Kenya, East Africa
Again, Gregg Garner was invited to be the musician for a team serving in Western Kenya. It was on that eye-opening, two-month immersion trip, of which Robert Munoz was also in attendance,
that Gregg recounts...
" I was propelled into the kind of maturation, where the responsibility for what you've become aware of impacts what you decide to do with your life. It wasn't just a personal issue anymore, it had become a moral one. If I didn't respond to the needs of the vulnerable women, children and families that I had encountered, then I was in the wrong. So I got very serious about what I was going to do about poverty after that trip. When I initially returned to the States, I was a mixture of anger, drive and brokenness. I didn't sleep in a bed for months (as well as a couple other behavioral changes) as my personal way of protesting the comforts of my environment. I couldn't bring myself to rest without coming up with a way, an effective way, to do something about what I saw, not just in Azusa, or Mexico, but now also in Africa."
In 2000, a team of five (Gregg, Tara, Robert and Jason, plus a fifth) journeyed with their tent, less than $100 and some bottled water, to the Central Province at the foothills of Mt. Kenya to begin a relationship with a group of people introduced as "The Jumping People."
Without a guide, the team set out to the forest to meet with a man named Rukenya and his family. That night in the dark, with only one kerosene lamp, a very fruitful relationship began. It was from this relationship that all of our activity in East Africa would spring forth.
In 2002, we commenced the building of a multipurpose training center which still stands in tact today. It continues to serve as a place to host everything from village meetings to seminars for local leaders.
It was also from this area of Kenya that we would meet Rueben Ndwiga and Simon Njeru - two of our current cooperatives for East Africa - and two of our longest standing cooperative relationships with indigenous peoples.
These men and their families are highly involved in our work in East Africa, including our activity in Uganda.
We also maintain a relationship with Rukenya in the Central Province, including a relationship with his son Njeru, after all these years.
So many wonderful stories came out of this time of service in Kenya, East Africa.