About Us

Our History

The beginning of Marafiki (meaning friends in Swahili) was the inspiration of Retha McCutchen, retired General Secretary of Friends United Meeting. When Retha retired from FUM in 2006, her desire was to continue supporting viable mission work through a non-profit organization. As a result, Marafiki was born.  A number of like-minded friends caught her vision and joined Retha on the board of directors. Since its inception, Marafiki has supported mission efforts in Africa, Ramallah, and the US.

Some of our past projects have included:

  • Water for the Turkana region of Kenya
  • Water filtration systems for Kenya
  • Educational trips to Israel/Palestine
  • Educator exchange initiatives
  • Cross-cultural ministry programs

All of the board members have been active in mission and service work throughout their lives. We care deeply for the needs of the world and our participation with Marafiki projects provides a way to address some of those needs.

Marafiki Board Members

Eloise Hockett, Newberg, OR; President:

  • Eloise currently serves as a Professor of Education in the College of Education at George Fox University in Newberg, OR. Since 2009, Eloise has been the lead team member from George Fox in a collaborative effort with Kenyan Quaker leaders to develop and implement a peace curriculum for the Quaker secondary schools in Kenya. She currently leads service-learning trips to western Kenya for education and health care initiatives in rural areas. Eloise is passionate about education initiatives in Kenya, especially for girls and women.

Retha McCutchen, Portland, OR; Vice-president and Founder:

  • Retha has spent over 35 years in Friends ministry, including Northwest Yearly Meeting, Ramallah Friends School, and Friends United Meeting. Since Retha’s retirement in 2006, she continues to lead Marafiki initiatives, support other missions projects, and volunteer her time serving others.

Linda Samek; Sublimity, Oregon; Treasurer

Rhonda McCutchen; Portland OR; Secretary

Brent McKinney; Ararat, NC

John Muhanji; Kisumu, Kenya

Johan Maurer, Elektrostal, Russia

Marta Sears, Newberg, OR