Crossroads United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Kenya 2009 mission
A report from Linda Scheve
Kenya Mission 2009 Quilt Project
Preparation for this project began in earnest around February, 2009. Sherida Warner, a writer for the Daily Sentinel, had written an article about quilt batting featuring Rita Larson. In talking with Rita, Sherida discovered our trip to Kenya. She wrote and article about the 2006 trip and the quilting skills that Rita taught the women of Mulanthankari during that trip. She also mentioned our then upcoming trip with follow-up classes in quilting. At the end of the article Sherida mentioned that we were hoping to purchase sewing machines for the women. That article began the flow of donations from outside the church and was the confirmation that this trip was in God’s will for the team this year.
Rita challenged her quilt guild to “fill a duffel” with quilting fabrics and supplies. After hearing her challenge, I challenged my embroiderers’ guild members to donate spare cotton fabrics and other supplies as well. (You see, those of us who do this sort of craft stuff do more than just our preferred craft so we end up with lots of stuff.) The guild women were incredibly generous. Word got out into the community and donations came from everywhere.
As we packed suitcases on June 1st, we had about 14 suitcases (each weighing 50 pounds) filled with the donations from ladies in the community. In addition to the quilting supplies, we packed health kits and school supply kits for a total of 24 suitcases. This was the checked baggage allowance for each of the 9 team members, plus 4 of the 5 extra baggage allowance that Charles had approved for the entire Kenya team (teams from 4 Nebraska churches joined us for the trip).
When we arrived at Denver International Airport on June 17 to check baggage for the entire group, we were unsure about charges for checked baggage. Not just allowed baggage, but the charges for excess baggage could be as much as $125 per bag. A miracle happened that morning. All the luggage that had been packed was allowed to be checked through to Nairobi (not just Zurich) AND there were no additional fees charged for any of the baggage. At least sixty-nine pieces of luggage were checked through that morning. Then there was the personal clothing and toiletries that were packed in carry-on luggage for each person. Each person was allowed 17.6 pounds for their personal “stuff” in a carry-on plus a purse or camera bag. Wow! God is good!
Back to the quilt project. We sorted through the mass of bags that had been delivered to our temporary home away from home – the Bio Intensive Center in Meru. Grand Junction bags had been tagged with purple, laminated tags that made them easier to spot. We needed to locate supplies that would be needed for the first class. As the group participated in daily devotions the next morning, the van drivers loaded the bags containing our quilting supplies into the vans for transport to the mission site in Mulanthankari. Excitement filled the air.
As the vans arrived at the Emanuel Church compound in Mulanthankari, we saw quilts hung on rope between trees at the far end of the compound. The women had prepared a quilt show for us!! How incredible! When we exited the vans, we could hear music in the distance. The women and orphans were welcoming us with song and dance – the “visitors” had arrived.
The next day class began with a demonstration of rotary cutting. Until our arrival, quilt pieces were traced and cut out with scissors, one at a time. When Rita demonstrated rotary cutting and held up the first strip, a group intake of breath was heard across the class. We were on Holy ground. For in their lives, a miracle had just taken place. They didn't realize yet how this tool would improve the quality of their work. As we taught the women to use this new tool, safety was a key issue. The blade is sharper than anything they have ever encountered and over and over we emphasized the importance of shielding the blade immediately after cutting. Also, they needed to learn the importance of cutting only on the mat to preserve the sharpness of the blade.
After the ladies learned the technique of using the rotary cutting tools, their class would focus on the 9-patch square. This square was chosen as a simple lesson in cutting and using strips of fabric for quicker assembly. Also it was chosen to teach them how to improve the quality of their work by matching corners and points. The next step would be using sewing machines. Rita will cover the arrival of the machines.
The women learned quickly all that we had to teach and show them. Once their 9-patch squares were complete, we showed them how to add “sashing” to make a table runner with two squares or make a placemat with each square. Both of these items could have commercial value to tourists or could be used in their own homes. We could see the pride in their projects grow as they headed toward completion. As soon as the assembly of the tops was completed, the next step was to add the batting and backing. Their projects were then hand quilted. A few women working on a placemat did complete the hand quilting of one placemat. We showed them how to add the binding for a completed piece. Those few that learned the binding would be able to show the others how to complete their projects.
Rita left written instructions outlining the projects taught. She suggested dimensions of strips, and gave the assembly process for the projects taught. We also left books and patterns for their use as they seek new projects on their own.
What an incredible week of teaching and learning. We had 4 days of classes this time compared to one and a half days in 2006. The fellowship with these women as they learned will be part of the ongoing echo of the trip in our memories.
The community building was not finished enough for the sewing machines and supplies to be stored there. A secure building next door to the church compound was located and the machines and supplies were stored there as we prepared to depart. The women will have access to the room.
Opportunities remain for further quilting instruction. Some of the women will be working on a jewelry project – making paper beads into necklaces that are a popular item currently. Some supplies for this project were left with the women. Vision is another issue for some of the women. We left some reading glasses for their use, but there were not enough for all. Another project in its early stages is rabbits to be raised by the orphans for their own use and for sale.
Seeds have been planted. We are certain that God will continue the work that has been begun. We have been blessed by the opportunity to serve.
A report from Rita Larson
It is Wed, June 24 in Mulathankari, Kenya. A trip to visit a tea factory & farm delayed our arrival at the mission location of Immanual Methodist Church. When we arrived we had lunch and then began the afternoon quilting with the women. Two of the sewing machines were at the site so I got them threaded and bobbins wound. Before we could sew Phineas Mwiti, Charles' brother, arrived with a truck load of sewing tables and sewing machines. The women had been praying for one machine, now they have 10! The women began singing and danced around the truck, praising God for the miracle. I cried with joy and celebration of what a lot of people had made possible for these women. With some fancy wiring and long extension cords the sewing began!
When I saw the joy of the women I was reminded how complicated our lives have become in the U.S. 10 sewing machines (5 that do a zig zag and decorative stitches with the change of cams, and 5 straight stitch) cost what my one machine cost. The zig zag machines are very similar to the machine my parents purchased for me when I graduated from college. The difference is that all of the machines can be used as a treadle, or with the addition of a motor can be electric. The women handled the treadle much better than any of us. I got it going backwards! Joanne, the former home ec teacher, knew how to get them going. We were also blessed by the presence of Skip Elfredt from NB. He has his own business that requires industrial machines. He knew exactly how to get the treadle machines set up. Without him we would have been up a creek without a paddle, although I am sure Joanne would have gotten them working, but with her schedule, it might have been a while.
I think how rotary cutters changed the life of quilters in the U.S. in the 80's. Now the women of Mulathankari not only have rotary cutters, but sewing machines! Thank you all who made thei "Miracle" happen.
A report from Jim Tarr
The Building Project
The building team initially consisted of five or six members of the Nebraska team and
The contrasts between American and Kenyan culture became apparent at this point. I
This would allow them to raise rabbits to sell and for meat.
Hi Roger and friends,
We have returned to Nairobi for an evening at the Methodist Guest House. Safari in the game parks was incredible. We saw many large animals and they came very close to our van for some wonderful photos. All mission projects have gone well and we have worked on holy ground. All of us are happy and healthy, and very tired. We'll have a busy day again tomorrow and then begin our odessy returning home tomorrow night. We wish every back home a very happy and safe 4th of July!
With a very heart,
We are in Nairobi and only have a short time until we leave to eat at the Carnivore. A meat eating establishment. We went there last time. Many things have been the same as our last trip, but many more different.
The mission project went well and so did our visits with the local people of Meru. The building is coming along, but not finished. We had a closing dedication/blessing on Sunday after our lunches with the locals. Karen and I ate with Rebecca and Festus in their home.
There is a lot of inequity in the world when it comes to resources. Charles said the people do not understand where we come from and how we can help them when referring to the medical camp. He said they think it is just a miracle.
We have had a lot of fun on our game drives. We saw lots of animals including cheetahs, lions, baboons, monkeys, gazelles, giraffes, etc. Some of them I had never heard of until I came here and this trip I bought a book on them with pictures to help me identify and remember. I think our favorites are the cats and the gazelles. We saw one right after giving birth and the next day the little one was playing around the mother.
We are very tired from bouncing around a lot in the vans. Tomorrow is a full day of shopping here in town and our flight does not arrive until midnight. I am looking forward to getting home, but not sitting on the plane for that long after a full day of sight seeing. There is also an optional trip to a musuem and Suzie is considering that if it is an art museum. That would be interesting to see what is in there beyond the curio shops. We will see.
Miss you and Love you.
Karen and Suzie
(received from Mark Garner Thur. evening 7-2)
Received June 30: Arrived at Lake Nakuro and in lodging. Drove all day. Internet not working. Another drive tomorrow.
Received July 2: Arrived at Mara Simba Lodge. Cell phone texting available when outside. Looking at Hippos in the river. Saw pride of lions yesterday.
(Note: Texting messages are short because it is time consuming to punch each letter in.)
We have had lots of trouble getting on e-mail while in Kenya this time. Therefore, this is short to everyone letting you know the mission portion of our trip is over, we are now in Samburu visiting the animals. We go to Nakuru tomorrow. We will try to e-mail from there.
We love you all, and we are all well!
The Kenya Team
Karen and I arrived yesterday afternoon to many welcoming arms from Crossroads members and our Meru friends.
The whole group visited a tea farm this morning and saw the farm and process used to make/process the tea. It was a Fair Trade farm and we all purchased a bit of tea. We traveled back the the Mulathankari Church site for the project and the ladies were waiting for us with lunch. Following the sewing machines arrived with great happiness and the women sang praises and danced around the truck with joy. Rita wept with joy. The quilting project ensued and is in process as I write this message. The women are so excited and happy and making blocks right and left. It is wonderful.
Tomorrow is the medical camp and other team members are working hard on preparation for that project today as well. We have been told to expect up to 2000 people. Rabbit hutches are being made for the young children so they can raise rabbits for sale. The building is coming along and has a roof now and the inside walls have been plastered. It is a huge building and it is beautiful.
We are all well and appreciate your prayers.
From Suzie Garner
They are having a sewing machine lesson today. They are staying on a Methodist educational farm. Suzie may teach a womens business group logo design. She will have a translator. A med camp is planned for Thursday.
From Linda Sheve -
We finally have internet. Its been a whirlwind. We got to Mulanthankari yesterday and met the orphans, their guardians, and the women. The day was spent with the people in the village. We saw the building late in the day. Its not finished, but has the roof on and the walls inside are being finished with smooth cement. Today has been the beginning of the quilt project. The sewing machines were supposed to be here about noon, but we haven't seen them yet and its 3:45 in the afternoon. Its pretty warm today and we have to keep moving stuff to stay in the shade. Everyone is well except for the gal who was gored by a rhino (a teak rhino that she tripped over in a curio shop). She went to the local hospital for 5-6 stitches in her shin. She's doing fine. By the way, I was kissed by a local here in Kenya - a local giraffe that is. I even have a picture!
Suzie and Karen sent a text msg early today,1:30 AM our time and that they arrived OK, but tired after a day and half of flying. They arrived about 6:30 PM Kenya time Monday.
Dear Church Family and Friends;
While we await the rest of the group, we will send a note. We are in Nairobi and today we had an organizational meeting and after lunch most of the group went to the giraffe Center and the Kazuri Beads. Sue Tarr and i went with Charles to purchase the sewing machines. Two will be delivered to Meru on Monday morning and the rest will be delivered on Tuesday morning. We do a home-stay in Nairobi tonight, attend Church at Charles New tomorrow and then off to Meru and the Bio Intensive Center that will be our home away from home for the next week.
Today started rainy and cloudy, but it has cleared and turned into a beautiful day of about 75 degrees. We are at the Presbyterian Guest House rather than the Methodist Guest House and it has been a lovely stay.
An update, all luggage arrived safely, so all mission supplies are here.
Keep us in your prayers, we do feel them.
The Kenya Team
From Rev. Karen
We have dubbed ourselves the "Second Wave" of the mission team. We have arrived safely in Denver and at the La Quinta Inn and are ready for our 2:30 AM wake up call. Then we will be on our way. We will go all the way to Atlanta before we stopping. Wait awhile and then go all the way to JFK, where we will wait awhile before boarding Swiss Airlines for Nairobi via Zurich.
Suzie and Karen
We are here in Zurich and have seen cheese being made and chocolate being made. We ate chocolate for everyone. It was good.
We will fly to Nairobi tomorrow.
The Kenya team