by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Nakuru
Kenya is full of contradictions: still widespread practices of polygyny in many Kenyan tribes perfectly well co-exist with Christian puritanism. Western Christian religion somehow found a fruitful soil in the minds of Kenyan citizens. The quantity of churches competes only with quantity of schools in the country.
(Despite the belief that there are not enough schools for children to attend, there are plenty of them.)
In January Nakuru became the center of the African religious world. The town hosted the conference of the prophet of God Dr. Owuor who was supposed to heal anyone who asks for it. Nakuru was packed with people from all around the country and neighbor Uganda’s and Tanzania’s citizens who came to seek for miracles: someone wished for money to provide for their families, most of them just wanted to be healed. The day this self-named prophet came to town thousands of people stood alongside the road leading to the hotel Merica where the guy was staying. The road was washed with soap and water, people fought for the place to have a chance to see the prophet coming.
Kaptembwo area where our center is located became the place for gathering. The event took place on a football field where people spent days and nights singing and praying without sleep for 3 days. The area next to our buildings was filled with school buses that brought all the God fearing people. There were more than thousand buses. How many people? Millions. Some of them brought their sick relatives from hospitals.
Despite the fact that the prophet’s delegation drives expensive cars, books the whole hotel for themselves, the most expensive hotel in town where one night is more than $300 in a country where there is no water in some far regions. Despite the fact that there were no miracles. Despite the fact that there were six deaths in the crowd of people who couldn’t bare the hotness, noise and jostle. Despite all these, people don’t raise reasonable doubts or ask any questions, they just believe. Well… I guess when you have nothing; you have to believe in something.