Father Andrew Yakulula of the parish of Todonyang in the diocese of Lodwar in western Kenya is delighted and profoundly grateful for the help of our generous benefactors, thanks to whom ACN was able to give him 15,000 Euros and help him purchase a new vehicle. So at last he could replace his old, 15-year-old off-road vehicle with which he had brought so much help and comfort over the years to so many people in this corner of northwest Kenya. For in the end this vehicle was spending more time in the workshop than in serving the needs of the people in this region, plagued as it is by poverty, drought and tribal conflicts.
The parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Todonyang was established nine years ago and serves a total population of 18,000 people. It is a thinly populated area and without a functioning vehicle it would be impossible to minister pastorally to them all.
A section of this population belongs to the Turkana tribe, originally a nomadic people who moved from place to place with their cattle herds, wherever they could find water and pasture. But the frequently recurring severe droughts have led to the death of many of their cattle, which are traditionally their most important capital and on which they depend for their milk, their meat and their blood as their main source of nutrition. So now they are increasingly beginning to supplement their diet with crops such as maize, peas and beans and consequently more and more of the Turkana people are becoming settled and giving up their nomadic lifestyle. This has led to bloody conflicts over land between them and the members of the Dassanech tribe, conflicts that have repeatedly cost lives. So the Catholic Church is working hard to promote peace and reconciliation and endeavouring to mediate between the two ethnic groups.
Quite apart from this, the Church here in the diocese of Lodwar is constantly striving to help all the people in their many needs, including the provision of clean drinking water, care of the sick, schools and kindergartens and also nutritional aid for malnourished children. All this is part of the service she provides. Consequently, the priest‘s vehicle also has to function as an ambulance, a water truck and many other things besides. But above all the work of the priest is to bring God to the people. In Todonyang itself and in the four outstations of the parish he brings them the sacraments and helps them to deepen their understanding of the message of Christ. So this vehicle that our benefactors have generously funded is also bringing help and hope to so many people. Our heartfelt thanks to all whose donations have made this possible!