Bernice Gatere, TWR-Kenya National Director, updated us recently on the expansion of the live SIFA FM network in Marsabit, Kenya:
"We set off on Tuesday morning, 8 March 2011 aboard a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) aircraft. We were anxious yet excited as we made the trip. In a few days we would install a live broadcast of Sifa FM in Marsabit.
"Our plane touched down round about noon. Looking through the windows we could see a shaded area where a few people stood, some with bags as if ready for a journey. As the pilot prepared to open the doors we spotted the familiar face of our partner, Pastor Chachole, who was in-charge of the station standing among the handful of people waiting outside.
"As the doors opened we were pleasantly surprised by the cool weather that greeted us as we disembarked. Our bags and some of the equipment we brought along were loaded onto a waiting vehicle and we drove into Marsabit town. We couldn't help but notice the strong winds that carried with them clouds of dust.
"The town is fairly built-up with a big grain market with local traders running shops stocked with a variety of goods and products. Marsabit has a busy motorcycle transport system which seems to be the most popular and quickest mode of transport for residents.
"We took some time to visit the villages near Marsabit town where we were welcomed with cups of tea by some of our listeners.
"They were excited to meet us and in fact sent us with greetings for their much loved station presenters. I remember our fascination when we started receiving messages and song requests scribbled on scraps of paper that the listeners wanted broadcast on the evening show.
"The listeners told us that they often gather at a central place where there is a radio, sometimes in the home of a neighbour or at a shop, and request to listen to Marsabit FM 101.1. They said Neno (Thru The Bible in Kiswahili) and Burudani (gospel music segment in Kiswahili) are among their favourite programmes on the station. It soon became clear to us that many residents of Marsabit desire to listen to the station but do not own a radio.
"Back in town we met and had a long conversation with a church leader in Marsabit, Reverend Robert Martin. He gave us a lovely story of a people who desire to learn and know about God in Marsabit. Indeed it was evident in the town which has many churches all in the same small town.
"On Sunday morning I set off for Kargi, 75KM away from Marsabit town, with Reverend Martin, his charming wife Sue and two Swiss volunteers. The children's singing and interaction with members of the church congregation was heart-warming. The women told me they have been listening to the station and wish to have a segment of the gospel in their local Rendille language. They even promised to prepare some praise and worship songs for the station which they would like recorded and played on the station. I assured them that we would plan to do the recording when possible.
"The team completed the studio set up on Monday and we all left for Nairobi at noon on Tuesday. It was touching to leave Marsabit with its loving people and our broadcast team. We believe God will uphold them and manifest His glory to Marsabit 101.1 FM listeners and the community at large."1
Published: 06 April 2011