Meet Our New Friends in Ruai, Kenya
by Daniel Whalen & Joyce Dowling
February 23, 2014
Opening Words: (read by Joyce)
Welcome to this common, sacred space.
Common, because we are all welcome.
Sacred, because here we transform the ordinary
and attend to the profound.
We carry with us our regrets, doubts, fears, stories, laughter;
may they inspire our worship.
Above all, may we each meet what we need most to find,
On this day, in this common, sacred space.
Spirit of life and spirit of grace,
Rest with us this day, in this place.
We lift up every joy, every gladness,
We hold up every hurt, every sadness
Spoken in this good company
As well as every secret feeling
Held quiet in the hollows of our hearts.
To be, is to be perceived…. and so to know thyself is only possible through theeyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
– Somni 451 from Cloud Atlas based on a Novel by David Mitchell
Introduction to a Time for All Ages by Daniel Whalen
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
How we met Kevin Ragira, minister of Ruai UU Church (learn more on their website):
Joyce: I met Kevin Ragira on Facebook in the summer of 2010 following General Assembly where I had met a minister from another country in Africa. We had mutual UU friends and now have many mutual friends. We communicated via messaging and I learned a lot about him and his ministry in Kenya, including a sharing of photos and videos. I did some research on what other UUs knew about him and were doing with the Kenyan UUs and found a lot of information, but no evidence that they were receiving any help. I created their website and we bought and sold their products in Dec. The sermon video is about an incident that happened in Dec. and did not influence my desire to support Kevin’s ministry; I saw his work as a volunteer minister was honorable and they had businesses to become self-sufficient. Slideshow with no audio on YouTube.
Daniel: The Ruai Church came up in a Facebook feed. Kevin sent me a friend request. After a few conversations I agreed to approach the board about raising funds for him. A cautious compromise was struck where I’d create a presentation [info & link on last year’s blog] (The one with PRINCE) to introduce the Ruai congregation to Davies to lay the groundwork for future help. Kevin was excited about it. The first things I noticed was that he had a profound style of expression. Just like in our everyday relationships there are times when we are neglectful and should be more gracious to our friends and family. Kevin is a persistent and patient man. So on behalf of this patient and persistent friend of ours in Kenya, Joyce and I have been working hard to bring to your attention a group of people who are trying to create a community with the same goals as ours with only a fraction of the blessings.
We had a live skype session with them following the video. During our skype session as we ended our worship service, we all held hands and sang “Bwana Awabariki” (see it on YouTube) (first 2 lines from hymn #1033 in “Singing the Journey”) – translation: “May God grant you a blessing evermore.”
Some things we learned when the children asked questions during our live skype conversation: They collect water from rain, but sometimes youths have to go as far as 20 kilometers (~12 miles) with donkeys pulling carts to get water. They eat their food with their hands like spoons. We had trouble understanding each other, especially about food, but followed up on email to find out they eat githeli (thi), which is is a mixture of beans and maize (corns) cooked and they learned what salad is. The animals listed that included “ETC” meant “etc.” Kevin explained by email: “Donkeys,goats,dogs,cats,cows and horse.This are the one kept at home. We only keep at home we don’t keep anywhere apart from home.”
Extinguishing the Chalice
We extinguish the chalice here that it might glow gently in our hearts. May it light your path as you leave this place. May it guide your way until we are together again. by Martha Munson (from UUA Worship Web)