KASEA Annual Seminar in Nakuru/Kenya from 13th to 16th July, 2023

|   Afrika, Alumni, Aktuelles, Seminare, Veranstaltungen, Reisen

The largest KAAD seminar within the Africa Department brings together current and former scholars from three East African countries every year.

The venue also changes every year between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In 2023 it was again the turn of the Kenyan chapter of KASEA (KAAD Association of Scholars from East Africa) to take on the role of the host. 56 members of KASEA, current scholars and alumni met at St. Mary's Catholic Pastoral Centre in Nakuru, the largest city of the Kenyan Rift Valley. The head of the Africa Department at KAAD, Dr. Marko Kuhn, took part in the seminar and held numerous one-on-one talks with current In-country scholars to follow-up on their progress of master studies in Nairobi and also to learn about those scholars, who have recently returned from Germany after completing their PhD-studies. The seminar was supported by Fr. Ben Didacus Opiyo from the Archdiocese of Kisumu, the spiritual advisor for KASEA's “Western Kenya Group”.

The theme of the seminar was “Integrating the Minorities – Theological, Pastoral and Social Considerations”. The educationalist and KAAD alumna Dr. Caroline Kinuthia (doctorate with KAAD scholarship at the University of Hanover) dealt with the topic of integration/inclusion of people with disabilities in her presentation. A presentation about the integration of ethnic minorities in East Africa was held by KAAD alumnus Did Dominic Elema (master's degree in law with KAAD scholarship at the University of Nairobi), who himself comes from the much marginalized Marsabit County in the very north of Kenya. After the presentations, those affected spoke about their own experiences as part of the respective minority. In addition to Did Dominic Elema, several KAAD-scholars from the Maasai community were able to talk about marginalization in everyday life as well as through national guidelines. Duncan Onyango Ouma, who was sponsored by the Society of KASEA (scholarship organization for Kenyan KAAD alumni) for his bachelor's degree, spoke about life as a person with disabilities. A very lively and intensive discussion unfolded on both topics, in which there was more need for discussion than the time available allowed.

The third subtopic on this complex of topics was entitled "Theological and Social perspectives on LGBTQ". The speaker for this subtopic was the JesuitFr. Odomaro Mubangizi SJ, who presented theological and pastoral aspects of dealing with homosexuals in church (and society). Again, a personally affected person, Rev. Adera Godfrey Owino, priest of the Anglican Church, spoke about his own experience of belonging to the minority group, which in many African societies faces even more discrimination than in other parts of the world. As expected, this topic chosen by the members of KASEA Kenya turned out to be a difficult one with many controversies. However, those responsible agreed that the open discussion and the pastoral and theological positioning of this inclusion issue alone was an important step that is rarely taken.

On the excursion day of the seminar, a visit to the Nakuru National Park was on the agenda, which was a very special experience for the participants due to the rich flora and fauna of the park. They also found a connection there between spirituality and creation, which could be continued in the afternoon: The group walked the Stations of the Cross in meditation on the grounds of Subukia National Shrine. The path led on steep paths through a pristine forest area, which also houses the rare Colobus monkeys. The combination of nature and meditation/prayer brought the participants up to a spring from which many pilgrims also take water home. The Holy Mass at the end of the seminar also took place in Subukia. This site holds special significance for the Catholic community in Kenya and there is a church under construction which, when completed, will be the largest place of worship in Kenya. At this place, with its grounds inviting for prayer and meditation, the KAAD network of East Africa found contemplation and peace and celebrated spiritual community and friendship.

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On the excursion to Nakuru National Park (1)

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Seminar session in St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre in Nakuru

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On the excursion to Nakuru National Park (2)

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The seminar group at Subukia National Shrine