I hope the month of February went ok with you. My February 2020 newsletter is focused on the cemetery where some of the missionaries who either worked or visited Kaimosi Friends Mission were buried. It is one place that is rarely mentioned in our day to day conversation among the African Quakers. It has been three years since a section of the FTC faculty, staff, and students visited the site to clean the hallowed grounds. We did the same in mid-February 2020. On our count, there were 11 visible tombstones, but a majority of them are unknown because the brass plates bearing their names were pulled off by unknown people for unknown reasons. I requested Alfred Wasike who is the General Secretary of Friends Church of Uganda, currently serving as FTC Director of Information, also a Bachelor of Theology degree student to do a story on our missionaries that lie in this cemetery.
QUAKERISM IN AFRICA.
On a heavily forested knoll in our neighbourhood in Kaimosi Mission are graves in which an unknown number of Quaker Missionaries both African and those beyond, especially American and European are buried.
In this forest lie the remains of people like Rachel Chilson, Bertha Faust, and William Wendte. Each of them selflessly helped in the establishment of the Kaimosi Mission particularly the Friends Theological College Kaimosi and beyond and laid down their lives for the Church.
According to Thomas Lungaho, former Executive Secretary of the East Africa YM of Friends in a biography of his father, “DAUDI LUNG’AHO: An African Missionary,” (page 11) “Although the work seemed to go well, Daudi remembered an incident that took place when the Nandi were becoming troublesome to the government and a contingent of soldiers had to be stationed at Kaimosi. A young American called William Wendte came to visit Kaimosi. This man, with one soldier who had been left on the Mission Station, heard shooting in the region of Jeptulu and decided to go and restore peace. He and the soldier never came back – they were found murdered by Nandi warriors. William Wendte’s body was buried in the Mission Cemetery (Madubwi). The incident caused the government to react ruthlessly.
Daudi was born in 1872 at Madioli east of Lirhanda. He was looking after horses at a British government post at Kaptum, a few miles beyond Kapsabet. Three months later, he saw some white strangers who had come to visit the government officials. After they had gone away, he wanted to know who these men were and why they had come. He was told by the house servant (a person from Uganda) that they were missionaries from America. They had come to begin mission work at a place called Kaimosi among the Tiriki people. They had come to Kaptum to look for people who knew Kiswahili to help them in this task.
According to a “PROGRAMME FOR LATE RACHEL CHILSON AT THE FRIENDS MISSION KAIMOSI Saturday 23rd March 1996,” Rachel was born on 9th February 1910 at Kaimosi. She was the second in the family. After her basic education of secondary school, in 1928 she went to Friends University in Wichita, Kansas where she graduated in 1932. In 1933 she went to Burundi together with her parents and stayed there until 1942. In 1939 her father died and in 1942 she went to the USA with her mother.
In 1944 she came back to Kenya where she worked with the Kenyan government in the Department of Social Services particularly with the Muslim women at the coast for many years and also Mandeleo of Women at Kericho. She retired in 1965 from the government. In 1968 she moved to Nakuru and worked with the World Gospel Mission and was stationed at Bethany Bookshop until 1982 where she retired to start XTN Video in 1983. She broke her hand in July 1985. Later she was taken to Nanyuki Cottage Hospital on September 19, 1995, where she died on March 13, 1996.
Bertha Faust left a legacy. Below is one of her drawings found spotted on the wall of the FTC library.