Does African Poverty Hinder Spiritual Development? You Decide

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It is Sunday morning in Kenya. The fellowship halls in down town Nairobi are vibrant. Loud music, preachers screaming their lungs out with what sounds like the gospel message. I say sounds like because it is hard to understand the words when the distorted microphones hinder the clear and pleasant words of Christ to be communicated to the soul. Rather the words are overtaken by the mind as one tries to concentrate. This however does not hinder my people from flocking into the halls and church buildings. Kenyans are a peculiar people: A good people.

The knowledge of the existence of God has been taught through generations. From tribal religious traditions to the emergence of the evangel through Christ, Kenyans are not strangers to God.

What bothers me though, is the constant rumbling that classifies Kenyan institutions as some of the most corrupt in Africa. For long, I learned to defend my republic. To make it stand like the statue of liberty representing truth, justice, and honesty. But the more I visit Kenya from Florida, and the more I interact with the system, the more I am moved away from my defense.

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Recently I was heading west on Uhuru highway from Nyayo Estate. Was driving back to my village. I decide to take a shortcut by diverting away into the Haille Selassie Avenue. Took a left turn into the avenue heading towards upper hill. Then I decided to cut into the Uhuru parkway that passes next to Afya house to connect with the Kenyatta Avenue through NSSF building. Just when I took a sharp left to climb onto the path towards Afya House, A cop on a motorcycle pulled next to me.

I stopped, rolled down the window and listened as he accused me on being on the phone. “How can I be on the phone when this car is a manual transmission, I just maneuvered from Haille, to another sharp left onto a climb?” I responded. He told me to park on the side. I did. Then his partner came. “wewe unasema hukuwa kwa simu. Kwenu ni wapi?” He asked. I think it was a joke but I took him seriously. I replied Kijabe. “Wewe ni wa Kijabe na huko hakuna sigara na pombe na watu ni wakristo. Na unasema hukuwa kwa simu?” He explained how he was a Christian and even told me which church he attends. But by the time they left me, having gotten into my car and forced me to drive them to central police station, they had asked me openly for a bribe.

I have therefore concluded that poverty forces people to abandon their faith and values. That being a Christian is tough when you have to feed your family without a good salary. That these Kenyans working for the government and getting peanuts have a harder time keeping the Christian principles than those who have enough money. Kenya’s moral degradation is to a great extent driven by poverty and NEED. Right?

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates. An EMG Consortium #HTBluff. Diaspora Messenger Contributor

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