We are pretty excited about a new assignment that we have been given. In addition to our same office responsibilities during the week we have been assigned to provide support for a small branch called the Kilili Branch on Sundays. This little community is high in the Kilunga Hills Southeast of Nairobi. It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from our home. We went for the first time today. We were too busy to take pictures but expect some in the near future.
It was like driving back in time at least 200 years (and I have decided that that is not necessarily a bad thing)! The hills are lush green and terraced with crops. They are still without electricity, or running water, although both are in the process of being provided. For now though the women still carry the family's water from the river in 5 gallon buckets strapped to their heads, as well as carrying the firewood for cooking in the same manner. A few of the "wealthier" families have purchased a donkey to perform these labors. Currently at the church the water comes from a large plastic container that stores the run-off from the building's rain gutters. The restrooms at the church consist of two small out-houses with concrete floors in which there is a 6" X 8" rectangular hole-members bring their own T paper. We were saddened to learn that the water well that LDS Charities had drilled not long ago was not being used because the entire community could not afford the diesel fuel to run the pump. The Church always gets a prior commitment from the communities that they drill wells for, that they will maintain the wells after they are drilled and given to them. Unfortunately in this case the community has not followed through. Hopefully that will change before too long.
The people had been told that we were coming. They were very welcoming and asked us to speak for a few minutes after their regular speakers had finished. About a hundred people were in attendance. After the first meeting, Karen helped in the primary and Relief Society and I was asked to teach a small group of investigators and newly baptized members during sunday school. Even though English and Swahili are Kenya's national languages some of these people had not learned either. So I had to have a member translate the message into their native tongue Kikamb By prior arrangement, after the regular meetings were completed, we stayed and help train the men how to do home teaching and the women how to do visiting teaching. They had never done either before.
We have a lot to learn from them about commitment and dependability as well. Most of them walk several miles to attend church, rain or shine. They also walk 3-4 miles between each of the families that they will home teach or visit teach. I remember back home some of the men were not happy when they were assigned to visit families that required them to drive their air-conditioned cars across the bridge 3-4 miles.
We will attend church there 2 or 3 Sundays a month. On the other Sunday/s we will visit other branches around Kenya to train them on financial record keeping in preparation for the semiannual audit that I will do of their books in August.