Well today we went to the RUSH project. This was the original site of the shop that Andrew and Lucy first ran when they arrived in Kakamega. They arrived in 2001 and started a general shop with a hotel and pub attached. They launched the business in August 2001 yet within three months they were giving more and more goods away and many of those coming to drink became Christians!
So today we turned up to the RUSH project (as opposed to the RUSH Academy where the school is). Each Tuesday they have a worship service followed by feeding the widows in need. Many of these have HIV/Aids (about 60% of them) and we also brought vitamins and they hope to run one of their health clinics in August with some doctors from the UK coming out.
RUSH have a high focus on HIV/Aids – they have seen the scourge it has been and actively teach about it in the RUSH Academy and look to help people to talk about it more and overcome some of the obstacles to creating an environment in which in can be tackled. When we were in the school they presented several Aids awareness songs/ dramas to us -very impressive.
There are problems with their programmes. They signed up to receive aid from the government to help with drugs etc but people wanted to take about a 1/3 of the grant as a bribe and this went against everything they stand for.
So we arrived at the RUSH Project and we were given a royal welcome. This was largely because Joan had helped so much with helping Andrew whilst he was ill in the UK last year. She worked and networked like mad to raise the funds for Andrew’s treatment.
We were met by dancers who escorted us inside the main building. What was great is that they didn’t use their sound system! The Kenyan’s have the most beautiful sense of rhythmn and singing which is wonderful to listen to. Unfortunately, many independent churches choose to use PA system turned up to distorting sound (happened somewhat on Sunday).
The worship today was vibrant, enthusiastic, amazing. We were led by a number of groups using different instruments. The dancing of one group (those who were learning sewing skills) were especially wonderful (I will try and post a video of them later in the week).
various points we were summoned out to dance (I managed to hide behind the video camera for much of it). A high point for Jacqueline and Harvey was to be pulled out to dance by having a dirty piece of cloth wiped over their faces!
After the exhuberant dancing we were all introduced to the people there (there were over 100 there) and then Joan spoke to them about the amazing way that Andrew’s illness was combatted last year and how God provided so much.
I then did another African preach – Springfield people be afraid very afraid!! However, some of this was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that I was introduced as the “Man of God – Pastor Willy”!!!! The party tried very hard to keep the laughter in!
Then the most suprising part of the welcome was the gifts brought up for Joan. At the front of the queue was 3 live goats!!! This was followed by a chicken. I was beginning to wonder if this was part of some strange sacrificial ritual. In fact people wanted to say thank you for all that had been done for Andrew last year. It was very touching although very disconcerting given the poverty of the people there. Thankfully the goats were provided by Lucy’s brother.
We shan’t be keeping most of the food and we want most of it to go back to the widows for their help. It does appear that we shall be eating goat on Friday.
After this we went to see all the training that is done at the Project. This includes carpentry, seamstress and Computer skills. The idea is that the students spend two or three years as apprentices and that they then have a set of skills to use to earn a living. The seamstresses are given a sowing machine when they graduate.