The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #69011   Message #1167782
Posted By: Allan C.
22-Apr-04 - 07:45 AM
Thread Name: Need an Accordion for Kenya
Subject: RE: Need an Accordion for Kenya
Here is a bit more information about "Sengwer Aid" and the people Sam and his mum have come to know:

From Inform - the monthly magazine of the Methodist churches in Royston, Foxton & Papworth

Thursday at Eight

"Don't worry about me," said our speaker, "I can talk for Africa."

And so she could – and so she did – she spoke straight from the heart. For the next hour and a half, Gill Pirt told us of her love for the Sengwer tribe of Kenya and how it came about.

As Home Start organiser in Goole, Yorkshire, in April 2001 she was offered the opportunity to go to Kenya by Home Start International to set up a Home Start group in the township of Kitale, a place not normally on the tourist route. She stayed with a minister, with a family of five children, for 12 months during which time she opened up 13 Home Start groups. During her time there she met only two other white men. These turned out to be American missionaries who were helping with the considerable street people problem.

One day there was a celebration of a group of people officially being recognised as the 43rd tribe of Kenya and Gill was invited to attend. She was introduced to the leaders and she was affected by the friendship shown to her and the natural lifestyle of the people and subsequently she came to love them.

She now considers herself a privileged friend and she is an honourable member of their dancing team.

They are not warlike or aggressive like the neighbouring tribes e.g. the Masari, who have overwhelmed them over the years but they are a gentle, simple people and great bee-keepers. They are very self-supporting with a strong sense of community, looking after the more vulnerable members of their society. As with the rest of Kenya, they are appreciating the importance of education and all the children go to school. They live in mud huts and have no formal medical facilities relying on the local medicine man. Dentistry is carried out with aid of a Stanley knife. Everything is recycled and nothing is wasted. Gill showed us a very efficient cooking pot made from an old paint tin.

Gill told us how she has set up a registered charity 'Sengwer Aid' and this is the first time that the Sengwer have ever been offered financial assistance. There are no overheads and there are special routing orders to avoid any of the money going astray as corruption is rife. Every penny raised is guaranteed to get to the people.

We were shown many artefacts including skirts of goatskin, arrows, jewellery, and musical instruments and she had many items for sale made by the people themselves. The labour is organised and they get paid for their work and the people show considerable nous and this was illustrated by the story of a woman who was given a sum of 2,800 shillings (about £28) for her produce. This is quite a sum and she wanted to use it the best way possible. Her first thought (as it would be for many mothers) was to her children to whom she gave 800s. With the remaining 2,000s she hired a cow. This would provide her with milk and she would not have to return the cow until, and if, it produced a calf at which time she would keep the calf and return the cow.

Gill claims that she has faith but is not religious – she doesn't plan things but as doors open she takes one step at a time. The audience was totally captivated and I am sure we have not heard the last of her or the Sengwer. A collection raised £95 on the evening.