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Field Staff Reports: Eden Grace

Updates from Eden Grace – September 2012

September is always a big month in the financial management aspect of my job. As FUM’s fiscal year closes on 30 June, and the months of July and August finds me out of the country, September becomes the month for chasing loose ends, entering all those pesky year-end journal entries, tracking down missing receipts, calculating depreciation, double checking every entry on every ledger for accuracy, and finally, wrapping it all up with a ribbon and handing it over to the auditors for their scrutiny. This year, everything went so smoothly!

I’m really excited about the upcoming renovation at Kaimosi Hospital, although there’s still a lot of planning to be done before demolition of walls and hammering of nails can occur! For years, we’ve griped how the outpatient department is far too crowded, the lab is in the wrong place, the x-ray department is too far away from outpatient, the finance department staff are scattered into corners and closets around the building, the reception and waiting area is pathetic. Our refrain of complaint has also included that the administrator’s office has no windows, patients get lost trying to find where to pay, the operating room roof leaks when it rains, an ambulance cannot drive up to the entrance, and a stretcher cannot be wheeled from triage to the operating room or the wards. Our wonderful building, well designed and lovingly constructed in 1963, dedicated by the first President of Kenya, is in need of major reconfiguration to meet the demands of a 21st century hospital.

Geoffrey Nyakang’o, our project manager, has done an amazing job of listening to the staff and representing their needs in a series of creative drawings and new floor plans. He’s been so gracious about changing a drawing in response to feedback, only to get more feedback requiring him to change it again, and again! He is adding so much value to this project by being able to translate the hospital’s needs into sensible plans for the space. We already know that some of what we are dreaming up is probably beyond our financial scope at this time, but the experience of really working to put into words — and then into drawings — what it is we feel would be “ideal” at Kaimosi Hospital has already borne so much spiritual fruit.

Stay tuned as we make the next shift, from dreaming to cost estimation. From there we plan to prioritize and begin construction planning, bidding and contracting. Pretty soon, you’ll hear demolition and construction noise in Kaimosi!

My colleagues have been a wonderful blessing to me this month. When I returned from almost two months out of the country, I found everything running smoothly in the office under the capable management of Judith Ngoya. She and Lisa Stewart had even tidied up my desk drawers and sorted my mountains of unfiled papers! What a blessing indeed!

At Colin’s strong encouragement, we have been holding weekly staff meetings in the Africa Ministries Office. The demands of our many ministries create the image of ships passing in the night. Each of us has more on our plate than we can handle, and we’ve tended to take a divide-and-conquer approach to the overall expectations of work. As a result teamwork has been something of a last priority. Colin, gifted manager that he is, has asked us to prioritize time together as a team. I am blessed our office chose to follow his direction.

Our weekly meeting consists of powerful prayer, searching scripture study, candid dialogue (even confession, repentance and forgiveness), as well as good efficient planning for the work we are doing. It feels like a fresh wind of the Spirit has blown through our office – praise God!!

If these blessings were not abundant enough, we are also thanking God for Zadock Malesi who has been hired as the new Quaker Schools Education Secretary. There are nearly 2,000 Friends schools in Kenya. The demands and opportunities for ministry each of these schools presented were more than our small staff of three could ever meet. I thank God for the generosity of British Quakers. Through their faithful stewardship we have secured funding of a full-time staff position for two years. Now all the Quaker schools in Kenya can be the shining witness to God’s transforming power. With such powerful tools on hand as the peace curriculum and the new FUM/FCK Joint Education Commission, I just know this ministry is going to do amazing things. Zadock has worked with us quite extensively as a volunteer, and we’re so blessed to have him join our staff!

I’ve been giving much thought recently how I can be a better steward of my work time and energy. I tend to feel like I am drowning in my own to-do list. My email in-box backlog is a matter of deep shame and humiliation. Through the ministry of a blog posting entitled, Inbox Zero, and a recommendation of the book, Getting Things Done, I have discovered new techniques that I hope will one day become habits. While the material presented isn’t rocket science, these techniques are helping to gain a better perspective as to how I choose what to do next in any particular moment. I’m trying to teach myself better habits, and to put all of this into prayer so that I can truly bring honor to God in each moment of my day.

  • Pamela Wood

    Dear Eden,
    Glad to have an up date on your work. I was so pleased to meet you and share worship in our group at Silver Bay. I continue to hold you in the Light and ask God’s blessings on all you do.
    Pamela Wood

  • Minga

    You are a daughter of israel raising your lantern over the garden under the Rift Valley.
    Don’t let busted tires Tire you out.

  • Holly Baldwin

    What a great report– I’m glad to hear that you are richly blessed with projects that are blossoming, and beautiful support on staff! May God’s blessings continue to shine down on your work in Kenya!

  • Paul L. Schiff

    I praise the great work performed by you & your family, numerous other workers and FUM members.

    In Light, Paul (Worcester, Mass. Meeting)

  • Phyllis J. Paulsen

    Dear Eden Grace, it was so good to read your report. Email back ups that are mounting up, are time consuming to read through; however, how you ever going to know your field-staff-report inspires those of us not on the FUM Board. Briefly I’ll say, keep up the good work. Phyllis

  • Nurse Judy Davis

    I’m pleased that you have found competent staff in Geoffrey to assist the staff at Kaimosi Hospital in planning for the future. During these processes it takes a lot of patience to move forward. I hope the hospital board is involved as well. It will be wonderful to have a building that does not leak at long last. Many blessings, Nurse Judy

  • Gretchen Castle

    Dear Eden,
    Happy birthday! Wishing you many, many blessings in your work. So good to read your report. Much love to you! Gretchen Castle, FWCC