Thursday, November 27, 2008

Two Kenyas and a Collect

We hear in America about "two Maines" and "two Vineyards." In Kenya, we also hear about disparate (some would say desperate) economies. Nairobi appears to be bustling, but we are told the safari business is still struggling and crime is increasing. The price of food has more than doubled here since last winter, but no one in Maseno has seen an increase in income, very few are employed, and many of those have not been paid for two months. The bean and corn fields look lush from the road, but the harvest is both late and disappointing. For the first time in years, there are not enough beans, and there is talk of importing corn.

Emmah explains it simply, "The long rains made it hard to grow good beans, and we did not have enough money this year to buy fertilizer for the corn." On Monday, after a long hot day walking through corn fields to make home visits, we stopped in nearby Luanda. It was market day. Our two volunteer HIV/AIDS community health workers, both single mothers, came back empty-handed: "The tomatoes and beans were too expensive. There is no corn. We'll have ugali (boiled cornmeal) again tonight." Yet Kenya is not Zimbabwe, not Thailand, not Mumbai.

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.

"Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need... Amen." (Thanksgiving Collect, The Book of Common Prayer)


tinkerbug said...

For what can I be thankful as we plunge into a day of national excessive feasting tomorrow, while the people of Kenya are facing rapidly diminishing food? The nutso/more imaginative part of my brain thinks that God needs to put all of us in a divine blender, press "puree", and dip us all our again with a cookie scoop - making it all equal and fair. Sadly, we are where we are, and it isn't that easy...

Where indeed do we go from here?

Keep reminding us, please, that our excesses are indeed just that - more than we need. Let's give thanks that we have what we have, and then try not to keep it to ourselves.

L&H&B, n&e

Jeff Gill said...

Dear Dianne,
I've just been catching up a bit on your blog. Thanks so much for sharing so beautifully with all of us. I hold you in my prayers.
Jeff Gill