Into the Lioness' Den?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
23Trip End Jul 23, 2010
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(1) The Women’s Guild, a “movement” within the PCEA, began in 1922, and encompasses work in not only Kenya but also Uganda and Tanzania.
(2) She sees the role of the Women’s Guild as primarily one of “Social Transformation,” enabling especially the women to move from a primitive and culturally limited role into a twenty-first century understanding of their potential and possibility. This involves fellowship, mutual support and encouragement, prayer, Bible study, mission and service, and enterprises to provide economic support.
(3) The Women’s Guild seeks to provide “holistic” service: feeding the hungry, working with persons living with AIDS and those orphaned or otherwise affected by the disease, persons with disability (especially children and youth!), visitation of the sick.
(4) Education of girls and young women is also an important concern of the Guild, mentoring girls on their roles as wives, mothers and political leadership, in church and community, offering sex education, leadership training, seminars and workshops in such areas as proposal and grant writing, filing reports and other areas of communication and technology.
(5) The Guild has an advocacy role, especially in the areas of women’s rights and the eradication of female genital mutilation (so-called female circumcision!).
(6) In recent years, the Guild has also undertaken a leadership role for and with women in the care of the environment, tree-plan ting in cooperation with the Kenyan Forestry Service (cf. the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mattai); and strengthening women’s role in peace, healing and reconciliation (together with women from the Reformed Church reaching out to overcome the continuing divisions from the post-election violence – bringing together Kikuyu and Kalengin women!), working to get the men (husbands, brothers, sons, etc.) to move away from the stock-piling of weapons heading toward the next election toward the direction of peace!
Asked about the attitudes, especially of Kenyan Christians toward the proposed new constitution, Veronica shared the position of many Christians, that the draft proposal contains several sticking points: a position on abortion (perhaps to seek a clarification which would allow abortion only in cases where the health of the mother is endanger, or in cases of rape or incest), and another major concern that some of the proposed provisions as seen as a slippage toward “Sharia Law,” favoring the Muslims over other religious groups
In the wake of the recent post-election violence, the Women’s Guild initiated “Operation Tabitha,” which provided, especially for women – once the victims of the tribal violence! – food, sanitary supplies, firewood! and women’s and girls’ underwear! Now that most of the internally displaced persons have been able to move out of the camps, the Women’s Guild has undertaken efforts to help with rebuilding of homes and businesses, especially among the women survivors. The latest mission efforts have been directed to Uganda and to the reserves and land of the Maasai.
The women who want to join the Women’s Guild have to go through a training and orientation process and “qualify” to become a part of the organization. We need to get a picture of the scarf which the members of the Guild then get to wear! I’ll have to put on in from someone else’s files and pictures, until I get one of my/our own!