Newsletter 3, May 2020



St. Martin's week begins on Tuesday at 8 am with a little prayer.  It consists of a prayer, a Bible reading and the opportunity for those present to share experiences and experiences from their professional or everyday life that are inspired by prayer or the Bible passage - or just as it is burning on the tongue. Every week a different program or department is leading the prayers. This is followed by the administrative part, where various reports or communications from the management or from the programs and departments are presented. Then the programs start into the week and the courtyard of St. Martin resembles a small bus station until all people and goods are properly loaded and the minibuses depart. At about 10h30 there is tea (i.e. Kenyan chai), which is always served in front of the kitchen on Tuesdays. TOn the other days it is taken to the offices. Today I'm concentrating on completing a first draft of the fundraising flyer. Parts of the text and some matching pictures are still missing.  Lunch break is from 1 pm to 2 pm which I usually spend in my nearby house.


In the afternoon we have a first coordination meeting for this year's fundraising campaign. A committee of personalities and business people from Nyahururu was formed last year. The volunteer committee committed for three years and organized a fundraising dinner for the new program for mental health. We now need to discuss what we are doing this year.

At 5 pm the office closes. I check how my tomato seedlings are doing and relax a little in the evening sun in front of my house.


At 7.30 am there is a mass in the Effatha House, one of the L’Arche Kenya homes for people with intellectual disabilities, I take part every now and then. Afterwards, some of the residents together with some assistants take the minibus and drive to the market. As every Wednesday, the market women have put some of their goods aside, which they then donate to L’Arche. The minibus fills up with cabbage, plantains, potatoes, oranges, bananas etc. etc. L’Arche largely covers its needs for vegetables and fruits with these donations. We are back in time for the chai. Afterwards, I discuss with Sharlet how we could record the monthly reports of the various workshops and the two houses of L’Arche online in a database. In the afternoon, I edit a few posts for the L’Arche website and explain to Naliston, the communications officer at L’Arche, how the image gallery works on the website.


Today I'm holding a writing workshop with one of the programs. We look at some basics and then practice to effectively put the experiences from the program on paper so that they can be used on the website or in the annual report. We booked the small meeting room at Talitha Kum, the home for HIV-positive children, which was founded by St. Martin. We are also provided with lunch there. In the afternoon I meet another group for a webmaster lesson. We'll look at the technology behind the website and how it can be updated. Around 5:30 p.m. I meet my little Tai Chi class in front of the big meeting hall and we train a new movement. Other colleagues play badminton or table tennis inside the hall.


I am continuing to work on the presentation for the video workshop, which is scheduled for next week. I will be teaching some basics like creating a storyboard, shooting tips and cutting techniques. In the afternoon I help the Marleen Shop, a souvenir shop of L’Arche, which also sells its own products (leather and paper goods, candles) to set up the online shop area on Facebook. Afterwards, I stop at the bakery workshop and we agree that I will join for a morning in the coming week. They want to learn how Swiss bread is made. I think my Far Breton would also fit well into the range, with it they would have a speciality that no one else in Nyahururu offers.

On the way home, it starts to dribble, and as soon as I arrive it pours. I light a fire in the fireplace and listen to a podcast with one ear. With the other, I listen for the spot over the dining table where it sounded like a leak when it rained the last time ...



St. Martin works with local volunteers who have more time on Saturday. As a result, St. Martin CSA is open on Saturdays but closed on Mondays. Since the programs are busy with their volunteers, I have some peace of mind to formulate my feedback for the 2019-2023 strategy for the Department of Communication and Relations. Since it is the third Saturday of the month, a joint service with St. Martin CSA, L’Arche Kenya and Talitha Kum takes place in the afternoon. After that, a small snack is often served, a good opportunity to talk to people you haven't seen during the week.

Sunday and Monday

Weekend! After the housework, the hammock beckons, the tomato seedlings are big enough to be transplanted, and the gutter would need to be cleaned out. In the evening I meet a couple of colleagues for a beer and another Jass lesson.

I go shopping on Mondays, hopefully, they have restocked dry yeast again, the last two weeks they were out of it. And it would be nice if I could find a few mangoes in the market before the season ends. In the afternoon, I take a long walk and stop by the river to see if the hippos are around.

image009And then the coronavirus comes ...

St. Martin CSA and L’Arche Kenya send as many employees as possible to the home office. There are only the guard and a driver on duty. I finalize presentations and create new ones for workshops that cannot take place at the moment. I educate myself a little with online courses and take care of my garden.

Since I live next door, I get a central key, and every few days I unlock the door when someone needs something from the office. Both organizations are now organizing direct food aid for the poorest families. The single mother, whom we helped two years ago to start a small business (tailoring, fruit shop, etc.) no longer has customers. Without the small daily earnings, there is not enough money for daily meals. And the neighbour, who had a good income as a motorcycle taxi, is in the same situation... So we pack food parcels and, together with the provincial government, look for criteria and ways to distribute them.

See more at St. Martin CSA and L'Arche Kenya.