Saint Austins Parish, The Birthplace Of Coffee In Kenya
Written by MaureenK on February 5, 2022
Today we look at Saint Austin’s parish of the Holy Ghost Fathers situated in the Lavington area and also home to Saint Mary’s school and the birthplace of arabica coffee farming. The Holy Ghost fathers from France also known as Spiritans, came to Kenya hoping to establish missions, convert Africans into Christianity and end the slave trade. However, their mission along the coast was not very successful, as their fight against the slave trade led to the death of their missionaries since the Arab merchants were retaliating and few Africans joined in their mission. The Spiritans decided to relocate and moved up to Nairobi, where they negotiated for land to be allocated for them to set up their mission. The land was allocated in the Muthangari area in Lavington where the traditional gothic style structure stands with a tall protruding bell tower with a clock on it. The Spiritans opened this church to Africans to educate them and also convert them to Christianity. It took them time and there were many loops to jump through since they broke the laws which prohibited Africans from mingling with whites, however, they were not deterred and pressed on with the mission they were called to at Heart. It is in this same location that they experimented with Coffee farming owing to the success of their counterparts in Kilimanjaro and as they say, the rest is history.