August 21, 2015

Mark & Barbara Phippen

“Sometime last year we included in our blog a picture of Joseph, a gardener where we live, and with whom we have become friends. We had previously given him a Swahili bible. Let me tell you a short story about Joseph from last month. He earns a tiny salary from the university for his work on the campus grounds, barely more than the rent on his tin shack, that is home for him and his family – except (like all the staff at the university) he hasn’t been paid since March. His wife earns a little by doing some cleaning, and they have three teenage children at school, and a fourth child who became part of his family when a relative died. Having not been paid, he just survives by washing cars and anything else he can do on top of his gardening work, which he continues in the hope of being paid someday. When an American woman, who was visiting, saw Joseph gardening and the careful work he was doing, she got chatting and then surprised him by giving him 1,000KSh (about £7). Joseph could have fed his family with this for about a week (on ugali – a stiff maize meal ‘porridge’). However, he went straight to the campus bookshop and bought a Bible in the Luo language to give to his mother, as she speaks neither English nor Swahili. He showed it to us very excitedly that evening! We knew he had no food in the house, but we also know that he didn’t go hungry.” 

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