As the outgoing patron this will be my last message to all the many children, staff, community and supporters of the Kitega Community Centre with whom I have walked over the last twenty five years or so.
And in parting, I want to say a big thank you! Thank you not only for all you have done for, and within, the Centre, but also for what you have done for me personally. As I look back over the trials, ups and downs we have had over the years, I can see how much Kitega has changed and grown beyond words to express and, likewise, how much Kitega has helped me change and grow. Yes, I may have been able to contribute in a small way but I have gained so much, much more. Sharing in the life and growth of Kitega has helped me grow spiritually and emotionally and for this I thank God who has worked through us all.
Perhaps a hint of what I mean can be seen in the names of the existing Shalom home and the Umoja house currently under construction at Kitega. Shalom a Hebrew word meaning peace, wholeness and wellbeing and Umoja a Swahili word meaning unity and being of one heart, like its sister Bantu word Ubuntu expressing ‘I am because we are’. Kitega is much more than buildings, it is the living Christian expression of what these words mean, loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
The western world has no words like Shalom and Umoja but is in desperate need of them. Wealthy and economically powerful the west may be but it is becoming an increasingly selfish, fragmented and lost society. It needs to hear what Kitega has say and share about Shalom and Umoja and my prayer as you venture into what looks to be turbulent years ahead is that Kitega will be a blessing not just to Africa but to the west as well.
My wife Jane and I are so pleased that the Kirkwood family, already well known to many of you, will be taking over and will be there alongside you in the challenges and opportunities that await you in the future years.
Blessings, Shalom and Umoja!
Nicky King, Shalom, Pitlochry, Scotland