Visiting Our Friends in Kenya

By: Jennifer Nyago

Derek & Celesta Bargatze touched down in Nairobi on June 2nd and were greeted with the familiar sounds and scents of Nairobi’s overcrowded hustle and bustle.  Eager to be reunited with our longtime friends and cooperatives in Embu, Kenya, the Bargatze’s traveled an additional 4 hours in public transport.  They knew, despite the physical weariness that such long hours of travel can bring, they would experience a resurgence of energy and great joy to be again with their dear friends.  They were right!  After an evening of getting updated on the growth of the children, laughter, stories and enjoying one another's company again, the week was underway.

Derek spent multiple hours with our cooperatives discussing Old Testament Survey classes. These classes are from the Institute for G.O.D. International curriculum of which the Kenyans have been following.  Further discussion was then made on the practical implications of these teachings, both for their relationships amongst one another, as well as the community that surrounds them.  It was a rich time that would indeed lead to future healthy dialogue amongst the families after the Bargatze’s departure.

Derek also delivered a message to the youth who have been gathering together since ‘Da Mission East Africa SLAM (Students Living A Mission) events last summer.  In an effort to prepare this group for the upcoming trip to Molo (next month), Derek focused on Ephesians 2 and how differing cultures and tribes can come together under one peace, Jesus.  This is a powerful message for the youth who have been facing the violent effects of tribalism as a result of the post-election riots.  It is also especially significant in preparation for Molo because this location was a central location for the post-election tensions due to tribalism, amongst other issues.

Celesta was able to deliver family healthcare packs that would empower the mothers and wives there.  Her time was spent predominantly with Anne (Reuben's wife), Irene (Simon's wife), Poline (John's wife), Wanja (Kanjogo's wife), and Anniscia (John's sister).  In their area, practices like taking a child’s temperature are often a challenge for mothers because they do not have access to simple tools like thermometers.  In other cases, they are left to guess when determining the proper amount of medication for their child.  Most dosages come only in adult form and must be broken down through inadequate means, as proper pill slicers are not available.  Such items amongst other practical tools in the healthcare packs, accompanied with a few hours of teaching, have left these mothers relieved for their own families and eager to share with others!

Celesta also facilitated a wound care clinic for the children in the area.  She had Anne accompany her in taking on the maintenance of these children’s wounds by educating her in how to do so.  Such education allows for women like Anne to more adequately respond to the needs that surround them everyday.

The Bargatze family adjusted quickly to life in Kenya.  It was sad to depart but we know, once again, it is only for a time.  Our work will always bring us back together as we move forward in education and service to the people of Kenya.