "moderate" African rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta, that formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12th December 1963. A year later, Kenyatta became Kenya's first president.

At Kenyatta's death in 1978, Daniel arap Moi became President. Daniel arap Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held in 1979, 1983 (snap elections) and 1988, all of which were held under the single party constitution. The 1983 elections were held a year early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt on 01/08/1982.

The abortive coup was masterminded by a lowly ranked Airforce serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and was staged mainly by enlisted men in the Airforce. The attempt was quickly suppressed by Loyalist forces led by the Army, the General Service Unit (GSU) — paramilitary wing of the police — and later the regular police, but not without civilian casualties.
This event led to the disbanding of the entire Airforce and a large number of its former members were either dismissed or court-martialled.

The election held in 1988 saw the advent of the infamous mlolongo (queueing) system where voters were supposed to line up behind their favourite candidates instead of secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform.

Several contentious clauses, including the one allowing only one political party were changed in the following years. In democratic but flawed multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel arap Moi won re-election. In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai Kǐbakǐ, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" — NARC, was elected President. The elections, judged free and fair by local and international observers, marked a turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution.


Kenya is a republic; the President of Kenya is both the chief of state and the head of government. Kenya has a unicameral National Assembly consisting of 210 members elected to a term of up to five years from single-member constituencies, plus 12 members nominated by political parties on a proportional representation basis.

The president appoints the vice president and cabinet members from among those elected to the National Assembly. The attorney general and the speaker are ex officio members of the Assembly. The judiciary is headed by a High Court, consisting of a chief justice and High Court judges, and judges of Kenya's Court of Appeal (no associate judges), all appointed by the president.

Kenya has had a multi-party system since 1991 via constitutional amendment, with politicians frequently "crossing the floor" or setting up new political parties and coalitions to achieve their political aims.

In December 2002, Kenya held democratic and open elections and elected Mwai Kǐbakǐ as president from the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) as president. The NAK and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) formed the NARC coalition that currently governs Kenya. The coalition consists of some of the brightest minds in Kenya such as Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, who received his doctorate in Education from Stanford University. He was also the former Secretary General of Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU), Kenya's first lecturers' union.

Kenya is in the process of rewriting its post-colonial constitution and its subsequent amendments that gave the president nearly unlimited powers and immunity from the law accounting for many of Kenya's current problems with corruption. Constitutional reform is being delayed by disagreement amongst the coalition members. The right-leaning NAK favors a centralized Presidential system, while the left leaning LDP-led by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka- favor a parliamentary system with Prime Minister.

After a long-lasting public debate, the people of Kenya rejected the government-supported draft constitution with a 57-43 majority in the historical 21st November 2005 referendum. Research by independent observer groups indicated that the majority of voters were oblivious of the proposed constitution's content owing largely to the tribal voting lines that leaders propagated and partly to a failed civic education program. The president never actively involved himself in the referendum process and instead insisted on letting Kenyans make an independent decision free from political influence.

The defeat however created a political vacuum, as Kibaki responded to calls from the Orange Democratic Movement (supporters of the NO vote) for his resignation, by dissolving his cabinet. The president reconstituted his cabinet in a televised broadcast on 7th December. His new line up excluded members who had opposed the constitution in the referendum but retained some allies from the official opposition party KANU and loyalists, notably absent was former Transport minister Chris Murungaru who has been accused of corruption in the past.

The reshuffle has drawn mixed reactions from different quarters with a number of nominees rejecting their appointments citing party policy and the opinion of constituents.


Kenya's main economic strengths include tourism and agriculture. The economy is only now beginning to show some growth after years of stagnation. Some argue that this slow economic growth is because of poor management and uneven commitment to reform; others insist that it is due to falling commodity prices and poor access to Western markets.

In 1993, the government of Kenya implemented a program of economic liberalization and reform that included the removal of import licensing, price controls, and foreign exchange controls.

With the support of the World Bank, IMF, and other donors, the reforms led to a brief turnaround in economic performance following a period of negative growth in the early 1990s. One of the unintended consequences of freeing foreign exchange control was that it allowed a gold-and-diamond export scam in which the Kenyan government lost over 600 million U.S. dollars. This resulted in a weak currency which hindered economic improvement.

Kenya's GDP grew 5% in 1995 and 4% in 1996, and inflation remained under control. Growth slowed in 19971999 however. Political violence—namely the bombing of the U.S. Embassy by Al Qaeda in 1998—damaged the tourist industry, and Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program lapsed.

A new economic team was put in place in 1999 to revitalize the reform effort, strengthen the civil service, and curb corruption, but wary donors continue to question the government's commitment to western establishment ideas of sound economic policy.

Considered by some to be long-term barriers to development are: electricity shortages, the government's continued and allegedly inefficient dominance of key sectors, corruption, the foreign debt burden, unstable international commodity prices, poor communication infrastructure and the effects of HIV/AIDS, which is having its effect on the most productive group of the population.

The effects of HIV/AIDS has largely offset the previous high population growth which was caused by a high birth rate and reduced infant mortality due to better health care.

Chief among Kenya's exports are: flowers (horticulture), fruits and vegetables, tea, and coffee. Another key foreign exchange earner is tourism. Tourism has grown tremendously since 2003. The number of foreigners coming to Kenya has increased as attested to by the airlines operating in Kenya.


Kenya has a very diverse population that includes most major language groups of Africa. Traditional pastoralists, rural farmers, Muslims, Christians, and urban residents of Nairobi and other cities contribute to the cosmopolitan culture.

The standard of living in major cities, once relatively high compared to much of Sub-Saharan Africa, has been declining in recent years. Most city workers retain links with their rural, extended families and leave the city periodically to help work on the family farm.

About 75% of the work force is engaged in agriculture, mainly as subsistence farmers. The national motto of Kenya is Harambee, meaning "pull together." In that spirit, volunteers in hundreds of communities build schools, clinics, and other facilities each year and collect funds to send students abroad.

Kenya is a country of great ethnic diversity. Tension between the various groups accounts for many of Kenya's problems. During the early 1990s, clashes killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless.

Ethnically split opposition groups allowed the regime of Daniel arap Moi, in power from 1978 until 2002, to be re-elected for four terms, with the election in 1997 being marred by violence and fraud.

These ethnic groups include Kĩkũyũ 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo (Kenya) 13%, Kalenjin 15%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Ameru 6%, other African 12%, non-African (Asian/Desi, European, and Arab) 1%

Religious affiliation: Various Protestant 38%, Roman Catholic 28%, Muslim 6%, Traditional Religions 22%. Others include Hinduism, Jainism & the Bahá'í Faith.

The five state universities enroll about 38,000 students, representing some 25% of the Kenyan students who qualify for admission.


Kenya has no unique culture that identifies it. With such diverse regional peoples such as the Swahili along the coast, several pastoralist communities mainly in the North and the different communities in Central and Western regions, having a mutually acceptable cultural identification is difficult.

The Maasai culture owes its widespread identification to the tourist industry which has exploited them for purely commercial purposes.

Historical and current politics of division practiced first by the colonizers and then by subsequent community leaders has led to a situation where Kenyans themselves barely know their own culture let alone that of their neighbors.

The colonial administration in partnership with missionary activities and formal education wiped out most cultural practices leaving a gap that was filled by Western cultural attitudes and identification especially by the youth.

The recent attempts at coming up with a national dress testifies to the difficult nature of Kenyans' cultural identity. The top-down formula employed rendered the entire process irrelevant as it only involved the urban areas hence the better educated and wealthier segments of society. The result was basically a restricted set of pre-approved national dresses and outfits with questionable aesthetic appeal to the majority of Kenyans.

Arriving in Nairobi

On the plane, you will be handed a Kenya Immigration Card to fill out. Mark that you are “a tourist.” Where it asks for local address contact, put “Methodist Church of Kenya, P.O. Box 47633, Nairobi, Kenya.”

Disembark as a group and look for the currency exchange office. Wait while the Team Leader and the Team Banker convert US dollars into Kenyan shillings.

As a group, head for Immigration and Customs.

Get and complete a Kenya Visa Application Form.

Get in line to purchase a visa. Hand the attendant your completed Kenya Immigration Card, your completed Kenya Visa Application Form, your passport and $50 US.

Move to the cages/counters and get your passport stamped. If they ask what you are doing in Kenya, tell them you are “touring Methodist projects.”

Once your passport is stamped, wait for the rest of the team. Once all are ready, follow the hallways/stairs to the baggage claim area.

Find a baggage cart (free) and move with it to the carousel (Squeeze handle to release the brake). Retrieve your checked luggage from the carousel and put them – along with your carry-on bags - on your luggage cart.

After all the luggage has been claimed and put on carts, verify that the bags you are responsible for are present. Our Luggage Coordinator will do a luggage count.

If anyone’s luggage did not arrive, they will have to make a claim right then. Everyone stay in the luggage claim area while the claim is made.

As a group, begin walking through customs. Only once has a VIM team been stopped and asked who they were. Usually the customs agents realize you are a tour group and just wave us through. Assume that you have the go-ahead unless someone calls you over. Make sure everyone clears customs before moving off towards the vans.

Outside of customs, our drivers will be watching for us. Do not let anyone except our drivers walk us to our vans. Do not let anyone except our drivers load our luggage. Watch closely; this is when baggage disappears!

All luggage will be loaded in one van; the team will ride in the other two vans. Our Luggage Coordinator will count the bags before we depart.

We will ride directly to the Methodist Guest House (about a 30 minute ride).

Do not tip our van drivers. All van costs including tips will be taken care of in the company’s bill on our final day in Kenya.

Arriving at Methodist Guest House

Go to the check-In Desk and ask to complete a Sign-In Form. Hand it, with the form of the person you are rooming with, to the Check-in Clerk. He will give the pair of you one room key.

Take only your carryon baggage to your room. The rest of the luggage will be locked in a room for the night and reclaimed in the morning.

There should be someone available to carry your luggage to your room if needed. Tipping is $1 US per two bags.

If we arrive late, be quiet getting to and in your rooms; people are asleep!

The hall lights operate on timers. Punch the round buttons in the hall to turn them on.

Faucet and shower water may be very hot; sometimes the COLD is actually the HOT knob.

Use the drinking water in the glass pitcher on your desk or bottled water for brushing teeth.

Breakfast begins at 6:30 a.m. Give your name and room number to the person at the desk just inside the dining hall door as you enter.

Breakfast is self-service. Coffee will be in a thermos, hot water and hot milk will be in huge urns. There will be tea bags and sugar on the coffee/tea table. Eggs are cooked fresh by a chef; just indicate how you want eggs cooked. The hot peppers are green and very hot!

Bottled water and soda cost extra (not a part of the Bed and Breakfast plan).

Ask the front desk to open their gift shop. Pay with Kenya shillings.

Ask the front desk about Internet access. It used to be available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located upstairs at the opposite end of hall from the front desk. Go up one level and through the door. Ask at the table to have the use of a computer. It costs 50 Kenya shillings per email. They will set you up.

Meru and Mount Kenya

Meru Town

Meru, Kenya is located on the northeast slopes of Mount Kenya, about five miles north of the equator, at approximately 5,000 feet altitude. It is located in an area of mixed forest and clearings, with smaller towns and villages, and rural farms surrounding it, in the larger district, also called Meru.

The town is accessible by paved road, whether from the south around the east side of Mount Kenya, via Embu, or from the northwest around the west and north side of Mount Kenya, via Nanyuki and Timau.

Meru District is an excellent jumping-off place for Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves and Lewa Downs, all some distance north of Meru, with Samburu and Buffalo Springs via Isiolo, and Meru National Park, to the northeast of Meru, via Maua in the Nyambeni Hills.

Meru Town is a business, agricultural and educational center for the northeast of Kenya. It has three or four banks and numerous hotels, markets and transportation terminals. Coffee, tea, timber, cattle, dairy products, "french" beans and many other manner of products are produced in Meru District. In addition to numerous primary, secondary and technical schools, there are teacher training colleges and the recently developed Kenya Methodist University at Meru, known as KEMU.

It is an important coffee producing area. It is virtually all smallholder-grown, and much of it shade-grown. Its quality rivals that of Nyeri and other areas around Mt. Kenya well-known for their quality coffees. Meru's coffee crops come twice a year, corresponding to the two rainy seasons, which is true of other Kenyan coffees, but the main crop in Meru comes at a somewhat different time than elsewhere in Kenya, due to different weather patterns on the northeast slopes of Mt. Kenya and the Nyambenis. It is all grown at high-altitudes in the volcanic soils of the district. It is processed by farmer cooperatives which own coffee factories near the farmers.

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Mount Kenya

An ancient volcano, Mount Kenya (5199m) is the second highest mountain in Africa. Although it lies only a few km from the Equator, it is heavily glaciated. The summit area consists of several smaller peaks surrounding the 2 main peaks of Nelion (5188m) and Batian (5199m).

Its ascent takes one through several distinct vegetation belts. Game-rich rain forests cover the lower slopes; above this the bamboo belt, then park lands lead to the Afro-Alpine moorland zones. Finally out of the screes rise the glaciated summits; below rugged cliffs, tarns of clear water, set amongst meadows and giant groundsel plants, add to the magic of the peak area.

Kenya Historical Timeline:
An overview of events in the history of Kenya.


Some of our earliest human ancestors (Homo erectus and Homo habilis) walked on East African ground more than 2 million years ago. Several skulls and fragments have been found in Kenya and neighboring countries.

The Khoisan-speakers are the first modern people known to inhabit East Africa. They are followed by Cushitic people (from north), Bantu speaking groups (from Central Africa), Nilotes (from Sudan) as well as Oromos and Somalis (from Ethiopia).

8th century AD: The first visits by Arabian and Persian traders to East Africa are made. Some Arab traders stay in the region and bring a Muslim influence to the culture. Most areas of Kenya are inhabited at this time, but most trade and development takes place in the coastal region. Trade with ivory, rhino horn, gold, shells and slaves makes Mombasa, Malindi and the Islands Lamu, and Pate into important centres of trade.

The 15th century: The Coast is rich and the cities are great in this period. It becomes the first centre of trade out of Africa. The African groups on the coast gradually forms the Swahili culture adapting Islam as their religion. The common religion makes way for better understanding and business with the Arabs. Religious beliefs (Islam and later Christianity) also give status in society (this can still be seen in the pride of many religious people in Africa). Some Africans may have turned to Islam simply to avoid being sold as slaves. The Swahili were mainly black Africans and it was these people who build the great cities along the coast.

The Swahili people make a fortune on trade and form business families. They are able to communicate better with the foreign traders as the Kiswahili language develops. They also serve as middlemen for those wanting to sell gold and Ivory from deep within the continent.
The trade net grows to cover Africa, Arabia, Persia, India and China. It is recorded that traders even succeed at sending a live giraffe all the way the Emperor of China.

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reaches East Africa with ships and guns. Until now, most meetings with foreigners have been relatively peaceful but the Portuguese are eager to get their hands on the rich trade around the Indian Ocean. The Swahili people give Vasco da Gama what he wants: They direct him on the way to India and are happy to sea him leave.

1505: The Portuguese invade, slaughter and rob most cities on the East Coast of Africa. Dom Francisco de Almeida arrives with 23 ships and approximately 1,500 soldiers. Mombasa is bombed and the occupied by Portuguese troops. The next 200 years are marked by fights between the Arabs and the Portuguese for control of the region. The main losers in this long struggle are the Africans, seeing their towns destroyed all along the coast.

1585 and 1589: The Ottoman Turks try to regain their power on the Kenyan Coast but are beaten by the Portuguese. Portugal starts a brutal colonial rule and exploitation of the Africans and their resources continues. With weapons in hand, they try to convert people to Catholicism but Islam has already grown strong on the coast.

1593: Mombasa becomes the local centre of Portuguese power. Fort Jesus is constructed in Mombasa harbor to defend the city from the seaside and also against a growing resistance among the Swahili people.

1698: Fort Jesus and Mombasa are finally lost to the Arabs after 33 months of siege. After a few years, the Portuguese have left Kenya completely. Arab sultans now rule over different parts of the coast.

19th Century: The European countries start a race of land grabbing in Africa. In East Africa, it is mainly Germany and England competing in making colonies and protectorates. By now, political pressure has influenced Britain to try and stop the African slave trade.

1822: The Sultan of Oman (Sayyid Said) sends an army to East Africa. He claims control of all Swahili dynasties along the coast. The local Swahili clans resist giving up their power and ask Britain for help. Two warships are sent from Britain and the captain declares the Mombasa region for British protectorate. The protectorate is given up after 3 years.

1832: The sultan of Oman moves with his court to Zanzibar. He starts plantations of cloves and develops trade routes deeper into Africa. Spice production and export of Ivory and slaves are an important economic injection for the Sultan's empire.

1847: The first European missionaries start traveling west and exploring more of Kenya. The Germans, Krapf and Rebmann, are the first to reach Taita Hills and later give the first reports of seeing Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

May 1, 1873 : Dr. David Livingstone dies in Central Africa. His body is carried on a month-long journey to Zanzibar.

1877: The Sultan offers the company British East Africa a concession of administration in East Africa. The British completely ignore the Swahili people - only negotiating with the Sultan on Zanzibar. Their racist prejudices make them believe that the East African Coast has only developed because of the Arabs.

1886: The European colonial powers divide Africa between themselves at a conference in Berlin. Germany and Britain are the main players in the game to control East Africa. The Sultan of Oman is still granted a strip on the Coastline.

1888: Imperial British East Africa starts "economic development" in their possessions (today's Kenya and Uganda).

1894: Jomo Kenyatta is born in Ichaweri.

1895: Britain's protectorate is formed and officially named British East Africa.

1898: Construction of a railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria is progressing fast, but delayed in Tsavo. Two lions kill and eat 135 Indian and African railway workers. Lt. Col. J.H. Patterson manages to kill the lions after hunting them for nine months. The events are dramatized in the film The Ghost and The Darkness. The man-eating lions are still on display in The Field Museum, Chicago.

1898: The railway reaches half way through Kenya. The city of Nairobi is founded a few years later.

1901: The railway from Mombasa to Kisumu is completed with its 965 km. European and Indian settlers now arrive in great numbers to East Africa. White settlers are favored from the beginning and given influence in the management of the colony. The African inhabitants of the "White highlands" are forced into "native reserves". In the following years, several local uprisings are stopped by British soldiers. As in the other African colonies, some tribes are favored by the British. This leads to jealousy, hatred and ethnic clashes for generations ahead.

1902: The border between Kenya and Uganda is adjusted. Before this, Kisumu and the area around Lake Victoria were part of Uganda.

1905: First experiments with growing coffee in Kenya are made by British settlers. Today Kenya is the African country exporting the most coffee.

1907: The British colonial administration moves from Mombasa to Nairobi.

January 1914: 28 year old Karen Blixen (also known as Isak Dinesen) arrives in Kenya with her husband, Bror Blixen. They settle on a farm close to Nairobi and start growing coffee. Karen Blixen has no experience and no success with farming but after returning to Denmark in 1931 she becomes a well known writer. Her novel Out Of Africa was made into a movie.

1914: World War I also includes Africa. 200,000 Africans are recruited in Kenya by the British Army. One fourth of them die.

1915: The British settlers require more land. Another 5186 hectares are taken from the Africans. The "Registration Act" forces all African adult males to carry identification whenever leaving the reserves.

1921: The protectorate becomes Kenya and gets status of a British Crown Colony. A British governor administrates the colony.

1922: Foundation of East African Breweries (today: Kenya Breweries, producing the popular "Tusker" and other brands of beer).

1922: Africans educated in the Missions start protesting against the British policies. Harry Thuku, leader of the East African Association (EAA) is arrested. Another young Kikuyu from EAA is about to begin his career: Jomo Kenyatta leaves for university studies in England (1931) and returns to become a political leader years later.

1923: The first tea plantation is founded in Kenya. A law ensured that only European settlers could profit from growing tea and coffee for export.

1924 : Daniel Arap Moi is born in Baringo.

1933: American writer Ernest Hemingway visits Kenya and writes some of his most famous stories.

1939: Labor unions are becoming stronger in the colony. Strikes hit hard on Mombasa.

1944: An organization for African independence is formed: Kenyan African Union (KAU).

1947: Jomo Kenyatta becomes leader of KAU.

1952: A political Kikuyu group called "Mau Mau" starts violent attacks on white settlers. The Mau Mau guerillas are organized in the Kenya Land Freedom Army (KFLA). Jomo Kenyatta is regarded to be leader of the "Mau Mau" and he is jailed the following year. The Mau Mau rebellion continues and Britain declares a state of emergency in Kenya.

February 6, 1952: The young Elizabeth stays in the Aberdare Treetop Hotel when her father, King George VI, dies of cancer. She returns to England as Queen Elizabeth II.

October 1956: The leader of KLFA, general Dedan Kimanthi, is captured by British troops with assistance from a loyal Kikuyu group. The Mau Mau are now without efficient leadership.

1956: Mau Mau warriors kill more Africans loyal to the British than they kill white people. Around 50,000 British soldiers are set in against the rebellion. They burn down villages and carry out bomb attacks from airplanes. When the rebellion is finally put down a total of app. 12,000 Africans are killed but only about 30 Europeans. 100,000 Africans are imprisoned.

1957: Dedan Kimanthi is executed.

195?: Kenyan songwriter Fadhili William records the pop song Malaika. The song becomes a world-wide hit and has since been recorded by several other artists.

1957: Ghana is the first African colony to gain independence.

1959: Kenyatta is transferred from jail to house arrest. Formation of political parties are now allowed and African politicians are invited to attend negotiations held in London.

1960: Britain gives in to pressure and starts preparing Kenya for independence. It is estimated that 60,000 Europeans now live in Kenya.

1960: A team of archaeologists led by Mary and Louis Leakey finds a skull of Homo Habilis near Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya. The skull is estimated to be 1.8 million years old.

1961: House arrest ends for Kenyatta and he becomes leader of the political party KANU.

December 12, 1963: Kenyan independence day.

1964: The Republic of Kenya (Jamhuri ya Kenya) is formed with Kenyatta as president and Oginga Odinga as vice president. The party KADU dissolves and integrates with KANU. The government is without opposition.

1966: The Luo politician Oginga Odinga is excluded from the Kikuyu dominated KANU party. He tries to start an opposition party, but is arrested several times during the following years.

1969: Conflicts between ethnic groups continue. The Luo politician Tom Mboya aspires to future presidency and is assassinated by a Kikuyu. Odinga is arrested.

1974: Jomo Kenyatta is re-elected as president. Kiswahili becomes the official language in the parliament.

1976: Border problems and regional tensions develop. The Ugandan dictator Idi Amin claims huge parts of Kenya and Sudan.

1977: Big game hunting becomes prohibited by law.

August 22, 1978: Jomo Kenyatta dies in his home in Mombasa. During his presidency Kenya has become one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Africa. In spite of mistakes and some degree of paranoia, Kenyatta was loved by most Kenyans and respected by politicians abroad. At this time, the Republic of Kenya held many promises which were soon to fade.

October 6, 1978: Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi becomes president of Kenya. At the time he is not seen as a very strong politician, but he was vice president for Kenyatta and the parliament agrees on the choice. This is partly because as a Kalenjin (Tugen) he is not representing any of the dominant tribes in Kenya. The new national slogan launched by Moi is "nyayo" - follow the tracks. But soon Moi starts hitting hard on opponents, banning tribal societies and closing universities. The president makes more and more frequent use of prisons and guns in the coming years.

1979: The president launches a plan for protection of Rhinos in Kenya.

June 1982: The Republic of Kenya is officially declared to be a one party state by ruling party KANU.

August 1982: The Kenyan Air Force attempts a military coup. A few days pass in uncertainty and 120 people are killed. Then forces loyal to the government put an end to the rebellion. Following the coup attempt, 12 people are sentenced to death and 900 are jailed.

1985: Hollywood premieres Out Of Africa filmed on location in Kenya, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

1987: President Moi is re-elected after introducing a complicated and highly criticized voting system. Opposition leaders - including Kenneth Matiba - are jailed without trial.

1989: Paleontologist Dr. Richard Leakey becomes manager of the Department of Wildlife in Kenya. President Moi burns up 12 tons of ivory, making a public statement against poaching.

1990's: Communist regimes in eastern Europe collapse, putting an end to "the Cold War" era. USA and Western Europe have supported corrupt regimes all over Africa in their attempt to keep communism from the door. But now they loose interest in the continent. For the first time, donor countries make demands of democratic development and put pressure on the Kenyan government. Multiparty systems are a public demand all over the continent and the government no longer has Western support to suppress the opposition. The KANU Youth group is used as pro-government troublemakers. In the following years, KANU Youth are used to harass opposition members and provoke riots in democratic demonstrations. The KANU Youth has also been involved in the unleash of violence and ignition of ethnic clashes.

July 7, 1990: An illegal demonstration becomes known as the "Saba Saba" (Seven Seven - the date in Swahili). The government sends in police and military, killing at least 20 and arresting several hundred, including politicians, human rights activists and journalists.

1991: A new opposition party is formed under the name Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). The party is at first banned by Moi. Leaders, including Oginga Odinga, are arrested. Most Western countries suspend their economic aid to Kenya in condemnation of the political oppression and abuses of human rights. Moi finally gives in and introduces the multiparty system in Kenya: The constitution is changed, for the first time allowing registration of opposition parties.

1992: Political discussions slowly becomes more common on the streets and some people even dare to hope for a change. But at the same time many people fear the wars, violence and chaos in other African countries. An argument often heard is that Moi may be one the most corrupt leaders in the world, but he has kept Kenya peaceful. Prior to elections, 2,000 are killed in ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley region. It is almost certain that the violence was provoked by KANU. But President Moi manages to end the conflict and makes himself an image as the peace maker.

1992: The Ford party splits into two fractions. Moi gains more power as the opposition wastes their efforts on internal conflicts.

December 29, 1992: Moi is re-elected as President in Kenya's first multiparty election. All foreign observers report that KANU manipulated the voters and election in every possible way
1993: International donors, IMF and the World Bank force the government to start economic reforms in Kenya.

1994: Oginga Odinga dies. The opposition parties form a new coalition but are still having strong internal disputes. Moi is becoming more and more clever in setting up opposition members against each other.

1995: Paleontologist Richard Leakey forms Safina, a new opposition party. The Leakey family is famous for their archaeological findings in Kenya. Moi argues strongly against having white men in government.

1996: KANU announces a wish to change the constitution allowing Moi to stay in office for one more term.

1997: Demonstrations for democracy are frequent in Kenya.

August 14, 1997: 200 raiders attack the police station in Likoni, Mombasa. Prisoners are freed, six police officers and seven civilians are killed. The violent attackers steal rifles and ammunition. In the following weeks, horror rules on the coast with massacres and ethnic violence. Many people are on the run. No one knows who started this and why nothing was done to stop it.

1997: Daniel Arap Moi wins his 5th term as president in criticized elections. Once again Moi has succeeded to play opposition and ethnic groups against each other.

1997: The El Nino weather phenomena brings cascades of water to the Kenyan coast. Several thousands are left homeless.

September 8, 1997: President Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire (D. R. Congo) loses his power and dies soon after. Mobuto was considered to be the richest man in Africa. According to an Ugandan newspaper, Daniel Arap Moi is a possible number two. (The Monitor, August 4, 1997)

August 1998: 230 people are killed when a bomb explodes in Nairobi's US embassy. At the same time, people are killed by a terror bombing in Tanzania. The bombings are later linked to Osama Bin-Laden and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

1999: Richard Leakey becomes minister in the KANU government. He is tasked with fighting corruption in Kenya.

June 2001: Moi forms the first coalition government in Kenya. Opposition leader Raila Odinga becomes minister of Energy.

August 2001: 3 million people starve as Northern Kenya suffers from drought.

2001: Several anti-corruption initiatives are started in order to please the IMF.

October 2001: Uhuru Kenyatta (son of Jomo Kenyatta) is appointed to parliament and a cabinet post by President Moi. The inexperienced Uhuru Kenyatta is later appointed by Moi to be his successor in the presidential office.

2001: Ethnic clashes break out again. The worst are in the Kibera slum area of Nairobi. As the violence continues, the government stays passive. Some people fear that Moi would like to see chaos break out in Kenya after he gives up the presidency.

December 27, 2002: Election in Kenya. Moi is leaving the office to opposition leader Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki soon announces that Kenya will provide free primary schooling for all children.
Another important law from Kibaki is new rules for Matatu-owners. The matatus are privately-owned mini-busses. They are loud and colorful contributions to Kenyan culture but also notorious for their high rate of accidents (more than 3,000 die in road accidents every year). The new laws are made to improve traffic security but the matatu owners have protested and paralyzed the country with strikes and new high fares.

December 10th 2004: Kenyan Wangari Maathia receives the Nobel Peace Price in Oslo. She is the first African woman to receive the prize. Prof. Maathia is minister in the Kenyan government and founder of the Green Belt Movement.

Coping With Culture Shock/Stress

In 1954, the term "culture shock" was coined by Kalvero Oberg to describe the period of cultural adjustment. The confusion and anxiety brought on by culture stress or shock may cause us to think, do or say things that are contrary to God's purpose
This diagram illustrates two paths that one can take in cross-cultural encounters.

Symptoms of culture shock:

Unwarranted criticism of the culture and people

Heightened irritability

Constant complaints about the climate

Continual offering of excuses for staying indoors

Utopian ideas concerning one's previous culture

Continuous concern about the purity of water and food

Fear of touching local people

Refusal to learn the language

Preoccupation about being robbed or cheated

Pressing desire to talk with people who "really make sense."

Preoccupation with returning home

Stages most people go through in adjusting to a new culture

Fun: The excitement and adventure of experiencing new people, things, and opportunities.

Flight: The urge to avoid everything and everyone that is different.

Fight: The temptation to judge people or things that may be different as bad or foolish.

Fit: Willingness to understand, to embrace, and to creatively interact with the new culture.

Coping strategy for culture shock: Survival techniques

How can we cope with culture shock? Having some information about culture shock is a first important step. Then, to successfully cope, make sure your attitudes mirror those suggested in green and red in the top half of the diagram. Follow these tips on surviving situations with unfamiliar verbal and non-verbal codes:

Focus on what you can control. People in culture shock often feel out of control. Don't worry about things you cannot change.

Don't invest major energy in minor problems. People make "mountains out of molehills" even more quickly in cross-cultural situations than they do in their own culture.

Tackle major stressors head on. Don't avoid things. Ask for help. Create a wide support network as quickly as you can in your target culture.

Write it down. Record your thoughts and frustrations in a journal. This will give you a healthy outlet for expressing your feelings.

Knowing how to survive culture shock or stress can be useful to missionaries as well as to aiding foreign students who come to our country to study.

Help from the Bible -- Can Scripture help us with cross-cultural adjustment? Well, the book of Acts would be a good place to start in looking for examples of cultural adjustment. Paul, who grew up in modern-day Turkey and then was educated in Jerusalem, moved around the Mediterranean planting churches in different cultural contexts. To the Philippians he wrote: "I learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11). As Paul coped with various cultural issues, he was also dogged by Jewish Christians from Israel who tried to force Gentile converts to become Jewish (in which case Christianity would have been a mono-cultural movement). Another Biblical event to look at would be the story of Ruth. Here's a young woman who left her home country and culture and moved to Israel and wound up ultimately being in the list of Jesus' ancestors!

The Methodist Church of Kenya

The Methodist Church in Kenya (MCK) was founded in 1862 by a group of missionaries who were sent by the United Methodist Free Churches of Britain.

The missionaries established their first Mission Station at Ribe, about 40 Kilometers north of Mombasa, at the East Coast of Kenya. It was from this Ribe Mission Station that the Methodist Church in Kenya then spread and expanded to the other parts of the country.

On January 7, 1967, the MCK became autonomous from the British Methodist Church. From those humble beginnings at the East Coast of Kenya, the MCK is now spread out across the country, and has also Mission Churches in the neighboring countries of Tanzania and Uganda.

The MCK is an autonomous church guided by the Deed of Foundation, Standing Orders, and governed by the Annual Conference. The MCK is headed by a Presiding Bishop – currently _____________Dr. Stephen Kanyaru M’Impwii______________.

The Presiding Bishop is the Chairman of the Annual Conference, and under him is the Conference Secretary – currently ______Rev. Wellingtone Sanga______.

The Presiding Bishop is supported by Technical Officers heading various departments and programs at the Conference Office Headquarters in Nairobi.

For administrative purposes, the MCK is organized into synods. There are now 10 synods covering different parts of the country, namely; Nairobi Synod - which also has pastoral oversight of the Tanzania and Uganda Mission Churches, Nkubu Synod, Kaaga Synod, Kilifi Synod, Miathene Synod, Nyambene Synod, Pwani Synod, Singwaya Synod, Tharaka Synod and Western Kenya Synod.

These synods are headed by Synod Bishops and, under the Synod Bishops are Superintendent Ministers who are the heads of the circuits.

The Synod Bishop for the Kaaga Synod is Bishop ___________________________

The Superintendent Minister for the Kaaga Circuit is _________________________

Synods are composed of several circuits grouped together and circuits are composed of several congregations grouped together. The Annual Delegates Conference is the Supreme policy making body that governs the MCK. It is composed of equal representatives of the Clergy and the Laity.

Kaaga Methodist Church in Meru

The Kaaga Methodist Church is a very early and historical Methodist church in Kenya.

It has been preserved just as it was when built with two exceptions: a covered entrance/veranda was added that members can stand under during the two rainy seasons and a very small vestry was added at the back which provides a toilet and place for the minister to dress.

This church presently has a membership of over 1,000 people who attend either the English Service, Kimeru Service, Hearing I People’s Service or the Junior Sunday School.

The minister for the Kaaga circuit is assigned to 16 churches and is assisted by 200 Lay Preachers in the circuit of which 18 belong to the Kaaga Methodist Church.

Every Sunday, the church offers four worship services – one in the English language, one in the Kimeru language, one for the deaf, and one for children. The Kimeru service always overflows with members (especially mothers and their children) sitting on blankets on the church lawn listening to the service on outside speakers.

Besides the church, there is a fellowship hall which was built with the help of United Methodists from Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Kaaga Church currently houses the Child Development Centre (CDC0 and manages this program on behalf of the Kaaga Circuit in partnership with the American nonprofit, Compassion International which is based in Colorado Springs. The mission of this program is to equip needy children with the knowledge, attitudes and skills that will enable them to grow into dependable, resolute and committed Christians.

Presently three hundred and seventy seven (377) under privileged children attend this Saturday program on the church grounds. Most of the children served have either no parents or very poor ones. Started in 1987, the program seeks to provide these children with spiritual, physical, economical and social growth and development through one-on-one child sponsorship. Currently, 369 of these children have a Compassion International sponsor. The catchment area for participation eligibility is a 5 km radius which covers the Meru town and its environs.

The program runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm every Saturday and includes morning devotions, Bible study, health education, skills training in tailoring, dressmaking, embroidery, cooking, knitting, music and hairdressing. The centre provides part of the schooling requirements for the children including their school uniforms, school fees and select health care. They employ four social workers, eight part-time teachers and four cooks. Some of the children in this program are in primary school while others are in post-primary institutions and ten are attending university.

The church is currently constructing a building that contains three Sunday school classrooms and administrative offices. They also have under construction a parsonage (or manse). They hope to attract a full time church minister in the future.

Kaaga School for the Deaf

Most African communities regard disability as a curse and will discriminate against these disabled persons. Deaf Kenyan children in boarding school often appear very "down" or depressed when it is time to go home for vacation, except for children who have deaf parents.

There are a total of 34 primary schools or units for deaf children in Kenya and two secondary schools. There are also two colleges for deaf students in Kenya.

The Kaaga School for the Deaf in Meru, Kenya, is a 'deaf school’ institution. While it has some deaf students with multiple disabilities, it's not specifically focused on the education of such children.

Kaaga School for the Deaf was started in 1975 by the Methodist Women. Starting with only 7 pupils, the school has grown over the years to the present population of 165 pupils; 87 boys and 78 girls.

The institution runs under the sponsorship of the Methodist Church in Kenya. The school is managed by the Board of Governors who are recommended by the Methodist Church and appointed by the Minister of Education. It caters for the deaf children ages 6 to 20 years. Currently, there are 25 members of teaching staff and 21 support staff members.

The school is located in Kaaga sub location, Mulathankari Location, North Imenti Division of Meru Central District. It is built on the Methodist Church in Kenya property parcel No. 782 Nyaki / Mulathankari and measuring 6 acres.

The catchments area is the greater Meru region; Meru South, Meru North, Meru Central and Tharaka districts. However, due to lack of adequate special schools in the country, children come for admission from as far as Mombassa, Laikipia, Embu, Isiolo and Mbere districts. This gives the school a national outlook.

The school has two sections. The first is composed of classes from pre-school (Nursery) to Standard eight (8th grade), at the end of which the students take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). This is the same exam taken by all pupils without handicap.

Those candidates who perform very well in the exam and meet the high school requirements are admitted at Rev. Muhoro Secondary School for the Deaf Persons, one of the only two high schools for the deaf in Kenya, located in Nyeri District.

The second section of the school provides vocational training. After the completion of standard eight, children learn different skills such as carpentry, tailoring, dressmaking, and masonry. After two years of training, they sit for the government Trade Test Grade III. After a further one year of practice, they take the Grade II Test. On successful completion of this course, they can seek jobs from the government, private sector or start their own income generating projects.

Kenya Methodist University

Kenya Methodist University (KEMU) is only the second Methodist university on the continent of Africa. It began as the dream of one man, Bishop Lawi Imathiu.

Today, KEMU is up and running, with a modern campus and a number of attractive buildings housing classrooms, a library, administration block and a chapel which can seat 500.

KEMU is open to students from all countries and denominations. The first graduation class in June 2001 consisted of 40 students from six countries and seven denominations throughout Africa.

KEMU's fundraising work is spearheaded by Kenya Methodist University Development Association (KEMUDA), an international 501 C (3) cooperation.

KEMUDA is currently searching for faculty exchanges in business, theology, agriculture, computer science, as well as computer technical experts who might spend from six months to two years on campus developing programs and classes.

Maua Methodist Hospital

Stanley Gitari Imunya
Coordinator, Community Health Department (CHD)
Maua Methodist Hospital
P.O Box 63, Maua, Meru North, KENYA
Work Team Laison (MMH)
Tell. 0733-447-162
Tel +254 733 447162
Email: "Community" <

Nestled in the lush, green Nyambene Hills of Eastern Kenya lies the fruit of a seed planted many years ago by people with a vision. Those people were Methodist missionaries from England, who from 1928 – 1930 planted the seed of faith and of work which has grown into the fruit of present-day Maua Methodist Hospital.

At that time, the area in which they planted was very rural and extremely underdeveloped. Today, Maua is a very busy town as it was made the headquarters of Nyambene District in 1993 (Now renamed Meru North District). As the town has grown and changed, so Maua Methodist Hospital had to grow and change to meet the health needs of the people in this area.

Despite these changes, the vision of those who now work at this ministry is the same as that of its founders: to fulfill a witnessing mission for Jesus Christ. Our mission statement is “to respond to Christ’s Great Commission to go and make man whole by preaching, teaching and healing to the glory of God”. Our goal is to continue in the healing ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ by minimizing suffering, restoring and maintaining health, and promoting professional excellence and Christian commitment in order to provide quality, affordable and accessible health care for the people of this area.

Maua Methodist Hospital is an institution of the Methodist Church in Kenya which serves the health needs of the 600,000 people who live in these hills. It is a 280 bed hospital about 300km North of the capital city – Nairobi. Most of the inhabitants of these hills are subsistence farmers with many growing cash crops of tea, coffee and miraa.

The Hospital provides both outpatient and inpatient curative and preventive services for the people of this area. Our out patient department (OPD) and all of the available outpatient services will touch the lives if 30,000 people each year. The main OPD provides consultation, examination, x-ray and laboratory investigations, and treatment - both pharmacological and surgical.

Specialized services are also available here: a dental clinic, an ophthalmic (eye) clinic, surgical clinic and a skin and chest clinic (TB/Leprosy) which provides treatment and health education both at the hospital and at mobile sites for TB and Leprosy patients.

Our inpatient services include Medical and Surgical services for 8,000 Paediatric and adult patients each year. We have an adult medical ward with a male and female wing. We have two children’s wards and maternity services with antenatal, postnatal and delivery wards, as well as two nurseries.

The Maternity and Surgical services are now housed in a new maternity and surgical complex with 100 extra beds and 3 operating theatres.which was completed in March 1998 at a cost of Kshs: 90 million. There is also an isolation ward.

Possibly some of the most important work done by the hospital is that of the Community Health Department. This is so vital, because it is preventive and educational – both aspects of which help to raise the entire standard if health of the community. This department provides growth monitoring, immunization, sick and (under 5 years) care, antenatal, and family planning services.

These same services are taken out once each month to each of the 15 different communities surrounding Maua through our Operation Outreach mobile clinics. The Community Health Department Supervises our dispensaries at Kiraone and Kathelwa.

Training of Community Health volunteers (Community Health Workers, Traditional Birth Attendants and Community Based Distributors of family planning methods) is also coordinated through this active department, as well as community education on primary health care and AIDS.

Maua Methodist Hospital has also been involved in education of health professionals since the 1940’s. During the past 20 years, the hospital’s main area of training had been the Kenya Enrolled Community Health Nurse Training Program. In 1996, this was replaced with a new three and a half year Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse (KRCHN) diploma program.

Maua Methodist Hospital also launched an Aids Orphans Project that enables families to keep the

children who have been orphaned by aids at home through a feeding program and by providing school uniforms and books, medical care etc. The caregivers themselves, mostly unsupported grandmothers are supported self help groups and micro- finance projects towards self sustaining and reduce the dependency on out side help.

The program also pays for outpatient assessment and treatment of these children when they become ill. The children receive limited outpatient medical care through medical examination, tests, and medication. The program conducts trainings and workshops for the guardians on care and support of orphans, prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Aids orphans project is organized in the hospital catchments area or within walking distance of the hospital or where the hospital’s community health department vehicles travel for the team to assess the needs of the children and family. Currently 200 AIDS ORPHANS have been visited and registered. The village chiefs continue submitting lists of children who have been orphaned.

Through Aids Relief anti retroviral drugs have become available and affordable by the poor persons in our area who make up the majority of the people infected by AIDS.

Presently primary support for this program is coming from the United Methodist church congregations through the advance special program. Funds to support this project must use Advance Special: Maua Methodist Hospital Aids Orphans Housing and Assistance Project # 140161.

Samburu Tribe In Kenya

The Samburu are an ethnic tribe in north central Kenya. Amongst other tribes of Kenya, they are known as loibor kineji or 'people of the white goats' but they call themselves 'white goats'.

They are semi-nomadic pastoralists whose lives revolve around their cows, sheep, goats, and camels.

Approximately 110,000 Samburu live just north of the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert. Known as the Samburu District, this area is roughly 8000 square miles (21,000 km²). Its landscape is one of great diversity and beauty.

Before and a few years after independence, the area north of the equator was called the Northern Frontier District (NDF). Samburu district was once a large part of the NDF. Only government officials were allowed to enter and it was closed to foreigners of both European and African descent. A special permit issued by the administration was required to enter the NDF. Even today Samburuland is still a remote area.

The tribe is split into eight patri-lineal families and about seventeen small clans, amongst which there will be four to six livestock owners.

The Samburu speak the Samburu language. They are part of the Maa speaking people as are the Maasai. About 95% of the words of both languages are the same. The name 'Samburu' is also of Maasai origin and is derived from the word 'Samburr' which is a leather bag used by the Samburu to carry a variety of things.

It is unclear when Samburu became a distinct ethnic identity. It is thought they splintered from the Maasai when these tribes of Kenya first came down from Sudan.
Most dress in very traditional clothing of bright red material used like a skirt and multi-beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings, especially when living away from the big cities.

A Samburu settlement is known as a nkang or manyatta. Generally between five and ten families set up encampments for five weeks and then move on to new pastures.

Samburu practice polygymous marriage and a man may have multiple wives. Each woman has her own house, which she builds out of local materials, such as sticks, mud, cow dung, hides and grass mats stretched over a frame of poles.

Large ritual settlements, known as lorora may consist of 20 or more families. However, settlements tend towards housing two or three families, with perhaps 5-6 houses built in a rough circle with an open space in the centre.

A thorn bush fence surrounds a circle of huts as well as each family's cattle yard.

Samburu are very independent and egalitarian. Community decisions are normally made by men (senior elders or both senior and junior elders but not morani), often under a tree designated as a "council" meeting site.

Women may sit in an outer circle and usually will not speak directly in the open council, but may convey a comment or concern through a male relative. However, women may have their own "council" discussions and then carry the results of such discussions to men for consideration in the men's council.Adult men care for the grazing cattle which are the major source of livelihood. Women are in charge of maintaining the portable huts, milking cows, obtaining water and gathering firewood.

Duties of boys and girls are clearly delineated. Boys herd cattle and goats and learn to hunt, defending the flocks. Girls fetch water and wood and cook. Both boys and girls go through an initiation into adulthood involving training in adult responsibilities and circumcision for boys and clitoridectomy for girls.

Girls marry at a very young age, usually between twelve and fifteen, while men of the tribe do not marry until their twenties or even thirties.

For boys, initiation is done in age grades of about five years, with the new "class" of boys becoming warriors, or morans. (il-murran). The moran status involves two stages, junior and senior.

After serving five years as junior morans, the group goes through a naming ceremony, becoming senior morans for six years. After these eleven years, the senior moran are free to marry and join the married men (junior elders).

Courtship begins with new il - murran giving beads to young girls they favor. They will gradually add more beads to the girl's collection hence giving a good indication of whom they will choose as their bride in future years.

The young warriors cannot marry until ilmugit lolaingoni, a ceremony that signifies the warrior’s transition to manhood and allows him to marry. A bull is suffocated by the young warrior and then distributed amongst the village and eaten. The evolution of the warrior is complete and he is free to marry.

Marriage is a unique series of elaborate rituals. Great importance is given to the preparation of gifts by the bridegroom (two goatskins, two copper earrings, a container for milk, a sheep) and of gifts for the ceremony. As with other tribes and parts of East Africa, the girl the warrior chooses to marry is also circumcised. This occurs an hour or so before the ceremony. The marriage is then sealed when the warrior and his companions drive a bull into a hut guarded by the bride's mother and is killed and slaughtered. The village elders give the blessing and then the girl will leave the village with her husband.

Fertility is a very high value for the Samburu. A childless woman will be ridiculed, even by children. Samburu boys may throw cow dung against the hut of a woman thought to be sterile. A fertility ritual involves placing a mud figure in front of the woman's house. One week later, a feast will be given in which the husband invites neighbors to eat a slaughtered bull with him. As a little fat is spread over the woman's belly, they will say: "May God give you a child!"President Moi made female genital mutilation illegal on December 13th 2001, however, it is difficult to enforce this in rural areas and it is also a challenge to intrinsic beliefs of the Samburu and other tribes about the rite to adulthood. There have actually been cases where girls are getting circumcised very young to avoid government intervention.

There is some hope to eradicate this practice in the ntanira na mugambo, or 'circumcision with words', project. A Kenyan group called Maendeleo Ya Wanawake and the Programme for Appropriate Health Technology (PATH) founded this in August 1996.

Girls are educated about sexual health and sex issues and allowed to retreat and mediate for a week before their marriage. Unfortunately many young women are still shunned if they refuse circumcision, but this scheme offers an alternative for future generations.

The significance of cattle and livestock is always evident in Samburu culture and life as is illustrated in the sacrifice of bulls at every momentous stage in an adolescent's passage to adulthood. They also provide the dowry for a girl to get married.

It also played a part in social ties. If one man gives an animal to another man then he will be called by that name by the man who received the gift. It is therefore not uncommon for Samburu to have names such as 'castrated sheep'!

Much like the Maasai, the Samburu live off their herds. Milk is their main stay; sometimes it is mixed with blood. Meat is only eaten on special occasions. Generally they make soups from roots and barks and eat vegetables if living in an area where they can be grown.
This along with other aspects of traditional life is slowly being eroded. The terrible droughts throughout the 1990's depleted the livestock herds dramatically. The onset of desertification and changing rainfall patterns combined with El Nino meant in 1997 that some Samburu herdsmen were losing 50% of their herd.

As a result of this, a Samburu livestock market was established in Suguta Marmar town in 1991. The tribe now buy livestock and are eating more meat than they did in the past. This use of money has spread to other areas and girls are replacing their skins with cheap textiles, with even some young men sporting watches. Modernization will always infringe upon people and has done so throughout time. It seems the Samburu who were one of the last traditional tribes in Africa are going through their transition. Their changing attitudes to female circumcision are seen as positive; however change comes with affluence.

Their society has for long been so organized around cattle and warfare (for defense and for raiding others) that they find it hard to change to a more limited lifestyle. The purported benefits of modern life are often undesirable to the Samburu. They remain much more traditional in life and attitude than their Maasai cousins.

Unlike the Maasai, the Samburu have placed less importance on being a warrior and instead cherish nkanyit, or respect. Unfortunately, an element such as the livestock market and increased tourism on their land has led to friction with other tribes.

Some members of the Samburu are buying AK47's from Somalians and Ethiopians to protect themselves in raids from other tribes such as the Turkana. This is not to say that the Samburu are blameless and have not become aggressive outside their tribe. Times are changing radically for this tribe as all others in Kenya.

It is important to show respect for their beliefs and remember that tourism impacts upon culture as much as the land, so try to avoid situations that you find to be exploitative to local tribal tradition.
The Samburu love to sing and dance, but traditionally used no instruments, even drums. They have dances for various occasions of life. The men dance jumping, and high jumping from a standing position is a great sport. Most dances involve the men and women dancing in their separate circles with particular moves for each sex, but coordinating the movements of the two groups.

The Samburu recognize Islam as the religion of the enemy Boran and Somali. Thus virtually no Samburu have become Muslims.

Their own traditional religion is based on acknowledgment of the Creator God, whom they call Nkai. Traditional Samburu religious beliefs are based on prayers to Nkai and sacrifices. Nkai is thought to dwell in beautiful mountains, large trees, caverns, and water springs. The greatest hope of an old man approaching death is the honor of being buried with his face toward a majestic mountain, the seat of Nkai. The Samburu are devout in their belief in God. But they believe he is distant from their everyday activities. Diviners (laibon, pl. laibonok) predict the future and cast spells to affect the future.

Increasing numbers of Samburu have become Christians. Some are contacted by missionary teams while others become Christian as a result of relief efforts provided by Christians.

The Roman Catholic church has a presence in Mararal District but most Samburu know little about Christian faith. There is an open access to the people but, because of the traditional worldview, it takes time for a Samburu to understand the gospel in a really personal way.

From wikipedia and Pilot Guide websites

Samburu Village Near Isiolo


In January 2005, an American named Wendy Ellsworth was staying at the Sarova Shaba Lodge. She is a professional bead artist [see]. The year before, she traveled to Kenya to study beadwork of the Maasai and Samburu tribes.

She had returned to teach interested tribal women new beading techniques so they could sell more items in the United States.Samburu are cousins to Maasai; both tribes strive to maintain their culture and heritage.

Samburu intermarry with Maasai although it seems that the Samburu tribes hold to traditional ways even more than the Maasai.You may not take their picture nor can you photograph their belongings such as their herds of cattle, goats, camels, etc. But you can pay a per person fee to visit a select site; there you can ask questions, take photos, and purchase their wares.

Historically, Samburu made their regalia (face, collars, bracelets, anklets, etc.) from dyed seeds; about 50 years ago they switched to using glass beads from Czechoslovakia which are rough and have small holes.Wendy brought higher quality Japanese beads in new colors and with larger holes. Samburu had used exclusively wire and she was teaching them to work with needle and thread. She had been working with the women of a nearby village for several days teaching them new beading techniques and new designs.

See The tribal women use their income to send girls to school [see]. They are making chokers and earrings -- both new products for them. You can look at Wendy’s work at her website [].

We asked our drivers to arrange a visit to the village. Upon arrival the women sang a greeting. We had a “tour guide” – a young woman from the village named Margaret.

We watched a blacksmith make knives, walked through a typical hut (pretty bleak), heard about their customs (they are nomadic herders who consume mainly blood, milk and meat, they practice polygamy and male and female circumcision, etc.).

Margaret told us that at 8 am and 8 pm, the men of the tribe convene a parliament to discuss community matters; women are not allowed within earshot. These parliaments also decide on marriages and circumcisions.

The married women have a large hole in one earlobe and wear a beaded hoop in that ear. A string of beads that is worn around the neck is threaded through that hoop.

Margaret is teaching a pre-school at the village. She told us that they use a witch doctor rather than a physician, surround their village with thorny shrubs to protect them from animals and other tribes who steal their cattle and kill their tribesmen (mostly from Sudan and Ethiopia).

They buy maize from members of another tribe but feel they are overcharged.

Rich men have 8 wives (one for each cow) and each wife (and her children) live in a separate hut. Poor men have only 2 or 3 wives.

Wives can have as many as 15 children but many die. If a woman’s husband dies, she can not remarry. If her husband’s family is kind, she can continue to live with them; otherwise she must return to her own family.

There were only 2 or 3 young men present . We were told that the men “had gone to visit with men in neighboring villages”. The boys were with the herds of cattle and goats and camels grazing in the area. No one owns land, they just move about to where the good grass is at the time. (NOTE: When we returned in 2006, we were told the village is a women's shelter and the only males in the village are sons of the women residing there.)

The color of the beads have meaning: red = food, white = milk, black = their skin color, blue = good luck, orange = their nation, yellow = peace, green = the environment.

A Samburu settlement is known as a nkang or manyatta. It will normally consist of six or more huts built in a rough circle with an open space in the centre. The circle of huts is surrounded by thorn bush fence.

Reverse Culture Shock

Returning to America can be a disturbing mixture of pleasure and pain.

Pleasure because you are returning to all you love in the States, and pain at leaving all you have grown to love in your host country. Unfortunately, leaving a new home, new friends, and a new culture you have grown accustomed to, makes returning to the States quite a bit more complicated than stepping off the plane.

A couple things to be prepared for upon re-entry to the United States include the following:

Reverse Culture Shock

Basically, this consists of feeling out of place in your own country, or experiencing a sense of disorientation. While everything is familiar, you feel different. Even walking through the airport and hearing American English spoken can be a very surreal experience.

Re-establishing Relationships

People you were close with when you left, even those you kept in good contact with, will be separated from you by the unique experiences you have had in each other’s absence. However, this separation is certainly not permanent, and new experiences can make for some very interesting conversation. Just keep in mind that since both of you have changed, you won’t necessarily interact in the same way.

Sharing Your Experience

Since only you have had your experience, there is no possible way that anyone can fully understand what you have gone through. While people will be interested in what you did abroad, nobody will be quite as interested as you — despite your amazing storytelling skills.


Fitting your new life into your old one can be frustrating. Since every country has a unique approach to life, it can be difficult if you’re used to operating within cultural mode, or have made that approach to life a part of you, to return to the U.S. where the rules are different. It’s easy to become frustrated with aspects of U.S. culture that no longer make sense to you. Try to keep things in perspective. Bear in mind that every country has its flaws and its strengths. Also be prepared to return to all those little trials you left behind you. You might have journeyed far, far away, but they haven’t.

Returning home is wonderful in so many ways. You can talk to family and friends without a phenomenal fee, you can eat at your favorite restaurant, sleep in your own bed, and whatever else you were looking forward to doing. However, there is always the danger of falling victim to the "grass is greener syndrome."

Just as it is possible to dramatize the glory of your return home, it is also possible once you’ve returned home to over-romanticize your experience abroad. Life is never cookie cutter perfect. Home is not the impenetrable haven you might remember it as at times, and life would still not be flawless, even if you were back in the host country you left behind.

A few things might make re-entry a little easier: talk to others who have studied abroad, keep in touch with those you met abroad, use the emotional momentum to continue cultural interactions (check out on-campus groups like Friends of International Students and Scholars), and be patient with yourself and others. Savor the rare privilege of having two ‘homes’!

Meru Children’s Home

P.O Box 133, Meru, Kenya
Tel. 064-30210
Administrator: Rev. David Riungu.

This project of the Methodist Church of Kenya is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to try to help homeless children in Meru.

The program began in 1996 as a feeding program for street children as the M.C.K. Kaaga Street Children Feeding Programme. It began with 26 children who walked twice daily from Meru town to Kaaga to receive food brought mainly by women members of Kaaga Methodist Church.

Today, the Home runs the Gakoromone Feeding Programme which serves 80 area children. Since primary school recently became free in Kenya, they have gotten these 80 children enrolled in public schools and they feed these children tea at 10 am and lunch at 1 pm each school day. During the holidays and weekends, they bring the children together to read the bible, learn Bible stories, study personal hygiene and play games. Most of these children are either orphans or their parents are extremely poor and sickly.

The Home is currently training about 40 of these children’s mothers/guardians on how to care for their children, how to grow fruits and vegetables, etc.

In 1997 and 1998, the local church held two fundraising projects in order to raise funds to build a rehabilitative home for street children. It opened on Nov 14, 1999, with 12 children (10 boys and 2 girls). Today, there are 32 children residing at the Home. All are enrolled in public schools and doing well academically.