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Harambee

One of the Kamba, Kenya proverbs says, ?One finger cannot kill a louse.? This saying applies to spiritual and social aspects of our lives.

When Kenya was colonized by Britain, the indigenous communities pulled their meager resources together and built their own schools, hospitals and churches. People contributed whatever they could; hence, the development of the principles of self-reliance within communities or regions.

When the country received its independence, self-help projects mushroomed under the broader umbrella of Harambee, which literally means ?Let?s pull together? in Kiswahili. With the spirit of Harambee, less fortunate families had their children join costly schools, living standards were improved within villages and people became less dependent on government handouts.

The spirit of pulling together is an old tradition that is rooted in many cultures. A good example is when Joshua was leading the battle against Amalek (Exodus 18:8-16). While the battle was going on, Moses held his hands up. When Moses?s hands were up, Israel prevailed. When his hands were down, Amalek prevailed. To keep Israel winning, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for Moses to sit on, and each held up one of his hands. They held his hands up until Israel won the battle.

We daily fight ?battles? that require us to struggle. There are spiritual battle fields that require prayer and fasting. Members of the body of Christ are hurting. Illnesses, need for spiritual growth, backsliding loved ones and strivings within the house of God all call for consolidated efforts. Prayer is a weapon that is ?in our hands?. Call or visit a loved one; that may be the beginning of that person?s victory. Your gift could be in giving; do it with joy. Perhaps you teach Sunday school; that is your portion in the Harambee spirit.

Families can?t withstand the social pressures of our times unless each member participates voluntarily. Statistics indicate that 70% of prison inmates grew up in homes where the father was absent. Praying and playing together is the glue that keeps vibrant families together. Since economic dynamics have relegated both parents to the workforce, ?pulling together? in house chores could help stop some families from becoming statistics. Communicating with open minds and forgiving hearts are key elements in ?pulling together?.

The challenges that face today?s youth are unprecedented. Teen pregnancy, use of illegal drugs, school drop-out, disrespect for parents and adults in general, lack of focus and diminished life goals have increased. No one could expect teachers alone to nourish our youth with the knowledge and moral value needed in the workplace. Youth is vulnerable to the attractions they are bombarded with by the media and their peers. As adults, we need Harambee to save our youth, families, future and communities.

One tool can help in our Harambee. It is shared vision. Our shared vision must incorporate our individual purposes on earth, individual goals for spiritual growth and aspirations for good health and prosperity.

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