Patient in Kilmetindi Hospital

We had a very meaningful trip to Manyoni. The conference went well.  Positive feedback on the Pastoral Care and Women’s Empowerment.  All the Priests and their wives from the diocese attended except for three.  They had to find their own way there from far off villages, but the Diocese privided them with a place to sleep in the Church hostel and food.  Bishop Lupaa and his wife were there for all the sessions.  We had a mix of our talking (with our intpretor) and their working in groups – and reporting on the group’s discussion.

The things they were surprised about was “body language” and that talking is 7% of communication, body language the rest.  We did role playing with them to demonstrate this.  Tally really emphasized the importance of just listening and being there -“Presence”.  They were thankful that Tally showed them her hearing aids.  They had never seen such devices.  We talked about beating wives, some men suggested that the women would know their husbands loved them if they beat them.  We asked if they felt “unloved” since their wives did not beat them.  I would say the majority of men and women did not support wife beating and try to discourage this in their villages, but it still happens all too frequently.  At one point the men and women split, we talked with the women with a female intpretor and the men went to another room.  The women feel that they carry too much of the burden in caring for the family as well as working on the farms or other jobs.  (sound familiar?)  We told them how this has changed in the U.S. and that now men help more with the child rearing and household tasks.  The men discussed this as well on their own.  Older men were against this idea, but the younger men supported it by saying things like:  “If you love your wife and want to be a good partner to her, you should be more helpful, even if it means cooking!”  Joseph reported back to us that this was a big portion of the men’s discussion.

Tally and Joseph (our host and interpretor) talking to the group

The women wanted to know how they could create change.  This is difficult because the majority of them live in villages with no means of access to media (TV’s, phone, newspapers, and certainly no internet).  We told them that by modeling the behaviours to their children, education, education, education, things will change.  They have an annual conference and we talked about how women in other parts of the world have created change by demonstrating, speaking out, etc.,  We talked a bit about micro-lending.  At their conference, women bring crafts they have made and teach each other their skills.  This could be expanded were they to have financial support in buying supplies.  They have no access to books such as HALF THE SKY, an excellent book about women’s empowerment. These women are literate and could read such books if they were available in Kiswahili.  The thing that impressed us both the most was the eagerness to learn new things!  Their openess to change – both the women as well as the men – is clearly evident.  They see the need for change.

We were treated royally, by everyone, and feel we have new friends in the Diocese of the Rift Valley. This diocese is seeking partnerships with other dioceses in the world.  If anyone reading this knows of a diocese, church, or people interested in connecting – please let us know.

Tally will write later about our visit to Kilmatindi Hospital… we have to go to work now.  Jessie


certificates of appreciation