Sunday, 13 May 2012

Visiting the Kenyan Ol Kalou Jewish Community

I spent the week of Purim with the Gathundian community and was very much affected by the warmth of this tiny community who looked after me and cared for my every need whilst I was with them. Whilst the community is very poor by any western standards they possess qualities that are lost to our materialistic society. Joseph and Ruth's family functions as a unit, with the older ones amongst the 13 children taking their roles in doing the various household tasks.

Doing the washing

For example Joseph's eldest daughter gets up at 5am, walks for an hour in order to arrive in school by 6:30am, doing her homework and preparation for the beginning of the school day at 8:30am. She stays in school until 6pm, and must attend 6 days a week. Getting home at 7:30pm the oldest sibling still at home entails caring for the younger children as well as helping with household tasks such as washing clothes. the eldest child is also delegated by the parents to mediate disputes. Joseph told me that it is rare for a dispute amongst the children to be so serious so as to be brought to their parents' attention. The younger children recognise that their sister will deal fairly with them and accept her decisions.

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