Category Archives: Newsletter

Ladies with cuttings to plant

Newsletter for November 2017

Here is an online version of the Newsletter for November 2017

Kenya is experiencing an extended election period. With the annulment of the elections in August, the uncertainty related to elections is a continuing background to all activity in Kenya. It is difficult to plan in this atmosphere, but our work in REAP has continued, with definite encouragements. Life continues, and our teaching continues to be relevant to the rural population.

Natural Medicine Training Seminar

We held a week long, intensive training seminar on Natural Medicine from 8th-14th October. Fourteen participants came from Kenya, Uganda and one from Tanzania. The participation was excellent, and we covered the full curriculum for the week, including plenty of practical sessions. Discussion was not just on the technical aspects, but we had good discussion on how to communicate the messages more effectively in the community. All the participants were interested in the Biblical background, and how to communicate well in churches and other Christian contexts. Once again, the seminar reinforced the relevance of our teaching.

George teaching on taking Artemisia cuttings

George teaching on taking Artemisia cuttings

Wilimina teaching on making medicinal charcoal from groundnut shells

Wilimina teaching on making medicinal charcoal from groundnut shells

Margaret involves REAP in planting trees on her birthday

Margaret Oluoch is one of REAP’s most active ambassadors, helping us spread the message of Caring for God’s wonderful creation. She is also a good example; she has been active in restoring the river bank through planting trees on her own land and has persuaded her neighbours to do the same. On her birthday she involved one of the closest local churches and asked REAP to share in the teaching and planting.

Margaret with her trees to be planted

Margaret with her trees to be planted

The river bank that is being restored

The river bank that is being restored

“Eversmart” taking up REAP teaching and promoting it near Lake Victoria

Yunis is the chairlady of a group called Eversmart. We were introduced to her and her group a few years ago by one of our contacts in Uyoma close to Lake Victoria. She has been very responsive to our teaching and has planted a medicinal garden for the group on land close to her home. Group members can get planting material from this garden. There was a farmers’ field day at her home a couple of months ago and Sam attended to share teaching from the Medicinal garden. When we visited in September one of those who had attended the farmers’ field day brought his mother to come and see us. She was suffering from serious joint pain so Rosalia taught her how to make an ointment from Eucalyptus and showed her how to use it.

Yunis standing by the medicinal garden she teaches from

Yunis standing by the medicinal garden she teaches from

Rosalia uses Eucalyptus oil on a painful joint

Rosalia uses Eucalyptus oil on a painful joint

Roger in Kenya and Jos in UK

Roger Sharland has been in Kenya for the last three and a half months while Josilen has stayed on in Reading, UK, where she has had a successful cataract operation, and has enjoyed time with the grandchildren. She hopes to return to Kenya soon.

Thank You for your support

Training others and visiting those who are active is always very encouraging as we see the way they have incorporated the teaching into their lives for greater sustainability. Also hearing stories of those who are benefitting from Natural Medicines is a great encouragement. We are very appreciative of your support that enables us to do this, but long also to do more. It is challenging when we discuss what can be done as we want to take the teaching to more people but still lack capacity. Your support is very much needed and appreciated.

Domitilla preparing to feed people from her kitchen

Newsletter July 2017

Newsletter July 2017

Roger was in England for two months, but this did not stopped work from continuing from both Nairobi and Kisumu. Rains have been unpredictable but our teaching is geared towards this and it has been encouraging to see how the holistic message of Caring for God’s creation has motivated those we work with as they take appropriate measures.

Training from the Farm

The team have been working hard to make then farm an interesting and informative place for training. Visitors often talk about the peace they experience as we work with God’s creation and it is then natural to incorporate Biblical teaching into what we share. In May there was a successful three day training seminar for 17 participants at the REAP centre in Gita. All the participants have been working with Natural Medicines, so the time included sharing, building on what they have already learnt, as well introducing new medicinal plants from the garden and new ideas. Domitilla was able to help feed them all in her kitchen shown above.

Domitilla preparing to feed people from her kitchen

Domitilla preparing to feed people from her kitchen

Photo of participants listening to the teaching

Participants listening to the teaching

Farmers in Western Kenya have taken up our teaching as their own

In July, Roger returned to Kenya and was able to visit various farmers whom we have trained in various seminars, in their homes in Kakamega County.  It was particularly encouraging to see the way they have taken the teaching and incorporated it into their farms and lives in general.  It is encouraging to hear how they are sharing these concepts with others so that the message spreads.

Fridah Wabuko only moved to her new home a week earlier, but has already established her Artemisia nursery

Fridah Wabuko established her Artemisia nursery soon after moving into her new home

Alice continues to produce much Artemisia in the corners of her farm

Alice continues to produce much Artemisia in the corners of her farm

More Vetiver hedges are protecting more soil

More Vetiver hedges are protecting more soil

A couple working in harmony to produce well

A couple working in harmony to produce well

New ideas on the Reap Farm

The farm in Kajulu has most of the things we teach incorporated into the site, and we try to add new ideas from time to time.  We have a small area for a kitchen garden behind our improved rural kitchen, and we have now built a ‘Keyhole Garden’ for growing some vegetables intensively there.  Working together as a team we were able to construct it and make sure that the soil will be very productive by incorporating cuttings from around the farm and goat manure.  We have also been harvesting some new crops we have been trying.

photo of The Keyhole garden behind the kitchen

The Keyhole garden behind the kitchen

Photo of Staff harvesting Tumeric

Staff harvesting Tumeric

Another phot of the keyhole garden

Another view of the Keyhole garden behind the kitchen

photo of Richard Agiso and Sister Francesca with newly harvested yacón tubers

Richard Agiso and Sister Francesca with newly harvested yacón tubers

Roger and Jos in UK

Roger and Josilen Sharland were in UK during May and June 2017.  It was good to share our work in different contexts.  Roger returned to Nairobi in early July, but Jos has stayed on in Reading, UK for another three months.

Rosalie and Sam

Newsletter April 2017

Newsletter April 2017

Much of Kenya has been very dry, with some places experiencing a serious drought. However, in western Kenya it has been raining and many places are lush and green, especially where good care has been taken of the soil. The photograph below shows Rosalia and Sam in the medicinal plant production area in our own farm near Kisumu, where we practice what we teach. The Vetiver Grass hedges (you can see one running across the plot in the photograph) completely stops soil erosion. The trees which you can see growing abundantly in the background are carefully chosen to fit, and also contribute to a cooler environment. The mulch (which can be seen between the plants) protects the soil from the hot sun and heavy downpours. These are all important components of our teaching on caring for the soil by working with God’s creation.

Photo of Rosalie and Sam in Newsletter April 2017

Tree planting in memory of Mama Alice Akoth

On the 5th April 2017, the REAP team visited Kaminogedo Primary School in western Kenya. We went to plant some trees in memory of Mama Alice Akoth, who was one the teachers at the school and a faithful REAP contact person, who went to be with the Lord last year. The REAP team took trees from the nursery and helped to plant them. The Year 8 students, who had been Mama Alice’s students in year six, assisted in the planting. The REAP team were able to share some practical teaching with them about tree planting as well as caring for God’s creation. The students have committed themselves to making sure that the trees survive, by watering and caring from them out of respect for their former teacher.

Photo of Unloading the trees at Kaminogedo Primary School from Newsletter April 2017

Unloading trees at Kaminogedo Primary School

Photo of Rosalia explaining about the purpose of the visit from Newsletter April 2017

Rosalia explaining about the purpose of the visit

Photo of The Head Girl planting one of the trees from Newsletter April 2017

The Head Girl planting one of the trees

Photo of The Deputy Headmaster planting a tree from Newsletter April 2017

The deputy Headmaster planting a tree

Easter Tree planting as a practical part of Creation Care

REAP continues to be active in promoting Biblical models of caring for God’s wonderful Creation. We have recently linked up with Margaret Oluoch, a CMS Africa Champion, in promoting Tree Planting and natural medicines through the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK). In March we shared the challenge of Creation Care with Rev John Mark Oduor, the Provincial Director of Mission. His response was that he could not promote what he was not doing himself, and as a result invited us to his home near Siaya in western Kenya. So on April 7th we had a day at his home church, planting trees and Natural Medicines, so that John Mark, as he commented, could lead by example. This fitted in well with the Easter Season tree planting where we combine the practical teaching on planting and caring for trees as part of creation care with a spiritual message from the Bible. The central imagery is the Tree of Life in Genesis 2 and Revelation 22, with the tree of the Cross at the centre of history.

Photo of Roger explaining about planting Vetiver Grass to the youth, with Margaret Oluoch looking on from Newsletter April 2017

Roger explaining about planting Vetiver Grass to the youth, with Margaret Oluoch looking on

Photo of Rev John Mark Oduor planting from Newsletter April 2017

Rev John Mark Oduor planting

Natural Medicine Training at the AIC Missionary Training College, Eldoret

For number of years REAP has given one week of Natural Medicine Training to the students at the AIC (African Inland Church) Missionary Training College in Eldoret. Rosalia and George went to Eldoret from 20th to 25th of March and had a very productive week of training, with a lot of practical emphasis. The students were very responsive and very appreciative of the training which they say will equip them for ministering in remote and difficult locations in the future.

Group Photograph of the Natural Medicine training at the AIC Missionary College, Eldoret

Group Photograph of the Natural Medicine training at the AIC Missionary College, Eldoret


Newsletter: February 2017

Newsletter for February 2017

We want to share with you how the year has got off to a good start in REAP. As we pick up work in 2017 we look forward to a year of taking our teaching forward, and reaching out to new people and new areas, and want to share some of what we have done already. It has been very dry over much of Kenya this year, but in western Kenya we have been blessed with some rain even out of season. We have realised that one important factor in our teaching is the need to include crops that will benefit from rain whenever it falls. In the picture Samuel Ouma is getting ready for the rains preparing a variety of plants in the nursery.

Natural Medicine Workshop in Butere

The first two days of February found us in Butere in western Kenya for a two day workshop with about 26 participants all of whom are active in Natural Medicines. Most had attended a previous training seminar. It was a time of sharing together and learning from each other, and a significant amount of time was given to learning how people had used and built on their training. A strong list of successes and challenges was produced as well as specific questions.

Photo of Group Discussion at Natural Medicines Workshop.
Keith Lindsey leading a discussion at Natural Medicines Workshop

There was also some new teaching including Keith Lindsey presenting on Non Communicable Diseases, also known as Lifestyle Diseases. This led to talk about healthy lifestyles and challenges of the modern world. More and more our teaching focuses on how to keep healthy, motivating people from the Bible.

Roger teaching on the use of Frangi Pani for Shingles

We went through many of the specific questions raised with responses coming from both the participants and the facilitators, depending on the topic.

It was a very valuable time of mutual learning.

One of the questions related to how Natural Medicine teaching fitted with Biblical teaching. This gave an opportunity to share some of what the Bible says in relation to the wonder of God’s creation as well as to challenge participants to read the Bible in such a way as to learn new things.

Roger shared ways of managing HIV and the wonders of Frangi Pani in helping alleviate the symptoms of Shingles.

Extending teaching on Creation Care

We have started the year in trying to reach out to different churches and challenge them in relation to Creation Care and the Gospel. We have had some useful meetings with significant people in some of the main churches in Nairobi and the Kisumu area. Ed Brown who is one of the movers on the Lausanne Creation Care movement was visiting Nairobi, so we were able to organise a get together one evening with some church and government representatives. The meeting was designed to open the eyes of church folks to our Biblical call to care for creation, and also to open the eyes of some government folks to the potential of the church in motivating for change. Ed Brown gave the Keynote speech.

Photo of Informal Setting of a Creation Care Meeting

Informal Setting of a Creation Care Meeting

Photo of Dr Alice Kaudia and Ed Brown at Creation Care get together

Dr Alice Kaudia and Ed Brown

The REAP Centre in Kajulu is developing into a Visitors’ Centre

The REAP team based in Kisumu have been working hard at the REAP garden in Kajulu, developing it into a Visitors’ Centre where, as well as trying new things, modelling what we teach and producing planting materials, we can teach visitors. The building is a good meeting place, and the garden has been streamlined so that visitors can move round and the team can point out the main teaching points.

In the middle of February we had two groups visiting and learning from the team. Domitilla has incorporated all our teaching on kitchens into the mud kitchen, and also produced tea and food for the visitors from there. The garden is full of different teaching points, both relating to medicinal plants and sustainable agricultural practices. Whenever we have visitors they are always challenged by the wonder of God’s creation.

Photos of visitors walking around the garden
Photos of visitors walking around the garden
Photo of visitors in the REAP Centre
Photo of visitors in the REAP Centre

Thank you for your support

We are very grateful for all the support that we receive. We could not achieve what we have without this support. We are however facing a deficit, and want to reach out more and with extra support we could reach many more people with our teaching. We have much teaching ready to share but need more resources to get it out to more people.

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Photo of the Cross

Newsletter: Easter 2016

Newsletter – Our news for 2016 up to Easter 

Photo of the CrossThis newsletter was supposed to come with our wishes of a very Happy Easter to you all as we remember the significance of the empty cross and the empty grave at this time of year. Although late this theme is still very much central to our faith and very relevant!

We have had a busy couple of months since we returned to Kenya in January, and as it were hit the ground running with work.

Kisumu Trip

Roger has only managed one visit to Kisumu but it was encouraging to go at a time when everything was green after late rains, and to catch up on all that had been happening while we were away. We are very encouraged by the growing interest in our teaching, though challenged on how to reach more people. We are still very short on funding but are able to follow up on what has been started and continue to promote our core teaching. We desire to train more people on being good stewards of God’s world!

Financial Help / Fundraising

As we are short on funding we would like to take this opportunity to ask for assistance. If anyone is in a position to help us in fundraising or has contacts with trusts who may be willing to support REAP, please get in contact with us. Maybe someone would like to run a marathon for REAP or organise a fund raising event. We need to look at new ways of increasing our income if we are to continue with what we are doing.

Trip to Turkana

Midwifery Training School in Northern Kenya

The first day back in the office Roger received a phone call asking if he would be willing to do an evaluation on a midwifery training school for South Sudanese girls. This is a project he had been involved with before so they were keen to get the continuity, and was happy to accept it. It has been good to be involved again in a project based on South Sudan even if the visit was only to Northern Kenya where the school has been relocated.

The fighting that broke out over two years ago particularly devastated the area where the school was located in Unity State. As a result the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) decided to relocate to Lokichoggio in Northern Kenya. It is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of all involved that they will soon be graduating 20 enrolled midwives with a strong sense of service and self worth from the school. It was a pleasure to once again be involved in this type of work. The picture shows a focus group with some of the graduates from the school.

Echo Symposium

After two weeks in Northern Kenya we had an ECHO symposium on good practices for pastoral area. Roger was asked to give a presentation and Jos was also able to attend. The presentation was on a topic that I have given much thought to in the past, but not much recently. I gave a presentation on how we need to understand the clash of worldviews between agricultural and pastoral peoples if we are to help with transformation. I based this partly on the experience we have had in Mundri over the last few years, and also what it means to love our neighbour when he or she is from a very different culture. God understands things in ways we sometimes find very difficult. It was good once again to be involved in such teaching and to have good interaction with others during the symposium.

Natural Medicines Seminar

Photo of Natural Medicines SeminarWe had to return to Nairobi immediately after the symposium without going on the field trip as two days later we started our Natural Medicines Seminar. We had had a good number of people showing interest, but unfortunately more than half of them cancelled within the last week. As a result we had a much smaller group, but made up for in the quality of participation. Jos was able to join as a participant this time, so is fully up with the teaching. The seminar covers the normal teaching that we give, but every time we find new insights and feedback. We had plenty of opportunity to discuss issues relating to Creation Care and teaching through the church as we had a varied group of Christians from different backgrounds. The picture shows a practical session on making ointments

Kisumu Building Project

Building works in Kisumu Meanwhile in Kisumu George and Rosalia have been able to move the building forward and the doors and windows have all been installed and the building is now secure and usable though finishing touches are still needed. They are waiting for my input on my next visit early next month, and we hope then to be able to start making good use of it. We are getting more visitors to the farm and we hope that the building will add value to those who visit as we are always keen to share our holistic approach. We believe the garden is showing good production and many of the wonders of God’s creation in the way we approach things.

Mama Kezia Nursery School

Things in Mundri are beginning to improve now. The road has opened so it is no longer completely cut off and medical and other help is possible. People have begun returning to the town and the schools have opened. Mama Kezia Nursery School was able to open again about three weeks ago with about 35 pupils, though others are still returning and the school is filling up again.

Family News

We left one set of grandchildren in England, to have the other two, Naomi and Faith, Photo of Naomi and Faith waiting for us here in Nairobi. We have had a full house with Grace and Emmanuel, and Naomi and Faith with us as they are unable to be in South Sudan. They will be going to England next month for three months home assignment and then the house will no doubt seem very quiet!

Becca is well settled into her university course, and is keeping abreast of her studies. She has been with Jenny and Tich over Easter. It is good to be able to talk to them all on Skype and to follow the development of the children.

Prayer Pointers

We want to give thanks to all those who remember us in prayer, and we are very aware of the importance of this, as we look back and see God’s hand in leading and providing:

  • We PRAISE God that we have adjusted to being back after the time we had in England, and for having time with the other part of our family.
  • Our work permit is in for renewal and seems to be taking a long time to be processed. Please PRAY that this may soon be out so we can continue in confidence.
  • Please continue to PRAY for Becca in university as her exams are coming up, but her thoughts are already focusing on coming to Kenya for the summer.
  • Please continue to PRAY for new sources of funding so we can continue with the work and expand to new areas. Please PRAY for our wisdom in this.
  • Please PRAY for the REAP team, for good health and safety as they are involved in travelling and training.
  • We continue to seek PRAYER for South Sudan; that real peace that is dealing with the causes of the fighting may prevail. Please PRAY especially for the situation in Mundri and for Manny and Grace and the family as they decide on how best to move forward while in UK.
  • Please continue to PRAY that the process we are involved in with others may wake the church to our responsibility for our Father’s property in relation to the environment, and for concerted effort as we seek to spread the message. Please also PRAY that the holistic message we teach may get across and those we work with may see their responsibility to God in all they do.