Today, Tuesday, we went to see local Friends in Eldoret where we are staying. Eldoret is the sort of place that if you are a tourist you will probably pass right through or use as a base for going somewhere else. Apart from living and working there, I haven’t yet worked out what there is in Eldoret for the casual tourist. But I am not a casual tourist.
You might not have heard of Eldoret. If you have heard of the place it might be because of the post-election violence in 2007-8 but I can’t think offhand why else you would know about it. According to my Kenya atlas, Eldoret is one of eleven towns and cities with a population of over 500,000 in Kenya.
The town centre never stops, according to Phori, who spent a night at the White Castle motel last week. At least the Uganda Road never sleeps and neither did Phori. He saw fruit sellers, trucks thundering by, taxis and buses. People coming and going. So it is a major hub. Eldoret is in Rift Valley province, about 4 hours drive from Nairobi but more if you go in a matutu.
There is also a population of Quakers and there are four Friends churches in Eldoret, with hundreds of members. We went to Eldoret Friends Church to meet our fellow Friends and talk with them. We shared our experiences with each other, little snippets of our lives and testimonies to living in the Light of the risen Christ. It was one of those days that I will treasure forever but rather than tell the stories that I heard here, I will save them initially for The Friend magazine.
Suffice to say, when I left and we headed off for lunch at Eldoret’s finest and perhaps only vegetarian restaurant (our second visit in 3 days) for a fine curry and chapati, washed down with ginger ale, I was emotionally tired but also totally and utterly inspired. Once again, despite our differences we were united in our prayers, in the songs we sang together and all convinced that we are a part of the world family of Friends.