Woman’s Society Minutes, June 15, 2024

Present: guest Getry Agizah (from Kenya), Dorothy Curtis, Kim Bolshaw, Sarah Sprogell, Dot Hinshaw, Dorothy Grannell, Paula Rossvell, Nancy Marstaller, Susan Gilbert, Leslie Manning, Marian Baker, Madeleine Vache (8 in meetinghouse, 4 on Zoom)

  1. As Susan Gilbert was attending by Zoom, Nancy took minutes.
  • We wrote cards for Friends.
  • Getry Agizah shared about her work for Friends United Meeting with Friends Peace Teams and the Girl Child Education program, which is based in the Turkana and Samburu regions of Kenya where education for girls is not considered important. Girls did not often go on to high school because of cultural norms and the expense of school fees (one year of high school costs $500 tuition). Women are important because they bring a dowery to a marriage, but are less valued than men in the culture. The culture is patriarchal; men believe their wives have to be under their husbands. Getry described how Kenyan woman were concerned about this and Eden Grace helped set up this program. Eden was able to convince people who might have been hesitant because she was a white Western woman who came from where other respected missionaries had come.

So far 652 women have benefited from this program. Some girls are rescued from early marriages and/or female genital mutilation. They receive mentoring as well as education. They often marry after school, and their lives and their family lives are improved by having this education.

Many young girls still get pregnant as men take advantage of them sexually, but these men don’t necessarily want to marry and support the children. Parents do not always teach their children about sex education. Sometimes young mothers are married off to older men, as a 2nd or even 3rd wife.

Getting sanitary supplies is an issue for many families, as they are expensive. Some American and Kenyan women are now making re-usable sanitary pads to give to those who need. Marian will send us a pattern in case we want to make any.

The climate has also exacerbated some problems with violence. Turkana had a drought for 5 years and now is having severe rains which cause flooding. Many people in this area are nomads, raising cattle. Cattle are used to pay the dowery for a marriage. When the drought made that harder, cattle rustling increased.  Sometimes young boys are also kidnapped while watching cattle to join bandit “militias”, even boys as young as 6 years old. These boys don’t go to school and are just trained as warriors and to be loyal only to one group or tribe, ready to use violence against those from other tribes. The hope is to get more boys into school where they can meet those from other tribes and learn more skills and ways to relate to others, so they can learn life is not just about guns.

  • The treasurer’s report was read and accepted. The April offering was $40. Our current balance is $125.96.
  • We agreed to split the proceeds from the plant sale with half going to the Root Cellar and half to the USFWI Children and Youth projects. Of the USFWI projects, half will go to Girls Secondary Education support in Turkana and Samburu and the other half to the other 3 projects.
  • Inspired by Getry’s report, we agreed to donate $100 to Friends United Meeting for the Girl Child Education project.
  • There was no report for the May Tedford Shelter meal. Team A will provide the June meal.
  • Dorothy Curtis has presented 2 baby quilts since our last meeting: one for Gabriel, Ezra and Laura Smith’s baby, and one for Doug and Ellen Bennett’s new granddaughter.

Dorothy closed the meeting with this quote:

“Within each of us, just waiting to blossom, is the wonderful promise of all we can be.”
(Anonymous writer)

Nancy Marstaller, secretary pro tem

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