Sauti Moja hopes to bring the global community closer together through better understanding and deeper relationship. We invite you to engage in personal stories presented from various perspectives - Sauti Moja staff, partners and beneficiaries – that, when strung together, articulate the Sauti Moja journey. We hope that this blog will enrich you and that you find the collective insight inspirational.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
A Canadian Experience
Imagine that your first visit outside of
your warm Kenyan home was to Canada in November. This was the experience of Martha,
Sauti Moja’s Vulnerable Youth Coordinator, and Paul, the Peace
Coordinator. Sponsored by Canadian Food
Grains Bank (CFGB) through their ‘People to People’ program, Martha and Paul met
those who support CFGB and ERDO, two agencies that partner with Sauti Moja.
They toured the Prairies and parts of Ontario, speaking to many Church
communities about the challenges of poverty, hunger and conflict and how the
generous donations of Canadians transform lives. They were so touched by the
wonderful kindness and hospitality extended to them. We have had many people inquire
about their experience.
Paul and Martha at Sunset Church in Regina.
At every speaking engagement, they were
greeted with affirming comments such as, “Thank you. Now, we better understand the challenge of
your pastoralist communities and how our resources help so much.” Sauti Moja
donors in Saskatchewan and Ontario were delighted to actually meet those whom they had read and heard from us about.
Even though temperatures were warmer
than usual, they struggled with the cold.
Although dressed for the weather, they couldn’t find familiar warmth,
and Paul was seldom without his toque and sweater. At times, we had to encourage him to take his
coat off when indoors, so as to feel the warmth of the coat when going outside.
Experiencing the cold at Niagara Falls.
After a month of travel, they expressed
exhaustion from long road trips and learned firsthand that Canada is very large.
They also learned that winter road trips can be risky; Martha was in a car
accident when the vehicle in front of them spun out of control and demolished
their car. After x-rays and a check-up, everyone was given a clean bill of
health; she left impressed with the care that she was given.
In pastoralist communities where food is
of limited supply, one doesn’t expect to eat every time you feel hungry. Generous
hosts presented meals and snacks at every turn, and Paul couldn’t understand
why we eat so often. Then, he found his
clothing becoming too tight, so all I could say, “Now you understand the
challenge this country has with weight.” They missed the food of home, but
celebrated the ‘wonderful food of home’ when visiting a friend from Marsabit.
Paul combing a Charolais bull at Agribition in Regina.
Truthfully, there was not much time for
tourism between speaking engagements, but they saw the Rockies, though a bit overcast.
In Regina, they were impressed by the huge bulls at the livestock show,
Agribition. They saw high-tech poultry and dairy farms where they learned about
efficiency and lack of jobs. In Ontario, we took them to the Science Centre,
Welland Canal, and Niagara Falls; on the last day, our trip to the Aquarium and
CN Tower was cancelled due to their exhaustion.
As it turns out ‘home is home’ and
although their experience here was positive, they were both missing their
families something fierce. A month away was a long time, and over time, were increasingly
anxious to return home. Plus, they had to get back to their work for Sauti Moja
Marabit! Once home, Martha reported,
“Paul and I came back home safely, and our families are doing well. We had a briefing of our tour to SMM staff, and they were
happy to hear the stories and see the pictures and videos of what we did during
our visit to Canada. We thank all those who participated with us during our
visit and the support they gave us. We pray for God’s blessing and courage to
continue with your good work.”