It’s Sunday, just before supper. It’s been a real African sort of day. We thought we might try a different English speaking church this morning. Well, that was the plan anyways. But at 8:00 this morning Mama Mary came in for a lengthy visit and told us we were going to her church this morning. Sure, we’re not fussy. So what if it’s all in Swahili and we will not understand anything. We get there at 10:30, but of course, being white, we first have to meet all the church elders and staff, then go see the vicar’s house (it’s an Anglican church). Then the Sunday school children sing us a song in English, then we are told (against our wishes) to sit at the front of the church in “special” chairs. By now it’s after 11:00 and church sort of begins. . In total there were about 50 people in church including us (the Sunday school children have vanished). There is a very nice man – the church secretary- who translates the goings on into English for us: so far so good. All the various “important” people in church then stand and introduce themselves to their “special visitors”, then we have to stand and I have to introduce all of us, etc, etc. Still, nothing too unusual.
Of course, now that we are feeling well loved by these friendly people, and there has been some real nice singing, the “Bomb” is dropped. “Ken, could you please preach for us this morning?’ I (Marlene) could not look at him for fear I would burst out in a nervous laugh, or somehow draw attention to myself and they would ask ME to preach. Ken looked a little shell shocked, but pulled himself together nicely. They gave him about 10 minutes to prepare (more singing, etc) and he did pretty well – about a 20 minute talk including the translating. And, he actually had a point in his message.
Then even more “fun”…apparently the diocese has a project in a nearby city and funds are desperately short, so they began collecting money and totalling it right there. Today’s total came to $1400 Kenya Shillings (about $17.50 Canadian dollars) and one chicken (Who was about to lay an egg, according the chicken butt-feeling expert). The chicken then went up for bid, and it was pretty clear that the “special visitors” should bid on it. We were told the going price would be $300 - 400 KS, so Ken gave $500 KS ($6.25ish Canadian), and we became the proud owners of a chicken. Sadly, we have no experience handling live chickens, so when they handed it to Andrew it flapped in his face and he dropped it in surprise, and then Ken had to deal with a flapping frightened chicken. Too funny. The congregation was then asked to try to match our $500 KS, and they came up with $345 KS (about $5 Canadian). This is all BIG money for them; they can hardly afford these contributions as so many of them can barely eek out a living.
Needless to say we donated the chicken back to the church in the hope more little chicks will be hatched to “sell” to the next “special visitor” or to sell at market to raise more money for the church. A church member was then assigned to the task of keeping care of the chicken.
OK, enough about our fun service (and by now its 1:30 PM, by the way). After lunch we went for a walk along the beautiful back roads of Kimilili. We met a very kind older man who chatted away with us and insisted we go to his house which was “just ahead”. That turned to be more like ¾ of a km, and he REALLY wanted us to come in for a visit (only 10 minutes…like we don’t know by now that really means 1 hour minimum). It was thundering and starting to rain, and we wanted to get to the orphanage to be with the kids, so we begged off, but he also insisted on walking us back to the orphanage. It was pouring by the time we got there, so we couldn’t stay……so we will be back another day.