“We are holding are cafe trio in our house, you are most welcome,” said my Norwegian friend a month back and of course I didn´t
understand what she meant. So I asked her what it was all about and she went on to explain, “My two friends and I for sometimes now, have involved ourselves in charity work as we felt the need to help the less fortunate out there. We assist especially those in refugee camps and we also support some childrens’ homes. So what we do is make sort of market in our house, invite friends and relatives to bring items for sale and stuff that they have in the house and they no longer use. We also invite people who make jewellery, paintings, woolen stuff to sell and we agree on a given percentage but basically we make most of the items. It is usually a busy month preparing for this and seeing it succeed. All the proceeds go to helping a selected group of people.”
I thought to myself, what a creative way of making money to help the less fortunate. I would also imagine generosity is a key value within the Norwegian society. This cafe sale was happening in less than a month after the TV Action that was nationwide event, raising money to save the refugees. I finally attended the cafe sale that started at 12pm until 5pm with an attendance of about 250 people who saw the 5 hour raise 80,000 NOK, (Kshs. 960,000). My friend later told me that this year´s procedings will go towards supporting Tibetan Women´s organisation called Path through HimalPartner a Norwegian Mission Organisation.
As I attended church the past one month, I heard about this event dubbed Jelemesse (Christmas Market) which is an annual event that is done in conjunction with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission and I couldn´t wait to witness it.
“Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and as we think about His birth we also remember those in need, therefore giving towards this course has been a call that all Norwegians honour and for the past years we have raised huge amounts of money towards this event” said Tobjiorn, a church attendant at Misjonshuset which is my church in Kristiansand.
The event is scheduled to start at 10am to 7pm so being a Saturday, I happen to set my alarm at 10am as I reasoned after all I have a whole day to attend the event. Three hours later, accompanied by my housemate, I set my feet in church and it is so packed. People of all ages, babies, girls, boys, husbands, wives, grandmothers and grandfathers all geared at supporting missionary work.
So much happening, food on sale from all sides, people buying and eating, people catching up, grandparents seated in different corners within the church building, church choir in the lead, with their voices amplified on the speakers placed at different corners, it is a busy day. I take a few minutes to see around and to familiarise myself with the happenings. My friends are happy to see me and volunteer to show me around.
“The main event is done thorough lottery. We have volunteers selling raffle tickets within every 30 minutes and the winners are announced before the start of the next raffle sale. Every raffle goes for either 10Krs or 20Krs (Ksh, 120 or 240).” Said one of my girlfriends. Apart from the lottery, I realise that there are also volunteers selling foodstuffs such as lappers, cakes, soft drinks, coffee, tea and many more. There is also sell of clothes such as head gears, socks, scarfs, cardigans and other woollen items. A group of women meet all year-long to knit these woollen items which are usually ready by the start of November month. Then well wishers may decide to buy and bring items to be resold during the event hence the name church market.
I am told last year the church raised over 300,000 NOK (over Ksh. 3.6 million) in a similar event. So I am curious to know how much they will raise today. I decide to participate in buying the raffle tickets which we buy in big numbers just to support a worthy course.
Many people had volunteered to do different things so I reach for Nils Arne who is also my colleague at Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK. He volunteered to make lappers, which are similar to the Kenyan pancakes. I talk to him and he volunteers to guide me on how to make the lappers and ask if I could give it a try.
“Sure, go ahead. It is very easy and you just need to take note of the colour, ensure they don´t get to dark brown,” he said. Here I was, and loving the experience, many people of course excited to see me manage make the lappers so they buy in big numbers. With each lapper going for 10Krs, at 5pm we have managed to raise 3,000 NOK (Ksh. 36,000). At the same time an announcement is made that the raffle sale had so far raised 200,000 NOK (Ksh 2.4million). With about 500 people coming in and out, volunteering to spend their money for this wonderful initiative, this is what I term as genorosity at it´s best.
“What do you think about this whole event?” I ask Nils Arne.
“I think it is good, it is a really fun way to raise money, and we need such fun especially during this dark winter season, we come together and bring our friends with us and we enjoy so much,” he said.
At 6pm I gather that the temperature outside is actually -12 and because I was not dressed for this extreme weather I decide to leave the premises without knowing how much was raised at the end of the day.
However, I manage to get the information in church today, that the 8 hour event was a success and a total of 330,000 NOK (approx. Ksh. 4 million) was raised.
This is a good initiative and it is such an easy way to contribute towards charity work and am sure to carry this back to Kenya. To all Norwegians who made the day a success, bravo and may God richly bless you as you continue reaching to the less fortunate, especially in your missionary work in Africa.