Mercy Centre opens in Lodwar

 Written on 4th July 2008 

Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Lisa Filipetto,
husband Peter and Missionary Airlines bush pilot arrive
in Lodwar for the opening of the new Mercy Centre.

We are still on a high here after the visit of our Australian High Commissioner Ms Lisa Filipetto and her husband Peter on 20th June.

The visit turned out to be a resounding success. The Bishop declared Lisa an exceptional woman. Quite a compliment coming from the Bishop. Her husband Peter is an exceptional man in his own right as well and with such a good sense of humour. They were a big hit wherever they went. I was exceptionally proud of them. They were quite ‘at home’ in the Bethany House guest facilities from the start.

Sister Yvonne Channells with Australian High Commissioner Lisa Filipetto,
Vulnerable Children Program carer, Asugura Ekiteta and Bishop Harrington.

The blessing and opening of Mercy Centre was a colourful, vibrant and joyous occasion. Funding for this Centre was provided by the Australian Embassy in Nairobi. As High Commissioner Lisa officially opened the centre after the ceremony of blessing by the Bishop. 

The plaque was a gift from Sister Yvonne's brother John and
wife Lyn. It was sent to Lodwar for the opening ceremony

Besides the people from the `Soweto' and `California' village dressed in their traditional attire, a big group also dressed in their finery came from Napatet Village to show support. Of course the thought of the burnt offering of three roasted goats (fattened on the best produce stolen from from my garden) probably added to the attraction. These goats were a gift from the Bishop for the people to add to the joy of celebration.

Some of the large crowd assembled for the Mercy Centre opening.

We had new outfits made for all the children in the Vulnerable Children's Program and they were absolutely "shining" as the local people are wont to say when complimenting others on their appearance. It seemed God was truly smiling down on us as the day turned out moderately cool with cloud cover to save us from the extreme heat of the day. There was such a concerted effort from all the Diocesan personnel as well to ensure all went happily and smoothly. We hope we will eventually have some good photos for the website. Lisa concluded her speech by singing St Francis Peace prayer, ‘Lord make me a channel of your peace…’ Others joined in spontaneously.

Sr. Yvonne (crouched) wrote "Here is the promised photo of the three Mercy Sisters
with the High Commissioner Lisa and the two Chairladies from Soweto and Napatet villages. Sister Margaret Twomey is on the right and Sister Salina is on my right side".

On the Saturday Fr Francis VG took the guests and me to the lake at Ile for the day. We packed the good old traditional picnic lunch, boiled eggs, bread, tomato and some sliced meat. Once again God was really smiling on us. The first glimpse of the lake from the distance was so distinctly jade. A colour I love. Lake Turkana is sometimes called the Jade Sea and it is so extensive. The day was perfect the water refreshing and not a stir of sand as we had a nap under the shade of the exotic palm trees. Then to cap it all a flock of white flamingos landed on the shore to the right of us and a herd of some hundred or so camels arrived to the left of us.

The camels, all gathered very closely together, were being coaxed into the water to wash and "refuel". It seemed they were reluctant to get their feet wet. I suppose after the hot sand the water would seem a bit cold. I knew how they must have felt after dipping my toe in to test the water. It was a kind of day one dreams about.

The other exciting news from this quarter is that the wireless telephone has finally hit Lodwar. Anyone who has ever tried to ring me knows what a challenge that can be. Telkom arrived here bearing the new handset. They know the endless trouble we have had. The package says it was made in Egypt but it is a French company who owns and has installed the signal for the wireless here in Kenya. So now we have a new number and hopefully a better service. All good things come to those who wait long enough. I do hope it will no longer be a trial for those who may wish to call.

I hope to be home in Australia early September and will stay until the end of October. Brian and Lynn, if you are not on one of your special trips I hope to catch up with you both in Nambucca Heads, one of my favourite places in the world. Do keep well. I send every best blessing with much special love and thanks.

Lodwar Diocese
Turkana Province




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