The event that was held on Friday 12th July in Köln was to officially launch the Pamoja initiative that aims to celebrate 50 years of Kenya’s Independence, in Germany. Pamoja: 50 Years of Independence – 50 Treasures of Kenya was initiated to help celebrate the huge milestone Kenya will be achieving this year as well as showcase Kenya as an investment and trade capital.
The event last Friday was to have the initiative launched and also blessed by the church thus the church service. The event started with hymns sang by the worship team from International Baptist Church Cologne and a sermon read by Pastor David Martin also from the IBC. The sermon focused on humility. Philippians 2:1-10
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
A bible verse was also read from 1. Corinthians 13: 1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
It was reiterated that we all may be as humble as Christ and love one another. After the sermon, the pastor prayed for the initiative and the “Blessing Segment” was closed with some praise songs led by our very own Njoki de Caro.
The second segment was opened by singing the Kenyan National Anthem, and I got to play my flute for the first time in sooooo many years…*wink *wink. Janet Moore took the floor to thank the initiators of the project as well as all those who took time to attend the event. She encouraged the Kenyan community to work together. I also read the tribute to the Kenyan Community in Cologne sent in by Dayton Kamwaro on behalf of his family.
I can’t avoid mentioning the Burial Committee in Cologne, the Kenya Union and of course the Kenyan Embassy in Germany. In particular I would like to mention several individuals who had been instrumental in assisting us the Kamwaro family. H.E…. …..the Kenyan Ambasdador to Germany, Mr. Wamela of the Kenyan Embassy, Elizabeth-Chairlady Kenya Union, Betty Mundorf Councillor, K-Nel Nelson Muriuki, Irene Annah Friedrisch, Mr. Friedrisch, Mkenya Ujerumani, Florence Njeru Ebert and her lovely sisters and their kind daughters including Susan (for making a special dinner for us), Veronica Kiruti, Karo Watskins, The Onserios: Evans, his wife Pauline and their children Steve and Chelsea, Brenda, Rachel Wali, Maggy, her sister Catherine, Nelson’s mum, Leila Msomali Woohria, Josef Biyidi, Linda Congolese, Jens, Bodo, Joseph, Virginie, Monicah, Pastor Maxwel and Pastor Macharia and their families, Pastors from Kenya and Nigeria during Memorial Service on Sunday 16th June, Leonard Lelesit Maasai, Ms. Pussy, Susan, Fatima, Johnny, Joshua, Suzzy, Charity, Janet Kimari, Helmut, among others. I cannot exhaust the list. In fact the list is endless.
You consoled us, wiped our tears, stood with us in that most difficult moment, gave us accommodation, meals and above all LOVE. You made us feel at home; you eased our burden and even went to a greater extent of using your own resources to assist us. Rest assured my brethren in the LORD that we truly acknowledge all your help and support. We can’t afford to give you anything other than prayers, gratitude and to sincerely acknowledge you. Indeed, anything I say is an understatement.
Asanteni sana nduguzangu na dadazangu. Mungu awabariki tena zaidi.
PS: Greetings to all the folks we met and couldn’t manage to meet. Time was too limited to interact with you but I wish, Oh! I wish we had ample time and at an auspicious moment to interact with you and be together another family in Europe. But God and nature dictates some things in the mortal’s lives.
Finally but not the least, I beseech you to foster the love and unity that was brought about by Jennifer’s demise. Galvanize and cement this love, peace and unity. Stay closer as brothers and sisters. Have parties, meetings and constant discussions. Desist from anything that will divide you. Forgive the ones that have wronged you. Keep the Spirit of East Africa Community alive and strong.
May God Almighty continue to bless you richly. God bless Kenya and EAC countries.
Next was Safia Kunze, an amazing Kenyan artist based in Düsseldorf. Safia reminded us that we should never forget our home regardless of where we went or how long we lived away from home. She also read a poem, she had written for the occassion. Her wish is that we continue to work Pamoja, despite our many differences. She also welcomed the Ambassador.
The Ambassador was excited to be part of such an initiative and thanked those who had supported the idea. He also passed a message given to him by Mr Kamwaro for the Kenyan Community in Cologne. He insisted that we should not consider one another competitors but instead compliment one another. He spoke of the role of the diaspora in the nation building in Kenya and he posed the question, “Do you want to be part of it?”.
He explained that the government was encouraging the diaspora to be part of the changes going on in the country. The current government has put in place mechanisms to encourage the diaspora’s participation and he wanted us to join in. He spoke of us as Kenyans in Germany, using the knowledge we got from Germany to improve Kenya. He encouraged us to find ways to solve issues that we encounter back home either through the know-how or through technology that can be found here but as we transport technology back home, he reminded us that we needed to know that, we shouldn’t use Kenya as a dumping ground. “We should send technology that is relevant and useful to our people”. He emphasised that it was important for us to make investments back home that would take care of us when we finally stopped working as well as created employement for those back home.
“We need to run, but we can’t run because of dog-fights. Let’s stop the petty politics and focus on issues that matter.” The Ambassador shared the story of the hyena that was holding a bone at the riverbank but on trying to cross the river, he saw another hyena that looked exactly like him but was bigger and had a bigger bone than he had. Instead of following his goal which was to cross the river, Mr. Hyena decided to fight for the bigger bone from the hyena in the water. As we all know, there was no other hyena in the water and of course no other bone thus Mr. Hyena ended up dropping the bone he had and being swept away by the waters. “Distil issues to follow”.
“We need to be faithful, respectful and truthful in our engagements”. The Ambassador explained that the only way Kenyan business people would be taken seriously is if we all did our business honestly. One person has the ability to spoil for all others. For those interested in importing things from Kenya to the German market, it was noted that they should research on the quality standards of their target market then demand for that from the producers in Kenya. We should avoid shortcuts.
The embassy will be organizing 2 major events and they want Kenyans in Germany to take part in the planning and in contributing ideas on what they would like to see or do during these events. The first is the Business Forum and the second is the Jamuhuri Day celebrations, all of which will be in Decemeber in Berlin. Anyone interested in giving ideas or being part of the planning committee can call or email the Embassy in Berlin.
The floor was open for the attendees to ask the Ambassador and Mr Wamela any questions. It was a good session with the embassy explain details on dual citizenship and trade that many did not know about until then.
I introduced Pamoja for those that were attending a Pamoja meeting for the first time to understand what the concept was about. I insisted that Pamoja wasn’t an organisation/association and it had no officials nor is it an exclusive club. All Kenyans are welcome to take part and celebrate the 50yrs with us, as we showcase Kenya in a different light socially and as a key trading partner in East Africa.
The meeting ended with the Ambassador getting flowers and a leso as a present. The leso was to prevent staining his beautiful Kenya made shirt as we grilled the meat for the Kenyans. “Tukiwa Ujerumani, Balozi ndiye Baba na mkewe ndiye Mama ya Wakenya Ujerumani” and with that the Ambassador was in charge of the food. 🙂
Mr. Wamela also got a chance to speak on the activities of the consular section of the embassy (will do a separate article on this). He also emphasised the need to have Kenyans register at the embassy. (You can read the step by step guide on how to register and/or update your information here).