Final Thoughts from the Field

Last night was memorable. It was the same as our first night: an all night blackout.  Now it is almost our last evening here.  Our time with the STARS, Ps. Johsua and his wife, Abigael, their family and the whole community is rapidly drawing to a close.  It is thundering in the background and raining for the first time since we arrived here.  This light rain comes after a mild, windy, and mostly overcast day. All are other days were hot with low humidity, and rather warm even in the shade, because of the bright sun.  This is quite a contrast to the winter in Washington D.C. which Verena and I will return to. I will have a deep tan associated with the beach.  However, I can tell you that Verena and I know that our time here far exceeded what a week at the beach would have given us, and the sun tan came with it!  So, what did we do today?   We rose early and took early morning photos of the St. Luke’s ministry compound on the way to the farm (shamba). There we met Sister Abigael who goes there daily. We observed weeding and preparation for the rainy season crops. We also saw rice cut and stacked so it would be ready to thresh tomorrow if the rain allows.   It was a great way to start our last full day.

We went back to the house for breakfast and to plan the last two-hour morning session with the current STARS and Ps. Joshua.  Stories shared around breakfast brought the usual laughter we have enjoyed throughout this stay.  Our morning session with the 12 STARS  included a time for each of them to share their views of our 11 days with them.  Each one gave thanks. One consistent theme throughout our stay was reemphasized today: “Face to face relationships build trust.  For these young adults this transcends educational support or providing them technology (e.g. computers).  Simply put, our presence here gives each of the STRAS hope in a way that cannot be communicated virtually”.  After a discussion on this and other topics, such as plans for the STARS to stay connected through an alumni group,  Verena and I finished the one on one interviews with the STARS.  We learned about the thoughts and fear they had after taking their national secondary exam in November 2009 and what activities they have undertaken from January 2010 to the present.  Verena  also showed them how Facebook could help them as they go to institutions of higher education where access to the internet should be readily available.  Here in Miwani, it could become more readily available if a local wireless company completes its tower in the near future.  It is still lightly raining and we are supposed to walk to visit the nearby home of one of the widows St. Luke’s supports.   I will now sign off to see if the plan is still on.

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