Unsung Heroes and Heroines at Mutira Mission, Kenya (1907-2012)
As the Anglican Church of Kenya, Kirinyaga Diocese, celebrated one hundred years of missionary Christianity in August 2012, a few heroes and heroines, in their struggle to liberate people from ignorance, poverty and other forms of "miasma" facing the people, were not given attention, or were even ignored altogether. The article sets out to retrieve the oralhistories of pioneer African Christians at Mutira Mission, particularly the early professionals who became beacons of light shining brightly for the area. Among these are Thomas Meero, the pioneer African teacher, mason, carpenter, evangelist, businessman, farmer and lay church leader, Reuben Kinyua Kaara, the pioneer African nurse, laboratory technician and lay church leader, and Tabitha Karingo, the first woman to defy cultural practices that are inimical to the dignity of women. Were their struggles not worth attention? What factors contributed to their becoming makers of history in the area? What challenges did they encounter? Does the modern generation have something to learn from their pioneering roles? Did the Mau Mau war of political independence in Kenya affect the smooth running of missionary work? Such concerns inform the nature of this article. The methodology in this article relies largely on oral interviews and archival sources.