Wanjiku Ngugyi is an extraordinary woman, whom I met at the Nairobi Synagogue. I had known about her, when I visited the Abayudaya Community in Mbale, Uganda (I’ll post some photos, and describe my wonderful visit to this community in another posting). I met three children in Uganda who were Kenyan orphans, whom Wanjiku had collected funds to send them to Mbale, so that they could study at the Hadassah Infant School there, learn Hebrew, and learn the traditions and teachings of Judaism.
Wanjiku grew up Christian, daughter of one of her father’s four wives. She had lived a normal Kenyan life, working at one of the big hotels in Nairobi, living in a nice home on her own property. She has since fallen on hard times, and now lives in a small home in a slum area just outside Nairobi.
She began observing Jewish practice about 6 years ago. Her “conversion story” (she has not yet had the opportunity to officially convert, but hopes to) is similar to my own…..Christianity didn’t make sense to her. Especially the stories of Jesus (I have a deep respect for Jesus as teacher/prophet, and I admire and respect those who “believe” in him as the embodiment of the Divine – that idea just didn’t work for me).
Wanjiku has a love of Torah study, and is diligently trying to learn on her own, with a small study group of Kenyans in Nairobi.