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The land

Kenya lies astride the equator, on the east coast of Africa. It is a land of great contrasts, rising from sandy costal beaches to the snow-clad summit of Mount Kenya, from which the country gets its name. This extinct volcano is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and the second highest in Africa at 17,058 feet or 5,199 metres.

The People

The country is over twice the size of the United Kingdom, but has only half its population. Its principal port is Mombasa and its capital is Nairobi, which has a population of nearly 2 million.

Almost the whole population of Kenya is of African origin, with small groups of Arabs at the coast, Asians in the towns, and Europeans, also mainly in the towns. There are seventy different African tribal groups divided by language and culture. The official languages are Swahili and English. The largest tribes are the Kikuyu in the central highlands, and the Luhya and the Luo in Western Kenya.

Kenya has a high rate of population increase at 2.9% per year. Over half the population is under 15 years of age, with only 3% of the population over 60. Over 80% of the people live in rural areas.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is widespread. It is estimated that two and a half million people are living with the disease, and 890,000 children have been orphaned as a result.

The Economy

Kenya has few natural minerals. Agriculture is the mainstay of its economy. The chief cash crops are coffee, tea, sisal, and sugar. Staple crops include maize, millet, peas, beans, bananas, and tropical fruits. Stock raising for the supply of milk and meat is important. Manufacturing industries were introduced after World War 2 and products include meat and fish preparation, chemicals and petrol- refining, textiles and vehicle assembly. In the rural areas, most African families live on their own small-holdings or farms, where they mostly support and feed themselves by subsistence farming.

The unit of currency is the Kenyan shilling, divided into one hundred cents. One hundred Kenyan shillings are worth less than one pound sterling.

Christian Mission      

In 1891 Scottish missionaries landed in Mombasa and then proceeded inland to open a station at Kibwezi, which is midway between Mombasa and Nairobi. In 1898 they moved to Kikuyu, 15 miles west of Nairobi. In 1908 they opened another station at Tumutumu, just south of Mount Kenya, and then in 1916, established Choria on the eastern slopes of the same mountain. At each of these places, the Church of Scotland established evangelistic, educational, and medical work.

Other missionary societies followed in their wake further up-country and in due course, local African Churches were established by all these missions. The Church which arose following the work of these Church of Scotland missionaries was called the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).

The Presbyterian Church of East Africa

In 1956 the PCEA became independent of the Church of Scotland. It now has its own General Assembly with a Moderator who serves for three years. The assembly is responsible for the administration of the Church, its schools and its hospitals.

The PCEA ordained ministry is now fully Africanised, but the Church of Scotland continues to provide and support educational and medical staff for PCEA institutions, as they are requested.

Kenya’s Main Religions -    Christian                      66%

                                      Muslim                           6%

                                      African traditional       28%