Category Archives: Newsletter

24Jul/18
Sr Francisca shows plants in her garden to other participants during the seminar in May 2018

Newsletter for July 2018

Here is an online version of the Newsletter for July 2018

July in the northern hemisphere is one of the hotter months. Here in Nairobi it is the cold season and this year we are feeling the cold! Although due to limited resources, we have not been able to reach out as much as we would have liked, we have enjoyed very positive response to our teaching from those who have come to us. We have in particular had very encouraging response from those who want to use Vetiver Grass to care for God’s wonderful creation, starting from home. Also we have had positive interest in natural medicines, and particular Artemisia and Moringa, with very positive training opportunities.

Sr Francisca shows plants in her garden to other participants during the seminar in May 2018

Sr Francisca shows plants in her garden to other participants during the Natural Medicine Seminar in May 2018

REAP Displays at local events

We have recently been able to have displays of REAP’s work at various local events, publicising what we do and getting the message to a much wider audience. On World Environment Day on June 5th REAP participated in a local event organised by Kisumu County. We had been asked in particular to share on the Biblical perspective on Creation Care and on the use of Vetiver Grass as a practical measure. Two weeks later we had a display on Natural Medicines in partnership with a local organisation we have been assisting in Ekatsombero village. We had earlier helped them to plant a medicinal garden at the local school and this was a very positive focus of interest. Others we have trained have also displayed in their home areas at various events.

Visitors at the REAP display on World Environment Day hear about the use of Vetiver Grass

Visitors at the REAP display on World Environment Day hear about the use of Vetiver Grass

Rosalia at the REAP table at Ekatsomero School open day, with the Medicinal garden in the background

Rosalia at the REAP table at Ekatsomero School open day, with the Medicinal garden in the background.

Responding to invitations for teaching

The team in Kisumu are now known to have interesting and relevant teaching, so are often asked to come and share at seminars and church gatherings organised by others. This gives us good opportunities for challenging from the Bible and sharing some particular aspects of teaching relevant to the situation. Women’s groups are particularly hungry for teaching and recently we have been able to share on a number of occasions on some aspects of Natural Medicines, Creation Care and reusable sanitary towels. Our experience is that nearly always there is interest in many aspects of the teaching and often something not planned also comes up.
Women listen during a one day seminar that REAP staff facilitated at Evangelical Christ Church in Africa (ECCA)

Women listen during a one day seminar that REAP staff facilitated at Evangelical Christ Church in Africa (ECCA)

Natural Medicine Training Seminar

In May we had another successful intensive week of training in Natural Medicines. We had 21 participants representing 7-8 countries. The participation was excellent and we were able to cover all the planned curriculum with plenty of practicals. The centre we used is run by Benedictine Sisters, and one of the sisters who came to our training two years ago has established an excellent medicinal garden, which was an invaluable resource and inspiration for the participants.

George teaching on harvesting Artemisia and taking cuttings during seminar May 2018

George teaching on harvesting Artemisia and taking cuttings during seminar May 2018

 
Preparing leaves for making ointments and oils

Preparing leaves for making ointments and oils

 

What About Retirement?

Roger reaches his 65th birthday this year, so people have been asking about whether we are going to retire. We still have plenty of energy and momentum, and believe that we still have plenty of opportunities for extending our teaching and getting the ideas established in more areas. So retirement is not on our immediate agenda at the moment, though we are looking seriously at strategies for the teaching to continue with less of our input.

Thank you for your support

We continue to appreciate the support that we receive, as do those who benefit from the teaching and other work. Although as noted above we are not talking about retiring yet, one of our main supporting churches does cease their support at retirement age, so we are now looking for new people and churches to commit themselves to supporting our work. Please consider if you or your church can make a commitment to enable us to continue with what we have started, and take it forward.

24Jul/18
Teaching a group how to plant vetiver grass

Newsletter for March 2018

Here is an online version of the Newsletter for March 2018

‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’ (Matt 9:37). I was reading this passage this morning and it seems to sum up our situation in REAP. We have well-tried teaching and we have people who are wanting to hear it, but we need to find the way to get the message out to them. We need more people sharing the teaching and this means we need more resources to be able to do so. The rains have been heavy the last couple of weeks causing flooding in many areas, showing the need for teaching on how farmers can respond in a way that Cares for God’s creation.

Local Leaders Visit the Farm

As we have had more visitors to the REAP farm, we have also been challenged. One challenge we had recently was whether our neighbours are taking up our teaching. In response to this, we recently organised a visit by the chief and sub-chiefs from the local area, followed by a half day of practical teaching. Afterwards, they shared that they now understand a lot more and asked to return for more personal teaching which has been very positive. As always the holistic view of caring for God’s creation was communicated, and the message was clearly appreciated by the local leaders.

Leaders visit REAP Farm

Leaders visit REAP Farm

Richard Agiso explaining use of Lavender to Chief and subchiefs of Okok

Richard Agiso explaining use of Lavender to Chief and subchiefs of Okok

As the rains start interest in Vetiver Grass picks up

2017 was a strange year in Kenya, and with the uncertainty people were not looking ahead very much. As a result we did not get as much Vetiver Grass distributed as we would have hoped, but have a good supply ready in the nursery. With the new year there has been much more forward looking and with the recent heavy rains the need for caring for God’s soil is emphasised, and interest in very close at hand. We have managed to distribute grass both locally and also respond to orders from more distant places.

Ben distributing vetiver grass

Ben distributing vetiver grass

Teaching a group how to plant vetiver grass

Teaching a group how to plant vetiver grass

Digging the grass from the nursery

Digging the grass from the nursery

 
Vetiver packed ready to send to a project at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro

Vetiver packed ready to send to a project at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro

 

New developments on the REAP farm

As we have been getting more visitors coming to the REAP farm in Kajulu, we have got more feedback on how others can benefit. In February we worked on labelling the different trees and medicinal plants in the garden. This is in response to feedback that the farm is a potential resource for many to learn from. It is encouraging that we now have more people coming to us to learn. Many come for technical learning, but when people come and comment on the pleasant ambiance it gives us an opportunity to share about Creation Care and our responsibility to the creator.

Roger and George working on labelling the plants in our medicinal production area

Roger and George working on labelling the plants in our medicinal production area

Roger and Jos both back in Kenya

When we sent out the last newsletter, Jos was still in UK. We are pleased to be able to report that Jos was able to return to Kenya in the middle of February. She is now well settled back and life has returned to normal.

Thank you for your support

The rains have been heavy the last couple of weeks and we see the potential for what we are teaching. We would however like to be able to reach out to many more needy farmers. We are very appreciative of the support that enables us to do so, but long also to do more. We are needing to increase our funding so that we can do more. Please donate if you can, but also contact us with ideas and help us to reach out to more of those who need our teaching.

06Nov/17
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.

21Oct/17
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.

15May/17
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