|January 6 We have returned to Kakamega today (Sunday),
although I have some misgivings
about doing so. We had spent six days in Nairobi waiting for flights to
resume and then hoping for space during the daylight. The GSU (paramilitary
police) were present in great force both in Uhuru Park (about a quarter mile
from where we stayed and where rallies were planned) and in the two large
slums. The latter were where most of the problems occurred. The worst
nightmare was that the protesters would break out of the slums and march on
State House where the President was holed up. Since we were not far from
State House we did not see many signs of trouble. Shops reopened and
yesterday the city buses began to run again although there was little road
Things are a lot quieter now & the army has got the thugs & road blocks
under control on main routes. Vehicles & fuel are beginning to move.
However, Kibaki is still refusing to relinquish the presidency despite the
fact that the counting was so flawed. Most people want an interim govt & new
presidential elections but Kibaki will only consider a coalition. (with him
still as pres.) At least that is a step forward from the earlier days.
There is a massive rally planned for next Tuesday in Nairobi and people seem
to think that will be the make or break point.
We flew to Kisumu at noon today (still no fuel, few businesses open, burned
out cars and buildings along the way) and drove to Kakamega with a GSU
(police) escort. In Kakamega 2,500 Kikuyu (Kibaki & his advisors are Kikuyu)
are camping at the police station (quite a large complex of offices &
housing) They have no food, no water and no sanitation.
Our police escort is a Kalenjinn (the tribe where the church and refugees
were burned a few days ago) He said the Kalenjinn are importing guns from
Somalia ready to fight the Kikuyu. He felt Odinga is the rightful president
and if he is not allowed to hold his rally & if the negotiations stall, then
he should march on State House and take it over. What a disaster that would
So what do we plan to do? We are registered with the Canadian High
Commission. We intend to pack a 'get out of town' bag together with our
travel documents and hope we never have to use it.
Tomorrow we will hunt for the scarce diesel fuel to fill our tank. The
Uganda border is two hours away, although it was closed at one point because
of the thousands of refugees that poured across. Whether it's open or not,
we can't reach it without fuel.
I also intend to find a way of channelling some money to the people who are
refugees in their own country. I'm still not sure if it's best to contribute
to the many appeals country wide or find a way of helping in this community.
Either would be good.
We want to thank everyone for their messages of concern. We are safe and in
no danger unless we get caught in the crossfire (highly unlikely) We have
food, water and good friends in the community. Keep praying for this
country. The Kenyans we know are shattered by what has happened and are
ready to do almost anything to stop the violence. They are generally good
people with good hearts. Many are relying on their strong faith to pull them
through. We are hoping and praying that reason will prevail next week and
that the negotiators will build on what Archbishop Tutu and the other
Western officials have offered.
|January 8 We appreciate the concern of all our friends.
We received a message today
from the Can High Commission still advising caution. Two places (a business
complex and a university hostel) were burnt on Sat & Sun evenings
respectively in Kakamega.
Today the proposed rallies were called off. All is calm & peaceful in town.
We have our 'get out of town' bag packed and we lined up to fill our gas
Kenyans just can't believe this has happened but all those we know are
determined it should stop & serious changes take place on the political
|January 9 I fully realise how many demands you have on
your generosity, but am sending this to all those close to us. The vicar
of our church has just been to see us with one of our parishioners who is
a Kikuyu. He is living as a refugee with all his family, having lost his
business to arson and also the student hostel I mentioned. There are still
1,000 people sheltering in the police compound. What touched me was that
Justin, the victim of such violence, was seeking relief not for himself
but for the others who are even worse off than he is. There is one whole
village taking refuge. They suffered a landslide and then all their houses
were burned. (A friend has told us that in the tradition houses are sacred
and if you burn a house you will go mad. )
We gave 10,000 shillings (about $150) to buy staples. Food prices have increased and no warehouses are open, so we cannot buy wholesale. If you can send anything at all it would be wonderful. A small amount will still go a long way. (Yesterday I bought two full bags of staples - infant food, maize flour, cooking fat, sugar, tea, soap, jam, bread- for under $20) We have
The problems were in Nairobi but also in Eldoret (where the people were
burned inside a church) and here in Western Province. It's quite complex but
the destruction has been wicked, aimed mainly at those in the Kikuyu tribe
to which Pres. Kibaki and most of his advisors belong. There are 42 tribes
but those causing problems are only three or four.
I do on line banking so can receive any donations through an Interac
transfer and assist the people in our immediate community. A cheque to my
home address is also possible. Just let me know and I will advance the
money. Of course, the Kenyan Red Cross is helping country wide and seeking
donations if that is what you prefer.
If you cannot contribute anything but your prayers, I accept those with
Things are not very good. The two leaders have met but we don't have assurance that Kofi Annan will be accepted by the 'president'. There is still a lot of posturing & still burnings, lootings and killings. Thousands have lost their jobs & businesses. It could explode. We can't understand why the 'government's doesn't see that
All the aid agencies (Peace Corps, VSO etc) have pulled their people out. The Canadian ones here likewise.
Since we're not with an agency we are still here, but in touch with the High Commission. Our bag is packed & our travel documents to hand.