M & M on the Training Trail!

Ronnie___maggie_3 Posted by Ronnie & Maggie Briggs on Fri, 03 Jun 2016 | 3 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

It was a bright Monday morning in Oltiasika as seven local Maasai ladies made their way up the hill to the Retreat Centre called Osinoni Hideaway, for a training seminar.
It looked like the first day of school as they were somewhat shy and awkward. However, for some of them, they had not experienced a first school day, as they had never set foot in school in their lives. For others, they had only been educated for a few years at Primary level, before dropping out of the system. Consequently most of them could neither read nor write.
They were welcomed by Maria and myself. Maria had been recruited in 2004 to Osinoni Hideaway and trained up and after we returned to N.Ireland, she moved on to another job. She is presently employed by a Lion Conservation Project where our son Philip also works. She had now returned to her original home area to train these new ladies how to work in the Retreat Centre. She saw this as a way to say thank you for the chance she had received in life as a result of her training and also to help encourage the women of her own community.
Our family has known Maria since she was a little girl as she used to play with our eldest daughter, Susie when we lived at Oltiasika from 1987 – 90. Twenty years later, when Susie was studying Social Anthropology in Queens University, she returned to Oltiasika to complete her dissertation on the effects of education on Maasai girls, and Maria helped her obtain her information as they both travelled around the villages, interviewing the girls. Now, here was the same Maria helping me many years later…….
It was challenging to teach these women without anything being written down, so it was all practical learning. However, within a short time they had all gelled together as they made beds, prepared rooms and cooked some ‘strange’ food, like pasta and mincemeat which they had never even seen before! It was such a joy to watch them find something in themselves that they never knew existed.
In our final session, we shared the verse with them from Proverbs 3v5,6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
They felt this verse was very relevant as they had so little understanding of what they were doing at first. However, as we prayed at the beginning and end of each day, so God did direct their paths and lead them to better understanding.
After 3 days, they left as a group of happily chattering ladies, with new-found knowledge and Maria had also been greatly blessed through her teaching. Now, as we await our first group of visitors – a team of 30+ from Limavady Grammar School – I have no doubt these women will give of their best to make them feel welcome. May God bless all their efforts and give them a real sense of being valued.


Kathleen Outram said Sat, 11 Jun 2016 02:01PM
Maggie, I very much enjoyed reading this account of the training weekend you organised for the Oltiasika ladies, with Maria's help. I wish you God's blessing in all you do especially in Oltiasika. I remember the shyness of the women there and the lack of resources and what a privilege it was to visit and stay with the group of young people from The Clogher Diocese in 2000. I couldn't imagine living there and yet I see you've already lived there from 1987-90. I really admire what you're doing. I hope you are healthy and happy. I pray for my children that they are fulfilled and valued in the material world we live in and I pray the same for you and your colleagues in a very different world! God bless you all and keep you in His care. Kate
joanne mccurry said Tue, 21 Jun 2016 02:29PM
hi Maggie I know my son and his friends are so excited about travelling to Kenya......can't believe that it is next week.....it seems no time from the planning 16 months ago
Caroline Mansley said Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:46AM
Maggie, it's so good to read of all you're doing at Oltiasika. I remember the training school when I was there, not being used so it's good to hear what is now going on. On that note, Nigel and I move to England in august as I take up a post as Team Vicar in Ashford Kent. We hope to continue links with disk. Every blessing.

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