Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Let the Water Flow: Improved Irrigation Canals in Garissa

Construction of Enhanced Irrigation Canals 
Bukuyu, Garissa County, Kenya

Kenyan farmers have been using traditional irrigation methods for over 400 years. 

Earthen dams, rainwater harvesting, and bucket irrigation are just some of the common methods we see throughout the country. These small-scale, low-cost methods have been used to support subsistence farming that cannot rely on rainfall alone, but, with a little help, farmers are finding ways to improve their irrigation practices that allow them to increase their harvests. 

Over the past four decades, CBM has been helping farmers improve irrigation practices through the adoption of practices such as the use of water catchments, motorized and non-motorized water pumps, gravity-fed drip irrigation, and enhanced canal irrigation. 

Through improved irrigation and conservation agricultural practices, we are seeing a transformation from subsistence farmers into commercial agents that are increasing the health and wellness of their families and community. 

 Our colleague, William Wako, shares the impact of this important work of Canadian Baptists in Garissa.

"Over the past month, CBM has been assisting more than sixty farmers in the community of Bukuyu. This project is helping them to improve their traditional earthen canals. Among these sixty farmers, twenty also participate in our conservation agriculture project, where they are receiving additional training and support to improve their farmers. 
With the support of the Canadian Baptist churches, we have had the resorces to complete a proper survey of the topography of the land, which was needed to improve the grade of the canals. We were then able to help improve over six hundred meters of the canal and provide much needed set boxes that act as the joints that direct the flow of the water to the sixty different farms. 
The six main set boxes were a huge improvement. The water now flows much more quickly, and there is far less waste. This reduces the shared fuel costs for the farmers and is allowing them to better provide water to their crops.  
The water flows from the Tana River into the large catchment and is released into the fields through a series of gates. Even in the arid lands of Garissa, the farmers are harvesting banana, tomatoes, mango, maize, green grams, peas, casava, kales, and onions. We are so happy to see them not only producing for their domestic use, but also the Garissa market. This is having a big impact on the lives of these families."
One of the improved catchment points in the Bukuyu irrigation canals

The Bukuyu farmers were very excited by the opportunity to work together with the local CBM food security project to improve their canals. In addition to increased productivity in their fields, the project constructed a 2,000-litre catchment that is helping the village to safely access water for domestic use and livestock, without damaging the fragile river bank or braving the crocodiles in the mud red river. 

But there is another side to this story that we are so glad to share. As our friend William explains, the project was an important way to bring people together.
"As Christians and Muslims working together, projects like this are building bridges. During the canal work [in Bukuyu], we were able to have good times of conversation and sharing. 
With the Kenyan national elections on August 8th, there are mixed feelings of fear and expectations in the community. We all hope for peace, but there are fears of division and conflict, especially between rival clans. 
Over the last month, as the people have been working together in the canals, there has been peace. I can say that we have seen improved relationships between the Somali and Waliwana people as they have worked together to improve each other's lives. God is overcoming the distrust and fear. This is one of the best aspects of this work."
In Prayer 

The need for improved food security is a major need throughout Sub Saharan Africa. Please join us in praying for the ongoing work of CBM's team and partners as we work together in assisting local churches in their efforts to bring hope and healing into their communities.
Please join us in praying for a peaceful Kenyan election. May God bring the nation together, however the election goes. This will be our third national election since coming to Kenya in 2006, and we know how important it is for a peaceful transition of power for the well-being of all Kenyans.

We are also praying for our partner and colleagues serving in Rwanda, where people will head to the polls to vote in their national election on August 4th. Our colleague Andre Sibomana, recently back from Canada, is very thankful for the peaceful campaigning that he has witnessed throughout the country. Please join us in remembering the people of Rwanda during this time.



Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer Break 2017


SUMMER BREAK 2017

Erica and our niece, Nicole Clark.
This past week, we enjoyed a wonderful summer break with our niece and her boy friend, Julien. Together, we shared a beautiful few days on the Kenyan coast and, after their return from the Masai Mara, some great days of fun in Nairobi. 
A cheeky monkey at our beach side hotel

Summer vacation in Kenya for our family has often included an escape to the Kenyan coast and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. We were very excited to share some of our favourite haunts with Nicole and Julien.

Emma and Nicole on her way to the Kisite Marine Park
Emma, Erica, and Ava at the Forty Thieves, Diani
Nicole and Julien at the Forty Thieves
Nicole and Julien tuk tuk riding in Ukunda
Coconut palms in Diani
Emma snorkeling off Wasini Island
Nicole with a star fish
Camel riding on Diani Beach

Fun at the Coast
Julien, Nicole, Ava, Emma, and Tristan
Hanging out at The Cave


Tristan feeding a friendly bush baby
Our new puppy, Bree

On returning to Nairobi, we surprised our children with a new family pet. Bree is a beautiful Weimaraner puppy. She has been such a joy. We are thankful for the gift of the memories we've already shared together. Our other dogs are very welcoming, and our cat, Hazel, well let's just say that she is warming up to the idea of another dog,... a little.

Ava, Emma, and Nicole walking Bree in Karura Forest


Ava and Nicole at the falls
Tristan and Emma

With August just around the corner, we are all very aware that Tristan's departure for Acadia University will be here before we know it. We are cherishing these days together of walks, games, and laughter. The changes ahead won't be easy, but we are so grateful for the family that God has blessed us with. 
In Karura Forest, Nairobi
Hanging out with Nicole and Julien

Julien and Nicole are on their way to Canada tonight. As we pray for their safe travels, we are so grateful for these past two weeks together. We know that they return with some pretty amazing experiences and stories to tell. We are have had such a great time together, it was just too short.






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Springforth Youth Team 2017

Springforth Short-term Mission Team

As the sun rose over the Indian Ocean this morning, the Springforth youth team from Atlantic Canada gathered together for a communion service on the shores of Ukunda. It was a beautiful way to close this year’s Kamp Tumaini.


Hosting short-term volunteers is one of the great pleasures of our ministry in Africa, and this group was among one of our favourites. We are so glad that our three children were able to jump in and participate in the Kamp Tumaini program as members of the team.

The Springforth 2017 Youth Team
The Team Leaders
Adrian, Catherine, Renée, Aaron, and Erica

We will miss our daily drive along coconut groves, rice paddies, and the waving fields of sugar cane that took us to the village of Mivumoni. Over the five days of the kamp, we worked with approximately 450 secondary school students and the local Guardians of Hope members that are caring for thirty orphans in their community. 
Fields of rice on the way to Mivumoni
The road to Mivumoni Secondary School

Kamp Tumaini left a lasting impression on the people of Mivumoni who welcomed us all with gracious hospitality. We are so deeply grateful for the opportunity to partner together with the local church, school, and health services centre in making this program possible. 

During the kamps, songs, cheers, and laughter could be heard echoing through the village. Each day the youth built relationships as they shared stories and experiences with their groups. It was amazing to see bonds of friendship and love forming over these days together.

Eli and one of his campers
Jacob and Tristan with their Chui group
Brigette playing games under the trees with her group
Julia and Ava demonstrating "Steal the Buff"
Principal Bede and ABC Development Director, Geraldine Nduku.
One of the campers taking our Kamp mascot "Timmy" for a walk
Melora with her campers
Springforth leading worship

Bringing seventeen youth and leaders to Africa is no small thing -- we want to share our sincere gratitude to the many churches and individuals that contributed to this year's Kamp Tumaini. Together you have helped bring hope and encouragement to the Guardians of Hope beneficiaries in Mivumoni and in the lives of each one of these young people.

During yesterday's debrief time, it was incredible to listen to the stories of the team members as they shared what God was doing in their lives and of the impact the trip had had for each one of them. Over the coming weeks and months, many of them will be sharing about Kamp Tumaini and their experiences with churches and groups throughout Atlantic Canada. Together they are excited for what God is calling them towards in God's great mission of bringing hope and healing into the world.

Julia with her campers
Thank you for your prayers and support!

To learn more about Short Term Mission Opportunities with Canadian Baptist Ministries please check out our website here.







Friday, July 7, 2017

Stronger Together: Kamp Tumaini 2017

Stronger Together
Kamp  Tumaini  2017

We divide ourselves in so many ways -- Gender, religion, economics, and ethnicity are just the beginning. For people living with HIV and AIDs in Africa, social stigma, ignorance, and fear are realities that they face every day. For many, HIV infection often leads to social shame and isolation.

We are so proud of the work that our partner churches are doing to overcome such division that marginalizes and harms people infected and affected by HIV/AIDs. For almost fourteen years, Canadian Baptists, and our African partners, have been on the front line working with people impacted by this virus by providing support and care.

In the coastal community of Kenya's Kwale County, one in twenty people are infected by HIV. This extreme prevalence rate is one of the highest in the world.

Beginning with the first diagnosis of AIDs in 1984, the HIV epedemic has created much fear and concern. In Kenya, local churches have been helping families and orphans impacted by HIV/AIDs. Since 2004, we have partnered with the Africa Brotherhood Church and African Christian Church and Schools in our joint effort to bring hope and healing into the lives of people suffering in the brokeness of our communities.

Brigette and Claire with girls in their pod group today in Kwale, Kenya

Canadian Baptist Ministries' 2017 Kamp Tumaini is being hosted by the Africa Brotherhood Church and one of their secondary schools in Kenya's Kwale County. We are so grateful for the team of 17 leaders and youth that have joined us from Springforth and the Canadian Baptist Churches of the Atlantic provinces.  

The Springforth team is engaging in a peer education approach of students helping students improve their understanding of HIV and AIDs and address the need of including all people in their community.



Kamp does a fantastic job in facilitating the breaking down of walls and the building of common ground. Through music, games, shared learning, and discussion the students are being encouraged to show love and inclusion to everyone.

In the region where we are working, HIV infection is incredibly high. The county's infection rate is almost five percent. In the local hospital, nearest to the school, over 200 children and 700 adults are currently being treated in the ARV program. It is feared by the community health workers that this number may be on the rise. Lack of education and prevention is a major concern.

Emma Kenny with one of the Mivumoni students this afternoon

Through the kamps, teens are coming together to talk about the challenges that they face and to be open about the reality of HIV and AIDs. Above all, the students are recognizing that we are all "stronger together".

Jackie Crain with one of her campers at today's rally

As we share some pictures from this week's program, we invite you to pray for the community of Mivumoni and the churches of Kenya that are ministering to people impacted by HIV and AIDS. You can learn more about our work by visiting our website at www.cbmin.org

Abby Murphy and one of her campers with "Timmy" the camp bear

Craft time with Julia LeBlanc

Emily Derrah and one of her campers

Ava cheering on her team during Masai blanket volleyball



Catherine Cole with a Mivumoni student

We are so thankful for the three great leaders that are facilitating this year's Springforth team, namely: Renée Embree, Catherine Cole, and Adrian Gardner. They are the glue that holds this great short term missions program together.

Renée Embree during the community home visits

Our friend and CBM collegue Adrian Gardner with Aaron
earlier today in Mivumoni

Conner and Eli during the morning games time

Erica with Standley and Geraldine after the daily HIV training session

Our CBM colleague, Patrick Ndugo, back for his third Kamp Tumaini

We are so thankful for the support of our CBM team in organizing and hosting the Kamp Tumaini program, especially Patrick Ndugo and Jackson Andai, that travelled all the way from Nairobi to participate in the camps.

The Springforth Worship Leaders
The Wednesday afternoon opening Kamp Tumaini rally
The form two Kamp cohort of Friday afternoon
Hannah Ingalls with some of her campers
Tristan playing a game with his pod group -- Go Chui!
Brigette and Geraldine
Victoria and her campers
Adia and her campers
Thank you for keeping Kamp Tumaini in your prayers