Monday, August 7, 2017

Praying for Kenya

On Tuesday, August 8, Kenya will have it's presidential elections.  I was in Kenya for the last presidential election in February of 2013, which was very tense because the previous election of 2007 erupted in much violence and many deaths.  Thankfully, the election of 2013 was mostly peaceful.  But I have been told by Kenyans that tensions are high for this election.  Commodities are scarce as people are stock-piling goods, and business has slowed down considerably as people are holding on to their money in case of emergency.  Many people are leaving the major cities and going to the countryside in hopes of being safe.

It didn't help that last week, a senior election monitoring official was tortured and murdered.  It's difficult to think of the courage that others who are responsible for monitoring this election for transparency will have to show, given this violence.

Tribalism plays a major role in Kenyan politics and this election is no different, with the race between current president, Uhuru Kenyatta who is Kikuyu, and the opposition leader Raila Odinga who is Luo. This is Odinga's fourth time running for president. The Kikuyu tribe is the largest in Kenya, with 6.6 million people; the Luo tribe is the fourth largest in Kenya, with 4 million people.

Please pray for Kenya this week, for free and transparent elections, free of violence, where every vote of every citizen will count.

While all of this goes on in political spheres, we continue to see small business men and women, who care about the Church and their families, continue to seek and strive to be who God has made them to be.  The story below was written by one of the co-directors of DML Kenya, Caroline Sudi.


By Caroline Sudi, Co-Director DML Kenya
Grace Mzee, in the front, standing with one of her drivers.

Meet Grace Mzee, the Manager of Salama Riders. The word ‘Salama’ is Swahili for ‘fine’. This is a business in the transport industry owned by a Marketplace minister and TOT (Trainer of Trainers) of the Discipling Marketplace Leaders ministry. Grace is one of those who were in the very first class of BAM and in fact taught both of the current Co-Directors for DML Kenya (Rev. Elly Kisala and Caroline Sudi), as we were in the second class. She is also a Medical Engineer at the Kitale Referral Hospital right here in Kitale town. She is also a Pastor’s wife serving in their ministry.  Talk of a busy marketplace minister!
In more rural areas of Kenya, many people get around by “boda-boda,” which are motorcycle taxis.  The customer demand for this form of public transportation has been significantly increasing over the last number of yearsSalama Riders was started in January 2016 with a capital of $1200.00 USD and begun with one new motor bike. Through a well-structured management, Grace was able to purchase two more second-hand motorbikes in quick succession, and a fourth one through a DML, loan growing her fleet to 4 motorbikes in less than two years. Her husband doubles up as the Supervisor of Salama Riders; and runs the day-to-day of the business including recruitment, repairs and servicing. She has employed four experienced riders and a mechanic who ensure that the bikes are in tip-top condition. Her husband is also Pastor to their local church.
Each motorbike earns her $3.50/day, six days a week giving her about $330.00 USD net profit per month. Through the business training offered by DML, Grace is able to manage the processes from recruitment of drivers, communication, record-keeping to salaries; and according to Grace, this is the reason for her success. “DML has been of great help to me and my business,” she stated during our conversation. 

Salama Riders business hopes to grow into motor vehicle public transport business and the purchase of a car –the probox model is in their plan. These are commonly used for public transport commuting between Kitale town and the outskirts which is their target area. They also plan to expand their church building with resources from the business – a need necessitated by their growing congregation. They also have a social bottom line which is to support needy children. These are found within their locality and what better way than to reach out to such as they are the hope for tomorrow’s church.