Into The Bush

October 3, 2014

Kitui, Kenya Partnership

in Kitui

The “first wave” of delegates from the archdiocese arrived in Kenya on the evening of October 1, the feast day of St. Therese, the patroness of mission.

The team was enthusiastically met at the Nairobi airport by the receiving committee of our partnering Diocese of Kitui:  Fr. Robert Mutui, the vicar general of the Diocese of Kitui, Fr. Peter Muvea, the assistant to the bishop, and Monica Kalia. The receiving team had previously traveled to Minnesota in the past and were known by some of the delegates.

What a joy to see familiar faces in a faraway land! We were excited to be in Kenya after a trip of close to  24 hours. It took nearly two hours from touchdown before obtaining our visa and clearing customs! “We thought the plane might have left you in Amsterdam,” kidded Fr. Robert.

After a much needed sleep at the Good Samaritan Retreat Center for the night in Nairobi, we all celebrated Mass with Fr. Robert, Fr. Peter, Fr. Randal Kasel of St. Michael’s in Pine Island and Fr. Tim Norris of the Church of St. Paul in Ham Lake con-celebrating.  It is so exciting to experience Mass on the other side of the world, sharing different accents and different skin colors and experiences but the same universal Catholic faith!

We then left for Kitui Town, a three hour journey by car— many got glimpses of giraffes and zebras. In a short time after arriving, members of the hosting teams of the parishes from small villages “in the bush” came and met the delegates! We will visit these small parishes, in teams of two, for 4 days experiencing many aspects of village and parish life in Kitui.

In kitui 2

Last evening during an orientation session, we heard this story (that actually happened).  Two little girls, one from Kenya and another from America had a conversation in the home of the Kenya child.  The little girl from America said, I need to use your rest room.  The child from Kenya said, no, it’s occupied by my mommy. But you can use the sofa instead. The little girl from America was horrified. It took a longer conversation to realize that the little Kenya girl understood “rest room” as a room where you rest, and her mommy was lying down…so she offered the sofa as an option. Peter invited the Minnesotans and their village host members to dialogue and to continue to ask and learn about each others’  ways of life,  to clarify misunderstandings. The partnership is all about meeting one another, learning about each others lives and customs, and how we express our common Catholic faith!

In kitui 1

We aren’t building buildings, but we are building up something at least as important—the global Body of Christ!

Today the delegates and their hosts all departed for villages in”the bush.”

Mike Haasl