Presenting the Peace Wreath
Talking to Baba Maina
Baba Maina lives in Nairobi where he owns and runs a grocery store. He spent his youth
on his father's farm in the Muranga District, and he still owns a potion of the six-acre
family farm. It was there that he hosted some members of our group during our rural
Baba Maina is a highly respected elder in Muranga. Although he grew up under the
British colonial rule, he is a man with strong ties to his native Kikuyu tradition. Still,
he chooses western ways and generally wears a suit and tie, even when at his country home.
At night, we would sit around the fire and talk about Kikuyu history and tradition.
Baba Maina is a very proud man who is changing with the times and moving forward. Yet, he
remembers and respects the old ways.
I find it difficult to explain why I respect someone so deeply when I only knew him
for a short while. Baba Maina was our host in Muranga. I remember whispering to my friend
when I first saw him: I like that man, his smile is honest and loving.
He truly touched my heart when we gave him one of the Peace Wreaths that we had
brought with us to Kenya. His face flushed with appreciation as he explained how much the
wreath meant to his village. Although we had just met, Baba Maina brought us into his home
and told us: Whatever I have is yours; let my home be your home. What a
Mama Maina welcomed us to her village
I discovered a great value in living simply and being close to the
I wish that all those people who donated money to me could have been there to see Baba
Maina hold up his community's Peace Wreath with such great pride. I wish that everyone
could have seen the two Muranga mothers as they eagerly read all the messages that we
brought with us. They smiled happily, and I could tell that the two of them could feel the
love that the Wreaths carried.
It brings me joy to realize that these colorful Peace Wreaths will remain in Kenya
with all our friends, even though we will have to return home.
Goodbye to the Kandara
My great grandmother came out of her hut to greet me as I was leaving Muranga. She
clasped my hand and grinned her toothless smile. She spoke to me in her tribal language,
Kikuyu, with her shining black eyes staring into my blue ones.
Her granddaughter translated for me: You are welcome in my home. You be free and
happy here. You are so kind. Come again. Good-bye. You are always welcome in my
family. I was struck by her friendliness. I had never met her before, yet she was so
kind and accepting. I felt like I was part of her family.