January 29, 2008
I am feeling very discouraged.
Over the weekend (which now seems so far in the past) I was at the Quaker
Leadership Peace Conference in Kakamega. If you would like to see the
documents from the conference, please ask Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by reply email. [Note: you have received the two documents pasted
into one of these emails dated 1/27. If you would like the documents
as an attachment then contact me, Dawn.]
It was an excellent gathering. Almost every yearly meeting and Quaker
organization sent their representative(s). There is no doubt that Quakers
in Kenya will now give prominence to the Peace Testimony in this time
of chaos, destruction, and death. The participants were very concerned
about the situation and serious in their efforts to respond to Kenyans,
to Christians, and to all Quakers. They affirmed that the Quakers needed
to be neutral in the political situation. I was surprised to find that
I was appointed to the Coordinating Committee for current and long-term
actions since Gladys and I played a rather quiet role during the conference.
But AVP is on everyone's lips. Getry Agizah, the AVP coordinator, was
also put on the committee, along with Hezron Masitsa (AVP coordinator
in Nairobi). The committee is supposed to meet in Kakamega on Friday
but who knows if we will be able to travel.
On the way to the conference those who took the bus through Nakuru saw
the Total gas station on fire. This was the beginning of major fighting
in Nakuru which later spread to Naivasha and then on Monday to western
Kenya. This morning on the BBC news, I heard the spokesman for the Kenya
Police say that everything is calm now, while the next report was the
BBC reporter in Kisumu talking about all the tires burning, total lack
of movement, roads cut, etc. Is the Kenyan Government in the same country
that I am in?
I was going to report some news from last week when my laptop crashed.
Kaimosi (the major Quaker center in western Kenya) has been quiet as
I have reported before. It is along the boundary between the Tiriki (a
Luhya group) and the Nandi (a Kalenjin group). But on Wednesday someone
stole a cow; the other group retaliated by burning some houses, including
the kiosks by the road leading into Kaimosi, and everything got out of
control. Six people were killed and at least 70 houses were burnt. Kaimosi
Hospital was receiving lots of people with cuts from machetes, arrows
stuck in people's bodies, and other injuries from the violence. There
is absolutely no political explanation for this violence since both of
these groups voted overwhelming for ODM, the opposition party.
Yesterday Gladys told me that one of her relatives was going to Eldoret
to take another relative who had a broken leg. When they reached Turbo
he was forced to show his ID card (by name, people can tell he is not
a Kikuyu). He put his relative on the side of the road while he was forced
to dig up the road until he got tired. He was then required to return
to Lumakanda with the relative with the broken leg rather than proceed
on to Eldoret.
Only eight people out of 40 showed up at the listening session in Kisumu
yesterday and they were distracted by the events going on around them.
We have cancelled the workshops for today. Otherwise the Sunset Hotel
where the workshops are taking place and the facilitators are staying
is quite safe and they have not experienced any violence nearby.
We were supposed to go to Kaimosi tomorrow to talk to the Friends Theological
College students about organizing AVP workshops in their home churches
during the April vacation, but we have put this off until next week.
We have been making a weekly delivery to the Lumakanda IDP's now living
in Turbo, but I don't see how we can do it this week. Florence Machayo
who lives only about 5 miles from us wants to have a meeting tomorrow
of all the AVP coordinators and others involved in peace work in Lugari
District, but I don't know if Gladys and I will be able to go even that
So you can see why I am so discouraged.
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