All posts by Editor

04Apr/16
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.
16Mar/16
Photo of Seminar Attendees

Natural Medicines Training Seminar 2016

REAP conducted a Natural Medicines Training Seminar from March 6th-12th at the Mary Ward Centre in Karen.

The seminar was attended by participants from Kenya, South Sudan, Mozambique, USA and Australia.

Natural Medicines Training Seminar Content

During this seminar we covered:

  • The major medicinal plants that we teach on and included many practicals.
  • Growing, preparing and the use of Natural Medicines.
  • A Biblical Perspective and discussions about how to communicate the message positively both within the church and the community.

More Training Seminars

We hope that we will be able to hold another seminar later in the year.

Please contact the REAP office in Nairobi or Kisumu if you are interested.

28Feb/16
Photo of Roger with some of the PRDA staff and Midwifery graduates in Kakuma camp

10 day trip to Turkana County, Northern Kenya

Roger has spent ten days in Turkana County in Northern Kenya doing an evaluation of the PRDA (Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency) Midwifery Training School.  The school has been training midwives in Leer, South Sudan for a number of years.

Photo of Elizabeth Nyadiet Kel on practical assignment in Kakuma IRC hospital

Elizabeth Nyadiet Kel on practical assignment in Kakuma IRC hospital

In 2014, following the outbreak of fighting, PRDA decided to relocate the school to northern Kenya as the original site was at the centre of the areas of conflict.  Roger had visited the school in 2012, so was asked to do a follow up evaluation this year. It is remarkable to hear the story of how the 20 students were all flown and re-located to Kenya to continue their studies.  The tutors have done a remarkable job of helping the students, who were traumatised by their experiences and still hearing news of the deaths of relatives and friends.  They have been helped through their studies in a wonderfully holistic way. After visiting the school in Lokichoggio and the students on practical assignment in Kakuma, Roger was very encouraged by the visit. The feedback from the hospitals where the students have been doing their practical assignments in particular shows how committed Christian tutors can make such a difference in terms of the quality of the students at the end of the course.  The 20 girls have been transformed during their 3 years of study from shy school girls to confident and capable midwives with a real calling to help save the lives of mothers and children through their acquired learning and skills.

Photo of Focus group discussion with some of the staff at the PRDA compound in Lokichoggio

Focus group discussion with some of the staff at the PRDA compound in Lokichoggio

Photo of Roger with some of the PRDA staff and Midwifery graduates in Kakuma camp

Roger with some of the PRDA staff and Midwifery graduates in Kakuma camp

05Feb/16
Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Newsletter: January 2016

We arrived back from an extended time in the UK on Saturday, January 9th, and are now adjusting to the familiar way of life, and also the altitude again. We had a very fulfilling time in UK, spending most of the time with the family. We were in Reading so that we were near Jenny and her family. Greyfriars church lent us the curate’s house for the duration of our stay and it proved a wonderful base for which we are very grateful. In September Becca started at Northampton University where she is reading Human Resource Management. She had about a month to adjust to England before we took her up and settled her in to her accommodation on campus. She is enjoying the independence and has settled into university life, and seems to be enjoying her course.

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

After her maternity leave of one year, Jennifer resumed work in September for a couple of months before taking maternity leave again in November. During this time she was able to leave Robert (Bobby) and Jessica (Jess) with us during the day, and they adjusted well to their grandparents! They soon got to know us and it has been wonderful to be there in the transition from babies to toddlers. Now that we have returned to Kenya we will miss them greatly.

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Jenny’s husband, Tich had broken his leg so when we arrived in UK he was somewhat incapacitated, but this meant that we had had quality time with the whole family. We knew Jenny was going to present us with a new grandchild in December so we had extended our stay an extra month to be around for the birth. Christian came quickly into the world on Christmas morning, weighing in at 4kg – a wonderful Christmas gift for us as we remembered another very significant birth together. Mother and son are both doing very well, and we are very glad we were around to be with them at this time. Being in England for a longer period enabled us to catch up on the fast changing thinking of the society, especially in the very mixed environment of Reading. As noted above, our focus of time was very much on the family, and we are sorry that we didn’t get to meet up with many folks we would have liked to see during the time.   We are now back in Kenya, picking up again with the part of the family that is here as well as catching up on the work. Manny, Grace, Naomi and Faith have been in Nairobi, living in our house since May last year as the situation in Mundri has been very tense, so we had a warm welcome from them on our return. It has been good to pick up with another part of the family as we have had to leave those behind in Reading. The girls in particular are very excited to have us back.

Photo of Naomi and Faith

Naomi and Faith

While we have been away work has continued through the team both in Nairobi and those based in Kisumu. The rains have been heavy and have continued for an extended period, so this has been a good time for planting Vetiver grass, and the team have been busy helping those who have nurseries to use the grass to protect their land. This has been a good opportunity to extend this teaching. There is a growing understanding amongst those with whom we work that our neglect of God’s wonderful creation is causing more and more problems. The message of good stewardship of God’s world has always been central to our teaching but is now being understood by more and more folks. Climate change is indeed a Gospel Imperative. This is a message we will continue with into 2016 in our teaching. We believe this to be a significant part of practical discipleship as we talk about living as God’s people.

Rosalia has been very active in training on Natural medicines over the time we have been away and the message is spreading both in our catchment area and further afield. She was able to have a week training amongst the Maasai on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in October and has been training in churches round Kisumu the last couple of months. The photo is of Rosalia with some of the Maasai trainees.

It has been encouraging to hear what has been going on and Roger will be travelling to Kisumu next week to spend time with the team there and strategise for the time ahead. We have an intensive one week Natural Medicines seminar planned for March, and registration is underway, and we expect a good attendance.

We are still facing serious challenges of funding, and although we made some good contacts while in England, this is something we are still focusing on. We have redone the REAP website, so we would encourage those who can to get on there to get a clearer overview of our current work. We have also been able to establish a link for donations online which should now be working. We are more and more dependent on personal giving for continuing the work. REAP is eligible for Gift Aid claims. Challenges of South Sudan

One of the things that has really saddened us while in England is hearing of the deteriorating situation in Mundri. While on the national front peace negotiations have continued and seem to bearing fruit, in Mundri the situation has seriously deteriorated. The clash in worldview between the agricultural people of Mundri and the cattle people coming from the areas to the north has led to a lot of destruction in Mundri. As a result the population of the town had to flee to the bush, and some people are only now returning. As a result all schools, including Mama Keziah Nursery School have closed. This was only weeks after the nursery school had finally opened, so was particularly disappointing for Jos. However, since the building is out of town it has not suffered the destruction that other buildings have. Manny was in Mundri when the fighting escalated, but was able to get a flight out to join his family in Nairobi, where he is now getting involved in temporary sports ministry prior to home assignment later this year.

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 for the time we had in England, and especially the quality time we had with Jenny and Tich and their family. We give a special thanks to God for our new grandson, Christian.
  • Please PRAY for Becca as she adjusts to not having us in the same country, and that she may really benefit from the university experience.
  • Please continue to PRAY for us as we seek to find more resources to continue the work, and indeed to expand to new areas.
  • Please PRAY for the REAP team, for good health and safety as they are involved in travelling and training.
  • Please PRAY for Roger as he presents a paper at the ECHO symposium in March, and for the Natural Medicines training the week after that we may be able to maintain the holistic message.
  • We continue to seek PRAYER for South Sudan; that peace may prevail. Please PRAY especially for the situation in Mundri and for Manny and Grace and the family with the challenges of being displaced to Nairobi.
  • 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 follow up from last May’s conference. 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.
05Feb/16
Photo of how to take cuttings of Artemisia

Encouraging News about Artemisia

Photo of how to take cuttings of Artemisia

Rev Ben Baraza showing one of his contact farmers how to take Artemisia cuttings from his plants

As we promote the growing and the use of Artemisia as an infusion for treating malaria, we can be more and more confident of it’s effectiveness. Recent clinical trials show that the tea is more effective than ACT drugs, and with no side effects. For those who are sceptical this is very good news. See link: http://www.malariaworld.org/blog/breaking-news-clinical-trials-artemisia-plants This comes together with the recognition of Youyou Tu by the Nobel committee for discovering the effectiveness of Artemisia with the award of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2015/