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.

Speaking Engagements

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.

Cold Weather

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.

Extensive Travel

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.
Tourist Fun

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.”

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