A new way to view our perceptions

4thMay: We phoned Charlie a few times.to collect us as we are going to look at a vehicle the other side of town, it was nearly midday and he hadn’t arrived so we phoned Innocent a young taxi driver who brought us back from the local supermarket last week. It was a long trip,(only 25k’s) heaps of traffic and Innocent didn’t have Charlie’s experience of life, but during our day with him we gradually started to see him come out of his shell. He was a motor mechanic, as well as using his brothers car as taxi, working long hours, and married with two children. (I remember it well). It was quite handy as we were looking at cars ay! As with most of the cars we looked at in dealer’s yards it seemed overpriced, and needed so many little things sorted out, to many unknowns.

During the return journey we saw our first wild animals, two wart hogs in the middle of Nairobi, just grazing on the grass with the tusked male pausing occasionally to look around. It could feel him saying” All this bloody traffic in my jungle.”

Innocent mentioned a car field sale that usually happens on a Sunday, we weren’t sure, we felt we had the vehicle for us coming in the afternoon on Sunday.

This evening,while I was writing Justus’s story my phone rang, it was someone called Alex (I think) who said he had a 1999 Isuzi Trooper for sale for 1.1million kes and it would be at this car paddock sale tomorrow. Ok, how did he know, we were looking?

5thMay: We didn’t get to return to the area where the slums are (wow, that word slum doesn’t sit with me well now), Charlie’s car was being repaired. So we asked Innocent, to pick us up, but decided it wouldn’t be the same with him in slum (there’s that word again) city, so we went to the car paddock sale. Apparently the vehicles are all private sales and we deal with the owners, this was a big field and filled with all makes of cars, we were looking for a ‘goldie’ coloured Isuzu in a sea of vehicles. Innocent is really looking after us, his thoroughness in the legalities is second to none (well may be Yeshua), he knows the system and scams and doesn’t trust until everything has been verified. We spent all day yesterday (6th May) at the revenue office waiting for the correct information to be transferred to the log book, everything is paper in that department.

We found the vehicle, but there was no Alex and it was 1 million, it seemed too good to be true, it was low mileage with everything working and arranged to go back later after we had seen the one Pastor Michael wanted to sell to us.

This afternoon when Michael arrived we knew his car wasn’t for us, it was in good nick for its age, but it might/would need lots of money spent on it soon. We were supposed to meet him though, divine intervention ay!

The rest of the day was described so well in P&K’s blog, The Car Baazar (link at the bottom of this page) and well worth reading. Nice work guy’s.

Now this word slum! Wikipedia says,

A slum, as defined by the United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing, squalor, and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the developing world between 1990 and 2005.[1] However, due to rising population, and the rise especially in urban populations, the number of slum dwellers is rising. One billion people worldwide live in slums[2] and the figure is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030.[3]

The term has traditionally referred to housing areas that were once relatively affluent but which deteriorated as the original dwellers moved on to newer and better parts of the city, but has come to include the vast informal settlements found in cities in the developing world.[4]

Many shanty town dwellers vigorously oppose the description of their communities as ‘slums’ arguing that this results in them being pathologised and then, often, subject to threats of evictions.[5] Many academics have vigorously criticized UN-Habitat and the World Bank arguing that their ‘Cities Without Slums’ Campaign has led directly to a massive increase in forced evictions.[6]

Although their characteristics vary between geographic regions, they are usually inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings vary from simple shacks to permanent and well-maintained structures. Most slums lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services.[4]
I think that sums it up. For me it felt as the word was taking away from the people living there. It must be the way us westerners judge the word and what it implies according to our standards, because the people living there are doing the best they can with what they have and living in their reality. And as we travel around the city the are many variations of “slum” and often next to brand new apartment building, the contrast is bazaar and also saddening.

I can relate to many occasions when I have felt that judgement, often when people ask where I live and when I mention I have lived in a tent for four years the feeling coming from them implies squalor. I feel that they haven’t lived and may be don’t know how to or want to, personally I don’t like living in a conventional house at the moment, I don’t know exactly why, but how I live brings me closer to my reality and desires, or maybe to my true soul condition, but the connection to the land is beautiful.

Love to you all
Denis
God is Good

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A day on the wild side

We are having to stay in Nairobi longer than we planned, sourcing supplies and information that is so spread out across the city and travelling around is usually slow because of the volume of traffic and the age of vehicles causing them to break down in the best of places. Everyone is patient and there are no honking of horns as in other third world countries, but they just don’t stop for anything if there is a space, it is like you indicate to change lanes and a imaginary wall is erected to protect the vehicle changing lanes, basically they don’t give a shit.

3rdMay: Kerry didn’t travel “shopping” today, processing is more important, so Paige and I went off into the unknown with Charlie again. Camping is our priority today and we soon found stores are few and far between. One fundamental thing I have learned is that Kenyans don’t camp, the majority of Kenyans don’t live that well and have “camped” all their lives, and the rest don’t want too. So the few stores that are about are generally catering for tourists, with prices that reflect that fact. The one store we had some success with and had most of the equipment we required, but only had one of each item, so we are getting used to African time, ay!

Charlie seems to know everyone or knows someone who does, so we request our need and he is on the phone, our living yellow pages. He is a big gentle man (I mean his presence, although he is stocky, he is our personal Mr T), and when on the phone seems aggressive, but he always finishes the conversation with a very soft ok, you can’t help but love him. He took us across town to the CBD and during this time Paige was talking to James, the agent who was dealing with the arrival of the sound system and found that they wanted $1500 import duty, and we couldn’t collect until Monday, more emotions to deal with. While Paige was going through this process she missed what came next.

Charlie diverted to take a short cut through a slum area. My goodness, televisions keep us so remote from reality, ay! Charlie tells me there are 1.4 million people living in this corrugated iron city and what we were seeing from the road was the better area, inside was bad, very, very bad. What I was seeing was deeply humbling, how can one brother see another living so, my tented life is luxury. Both Paige and Kerry missed what I was seeing and I asked Charlie if we could return another day and he said on Sunday as the traffic will be much less.

I am struggling to find words to describe it to you, I will try, but maybe we will film some of our trip on Sunday. Try and imagine your average high street or market, then down size it so each business shop front measures 2mtr x 2mtr then remove the glass and door, remove the façade, replace the structure with old (I mean old) corrugated iron, rip up the floors and pavement until the dirt is visible, drive some trucks over the walkways when it is wet and add a decaying smell. It is worse than that though.

In contrast to the scene I have tried to describe the place is buzzing, a hive of industry and enthusiasm. This would be the place to shop, they are making and selling a whole array of goods, welding beds, repairing anything, clothes everywhere, cleaning of second hand trainers for sale, furniture, food, a hairdresser, drink venders and even a pharmacy you name it and it would be there. I am sure they would supply anything you would ask for, but in my western upbringing fear would prevent me asking at the moment, of course unless Charlie was with me. On our outing today,5thMay, we saw so many market stalls (as I described earlier), it seemed that everyone in the city has a stall.

I have learnt since from a tour guide that many people living in the slums choose too. Renting a property is very expensive, $350 whereas renting in the slums can be as low as $12, so any money they do make they can re-invest in their businesses and have hope of educating their children or getting out.

We reached the CBD and I noticed a haze, much like it was in London where I grew up before pollution controls where introduced and buses so full, hey I would have suffered a claustrophobia attack inside one of them. Charlie parked the car in this old building site that as full, but they kept taking money from drivers and cramming them in, as Paige said, ‘not a place to bring a new car’. We walked a few blocks to a sports store and bingo; we purchased three sleeping bags, but not before Paige tried one on. She didn’t want to lay on the floor to get dirty so she started to slip it over her head, I just had to pull it down, a long way, the faces of everyone around was in disbelieve it looked like I was wrapping her up to take with me and even Charlie started to help me, we were having such fun.

I now understand how the black fella’s feel when they walk through a sea of white fella’s. The projections we felt as we walked through a cleared area heading for another store were very heavy, we might be despised, but I just felt love for them and felt safe.

We reached the next shop, but it was closed and we treated Charlie to lunch, he picked African cuisine. He took us up a couple of flights of stairs; it was like going into a block of flats in a housing estate, you would never guess it was an eating establishment from the street. As we entered Charlie tried to make them understand that we were vegetarian (I thought vegan would be too hard), there was much crossing out on the pre-printed forms and we paid 900kes (about $10) for three meals. We then washed our hands in the sinks that lined one wall of the eating area (no knives and forks here mate), and sat down on the terrace overlooking the undercover areas around the edge. It was similar to an RSL without the façade, and the staff where really attentive. Our meals were brought over, Charlie had fish in a coconut juice/sauce/gravy/soup (not sure) with a side dish of brown millet, ours was a plate of greens, it looked kale and with a heavy looking chapatti we set about eating, checking each other to see who would collapse first.

You know how car parks are orderly and clear entrances and exits, well when we arrived back to collect Charlie’s car you would have been hard pressed to get a motor bike in, but they still was taking money at the gate even though all the internal road ways were full of locked cars. The attendants were walking around with baskets full of keys trying to open car doors that blocked anybody in who wanted to leave. If you can imagine a scene from ‘Laurel and Hardy’ movie (my young era), just hilarious, it must have been an everyday occurrence because everybody was so calm and wow, that food was really heavy.

We arrived back at camp and Paige decided that fingers down the throat was the go and me, well I just felt the discomfort, drank lots of water and farted all afternoon. At dinner that evening we all ate feeling much better in ourselves, Kerry included.

When I started out writing this page I thought a few lines would be enough, but feeling our day brings it all alive.

Love to you all
Denis
God is Good

We are really here

27thApril: Our “press conference” was awesome; emotionally is such a different way to live and although I am not living that way all of the time yet, when I do boy does it feel good. The press didn’t come as they said they would, but those who did come now know our desires and what our intentions are in Kenya.

Thank you all, it was so awesome to share with you and have your support and love.

29thApril: As we set off for Brisbane airport Kerry and Paige announced that we had received a donation for $20,000 for a vehicle and water tanks that we mentioned in our presentation, thank you so much guys. Once I used to say (before I believed in God), that God used to work in mysterious ways, now the mystery is no more, it is how God designed us. Don’t you just love passions and desires, how can we not live this way of life,. God is so Good.

30thApril: Our flights over to Nairobi were pretty good as flights go and my vegan meals were really tasty (we flew Emirates), we had two stop overs, but only for a couple of hours and it was nice to refresh the body. We went through customs in Nairobi without a problem, it really does pay to be open and honest with the authorities rather than try to hide anything.

We are staying at http://www.wildebeestecocamp.com and I am in small tent, that is now under a shed roof as they have had flooding here and the ground is very wet. All the staff here are so gracious and truly look to serve and have such good smiles.

1stMay: Our first day has been to relax and to catch up with ourselves and then the hustle and bustle of car yards looking at vehicles, some contrast, ay! There are four million people living in Nairobi and much poverty. My first impressions are that they may be struggling, but happier than those who seem to have plenty; the façade is not so prominent.

We have connected to a few Kenyans; Kyale (Charlie), a taxi driver who has been driving us around for a few hours daily, looking at vehicles and shopping for tanks ,etc., who is so happy to talk about his disillusionment with his upbringing in the Catholic church and his faith that God’s truth will be told and that is the only way to change things. Then there is Justus an amazing young man who had given up his free time to accompany us ‘shopping’. He has told us some of his life, he is twenty six years old, and I shall tell his story soon.

There are about four million people living in Nairobi and Charlie told us if everyone went home the city would be empty as most have migrated for work when it can be found. There is much evident poverty, with no government support, so you work or starve and as Charlie spoke you could feel his anger at the gap between those who have excess and those who have nothing, which seems to be the majority of souls. I think for the next few days we will be continuing our hunt for a vehicle.

2ndMay: We spent six hours with Charlie today driving around Nairobi’s industrial areas looking at water tanks and finding suppliers for pipes and fittings. It seems that the other four million where on the roads to. Justus came with us and it certainly helped us having ‘locals’ accompanying us in achieving our goals. We have now sourced water tanks, etc., and at reasonable prices, in fact I think we got a good deal and ongoing service. We looked at another vehicle, but all the ones we have looked at just don’t seem right. Paige commented that the right one will turn up when we least expect it and as it happens several hours later when reading an email from Chris (the guy who supplied and installed the solar system), he mentioned a Paster who he had done several jobs for was selling his Isuzu Trooper to buy a new one. The pictures of it look good, the price is what we would like to pay and Chris has used it in remote areas saying it was in really good condition, so we will pursue it tomorrow.

Love to you all
Denis
God is good.

What it is all about

Jambo na Kupewa (Hello and Welcome),

I am Denis Langmead and I together with Kerry Foley and Paige Willoughby are traveling to the Western part of Kenya, close to Lake Victoria, as part of a team from Wilkesdale in Queensland, Australia to help a group of Kenyan’s learn and hear God’s truths as taught to us by Jesus and Mary.

The http://www.office@divinetruth.com received an email from Javan in Kenya some 5 months ago, which a part of it is displayed as follows and this journey we are about to undertake is in response to that email.

To tell you more about our organisation, yes we are worship based giving church services. To our communities we care for orphans whose parents were killed following the post election crisis in Kenya of the year 2007/2008. Our organisation began just as a peace keeping movement, meeting people and sharing on love. Because we felt people especially christians talk about love but they do not exercise it to themselves and their neighbours resulting to the killings which was recorded even in churches. A group of christians burning their fellow brothers and sisters in faith who were in church. After observation from what happened, some of us and even our friends losing their beloved relatives during the crisis. This made me and my wife to start reviewing about starting a movement which will bring people together in love. We are neither pentacostals nor evangelicals. We are just a movement establishing our path of faith now. The love gospel made more people to join us since they neglected their former gospel which they believe caused the killings which resulted after elections.
As we grew in number, we discussed on finding a group or organisation to affiliate to to help us grow with a vision which will make our followers to be distinctive in behaviour and relationship. We found it so hard in searching an organisation to affiliate to since most of our members have no access to computer and some are illitrate. I went to visit my brother who lives in Nairobi our capital city in mid of this year and i had the chance to be close to computer in Nairobi. I was looking for an organisation which is divine and bears the truth, i went to computer search and typed Divine Truth and to my joy i met you, Divine Truth. I went through your webpages and slowly i developed an interest. I visited your webpages for about 4 days and i came back home after completing my visit. I went to my local worship center and released the information to the members during our session of reports and news, they were touched and encouraged me to reach the other centers with the same message. I tried to reach more centers although i faced some hardships since some are far away in the far parishes. I hard no money to take vehicle to distant places so i had to use phone call or ring and write short text messages using my phone. The leaders stationed in the parishes had to deliver the message of Divine Truth to their congregations and the response was attractive. We hosted a leaders meeting at a central place on September and we shared more on Divine Truth. I had more information to give from your webpages since i kept travelling to computer. The leaders gave their contributions during the discussion and the agreement was to collect funds for me to visit all congregations, meeting worshipers in their centers and share the Divine Truth message although not detailed to them. I did that in the month of October. I met members during the day and even at night since the centers are many in the 5 parishes. I moved round and collected their views which was an encouragement for us leaders to go forward to contact you as we did. Incorperating Divine Truth to our service is not difficulty since our members have accepted. What we need now is more teachings. We become part of the Divine Truth. This teaching proccess to start with the leaders who in turn reaches the congregations and the centers with the message. We have already allocated session in our program which we use to teach Divine Truth. After receiving more material we shall extend the Divine Truth session of study. Ok your teachings are controversial for most christians in Australia and other parts of the world but with us we have identified the truth in Divine Truth and we shall stand for it. Whether people see the teachings as controversial we are aware that they will starting joining us. This will be extended to the entire Kenya, happy to our government it is free to any religion to exist provided we obey the government laws. Every organisation as to register with the Kenyan government which we have not done because it is very expensive to register with the government. If we get the needed funds we are able to do the registration. We have extended our organisation to Tanzania and we hope to reach the whole of East Africa and the entire Africa given time and resources.

Through generous donations by a few individuals as well as many smaller ones we are taking to them as gifts, two notebook computers and software that will run a low powered projector and sound system that will allow Javan and Susan to show all of the seminars, interviews, FAQ’s teachings, etc and access to the web site http://www.divinetruth.com, together with all the pdf files that Jesus and Mary have recorded, to their congregations in the five parishes that they serve. A small solar system to provide power to run and charge the equipment.

Half of the donations received have been used to supply food and clothing for the 208 orphans within these parishes together with a new shelter, as the old one was damaged by storms (see picture below) in one of the parishes. Also help to register their organization as required by the Government so they may be free to talk openly without fear. Our ongoing goals are to supply a water tank and a pipe from their spring (some 700mtrs away), which is generally collected by the women of the village, more clothing for the children, seed for growing food and a vehicle to allow access to all the parishes.
house-destroyed-by-storm

Our aim this trip is to teach Javan and Susan to use and care for the equipment being taken over to them, to love and be in truth with them and to assist them in any way we can. Start to teach the children English as is their desire and to help them begin to love and care for themselves.To introduce to the villagers the permaculture way of farming and some methods of retaining water in the soil for longer periods to enable them to have a longer growing season and bring life back into the soil, to love and care for the soil, but primarily to see the advantages of giving to the land rather than taking from it.

I would like to thank Jesus and Mary for their tireless effort over the last few months, for co-ordinating the project along with sourcing, building and testing equipment and training us, as well as guidance for what we face.

There is now a team who are co-ordinating all projects that have had requests for assistance and the blog address is; http://www.internationalassistance.wordpress.com and will summarise our feedback and experiences. I hope, together with Paige and Kerry’s blog, that you will get a picture of what is happening on the ground and interact with us.

Our desire at the moment is to travel to London when we leave Kenya, (end of July) and host a presentation of our experiences and achievements in Kenya and anyone who would like attend or to be involved please contact us. We would also consider other destinations to tell of our journey should the requests be made.

I would also like to thank those who have donated funds to me personally, to help me in my desire to go to Kenya and to assist in this project.

Should you wish to donate to help us with our quest please see the details on the donation page, thank you.

For me personally it feels as if the last five years of my life I have been training for this next phase of my journey towards God and the desire to find the real me. My desire to go to Africa started nearly two years ago after meeting Helge …… who is in Namibia, and now building an orphanage for street children with a desire to have a Learning Center, (I hope to visit her soon) and when I heard about Kenya my heart sang, I had to go. I do not know what lies ahead of me, but I have faith that I will be guided to do the best I can. I pray that I can be humble and love my brothers and sisters for they have got my attention at long last.

God is Good