11/11/2008

Ali in Kenya

Big Deal met Ali from Birmingham, who’s recently got back from a trip to Kenya where she met a group of young people who are bringing peace to their communities which have been troubled by violence for years. Ali’s working with youth for CAFOD in Birmingham, which she says "always challenges me to look at the world differently!” Well, so did her trip to Kenya! Read more
Fri 25/07/08 – A New World
We travelled on the dusty and bumpy road from Isiolo to the north of Kenya, seeing the climate change from cool Mt Kenya, to a vast dry red desert. I felt as if I was living through a brightly coloured dream!
By lunch time, we reached the Diocese of Marsabit (about the same size as Scotland, but with 0.04% of the people!). In the parish of Laisamis we met the team from Marsabit Diocese, funded by CAFOD.
The day got quite unreal when by mid afternoon our jeep brought us to a large tree. About 60 women were sitting in the shade; from two different tribal communities, the Rendille and the Samburu. Strangely, as we pulled up, I thought of summers in primary school, being read to under a tree! Just as intent, these women waited for us to arrive...
Suddenly, with a great movement of coloured fabrics, all the women began to circle us singing, clapping and laughing. It was frustrating not to be able to communicate directly, but I did learn through a translator that they appreciate the work of the CAFOD partner. These women have taken part in training in saving and business skills and are setting up a group business venture, after receiving a loan.
The pastoralist communities in northern Kenya are experiencing droughts more frequently; their traditional way of life is becoming almost impossible. Through CAFOD’s funding, these women are finding alternative ways to make an income. It’s been hard for them to meet for the training though; in the driest season, they have to spend all day making the 15km trek to collect water. They were so hospitable, and poured us all hot tea from their precious supplies.
One woman said “We are no longer a forgotten people”, which was amazing to hear. Read more tomorrow!

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