Hope on Lamu Island

Posted in OLD The Archive

Lamu Island, Kenya, is a beautiful holiday destination. It is also a ripe mission field. Often, tourists can go to places like Lamu and be awed by the unspoilt beauty of palm trees and golden beaches. Yet they can completely miss the reality of the locals and their real lives. TWR's Sifa FM (translated: praise, in Swahili) has been broadcasting on Lamu Island for some time. A few TWR colleagues went there to find out what the locals think of it. Here's one lady's story ...

She sat in the market place, surrounded by her wares. Bright yellow bananas hung from a wooden beam above her head. Shiny green peppers glistened in a wooden rack. Blood red tomatoes were lined up neatly next to them. She hunched herself over an old green bucket, trimming her vegetables for the display. Her hands moved quickly, ten years of practice guiding each slice of the blade. Amidst the sounds of the busy marketplace, a preacher's booming voice explains God's Word in Swahili. Where is this voice coming from? She shuffles around, revealing a little black radio, and smiles. Mama Shani tells us her story, as she continues to slice strips of green spinach ...

"My name is Mama Shani. I've been selling fruits and vegetables at this market for the last 10 years. Life before Sifa FM came to Lamu was very boring. It was really boring! But ever since the station came to Lamu, life is very interesting. I listen to the radio even while I am working ... The programmes encourage me so much. Sometimes I have a heavy heart, or feel discouraged about my business, but after listening to the station I feel lifted, I feel life is worth living. My favourite programmes are the Radio Bible and the Praise and Worship moments. At those particular times I really feel lifted. I feel my heart is touched as I listen to the programmes. The programmes are really interesting. Even when I am discouraged, I get encouraged. The programmes make me to realise where I have sinned, and where I should ask God for forgiveness ...

" ... I am diabetic and I also have ulcers. I'd like to be taught, over the radio, about which foods to eat and how to take care of myself. Sometimes I get so sick that I have to be hospitalised. I think the radio can be used to do something about that. I'd like to contribute how I feel and share issues that affect me as a diabetic person... I would like to encourage other people to listen to the station so that they can hear with their own ears so that they too can be blessed by this station. I would like to encourage people who give towards Sifa FM to continue giving."

Since this interview took place, TWR-Kenya now broadcasts the Project Hannah radio programme, Women of Hope, which includes instructions on medical needs, such as diabetes. Please pray for Mama Shani and consider supporting Sifa FM.


Published: 31 August 2010