We were delighted to be invited to Ronnie and Maggie’s house at Isinya for coffee. Here, we heard the story behind the Maasai Rural Training Centre (MRTC) and our part in the development and mission of Kajidao Diocese.
Back in the 1960s, there was a bad drought and many cattle and other livestock were dying. For the Maasai people, their livestock is their livelihood. The government was in transition from colonialism to independence and were looking for a centre for food distribution. At Isinya there was a former prison camp that had held Mau Mau terrorists/freedom fighters after the struggle for independence.
The MRTC was set up by CMS (Britain) which was essentially the Anglican Church in Kenya in those days. It had four pillars: the church, agriculture, education and health.
There was great expansion during the 70s and 80s, mainly funded from various European countries, and six outlying MRTCs were developed around Maasai land.
Then following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1998, funding in Europe was redirected towards Eastern Europe, end the MRTCs went into decline.
The original Parish of Kajiado became the Diocese of Kajiado under its first Bishop, Jeremiah Taama. Since his retirement in 2011, the present Bishop Gaddiel Lenini's vision for the diocese emphasises both Mission and Development, hand-in-hand, linking the role of the MRTCs and the diocese together.
Ronnie and Maggie were involved back to Kenya to manage that development, this time including a 5th pillar - Sustainability, along with church, agriculture, education and health.
Here we saw how this was being put into action around the original 30 acre compound as various buildings are rented out to families and other suitable businesses.
It was interesting to even see the original prison huts still standing since the 1950s, and there are plans to turn them into museums for Maasai culture.
All this puts our visit into context as we continue with the girls' school, women's empowerment projects, agriculture projects and the training seminars for clergy and lay readers. Mission and Development, Development and Mission.
David T (now known here as 'short David' so as not to be confused with 'Reverend David')