Effatha and Betania

The first L'Arche house in Kenya is called Effatha which, in Aramaic, means “open up” or “be opened.” “Effatha” is a sacred word in both the Christian and Muslim religions. In Christianity, Jesus uses this word while restoring a deaf man’s hearing. He touches the deaf man’s ears and utters “Effatha” (Mark 7: 34). In Islam, Al-Fatiha (which is Arabic for Effatha) is the first chapter of the Qur’an and is a prayer asking God for guidance and mercy (Q. 1, Al-Fatiha, 1-7). The local community hopes that, with God’s mercy and guidance, L’Arche will help them to open up their hearts and hands, their eyes and ears to the gifts and needs of people with intellectual disabilities.

betania

The second L'Arche house is called Betania. In the gospel of John, we encounter a village Betania. Betania means a "House of the poor". It is located about 2 kilometers to the east of Jerusalem on the South-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. It is recorded in the New Testament as the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Events taking place in Betania portray the house we dream of, a community based on service and love. Every person is valued for who they are but not what they are able to do. In the house of poor, a supper is prepared in honour of Jesus, a very expensive perfume of pure natrd is used to anoint the feet of Jesus and a place that was before filled with bad smell of the death of Lazarus is now full of fragrance.