By Sister Sarah Chepkorir
About a year ago, Sisters Petronella Muteshi, Judith Sambu and I were warmly received at St. John the Baptist parish in Likuyani, Kakamega Diocese, Kenya. Parishioners brought us everything possible to enable us to start our new home. They even offered us a place to live as we searched for funding to build our own convent.
Our call as School Sisters of Notre Dame is “to make one” and the three of us came to Likuyani to continue this mission of Christ.
The people of Likuyani are of diverse cultures and tribes with a painful history and experience of post-election violence (2007-2008) which threw our country into turmoil and traumatized many. There was not only loss of lives and wealth, but also loss of trust in one another.
As we approached the country’s 2017 election, we intensified our efforts as peace builders and reconcilers. In our work with women, youth, and children groups in the parish, we continue to encourage all on the importance of coexistence as one family of God. We have also tried to reach out to poor older people who have no one to visit them and in so doing we have ignited a light of hope and love in their lives.
Ours is the gift of community and presence to the people. Slowly people are becoming reconciled and embracing each other as brothers and sisters.
I also volunteer as a teacher at Elizabeth primary school. It is an opportunity to educate the pupils so as to live in harmony, see Christ in the face of everyone, and reach out to those who are vulnerable. I do this through poems, skits, songs, and in the course of my teaching, as well as during guidance and counseling sessions.
Our presence in Likuyani is slowly growing roots and the people are coming to understand and appreciate our way of life as religious women. We are indeed grateful to the support of the parishioners of Likuyani. In their generosity, they prove that no one is too poor to give and no one is too rich to receive; together we continue the mission of Christ “that they may be one’’.
Photo Credit: Sister Joan Namulanda, Nairobi, Kenya