Sunday, January 6, 2008

Report 10 part 2 - Jan 6

January 6

Dear All,

Jodi Richmond (temporary Head of Friends Theological College, now in Nairobi) sent my wife an SMS asking us if anyone was reacting in a Christian way to the chaos occurring now in Kenya.

We went to our Friends Church today; as we always do when we are in town. At first there was almost no mention of the conflicts whirling around us, but when the preacher for today, Daniel, gave his sermon, he based it on Hosea 14:1 "Come back, O Israel, to the Lord your God; for your sins have caused you to stumble." One of his main points was that Kenyans have to ask for forgiveness for what is engulfing the country. After the offering, I asked the Clerk if I could address the congregation on peace and reconciliation and he agreed. So I gave about a five minute talk in Swahili indicating that our hands were God's hands and that we could show our Christian/Friends concern for peace on earth by responding to help the displaced people who were in the school. They immediately conducted a second offering, collected 1208/- (a little less than $20) and gave it to me. After the service, I asked to meet with the church leaders and they set up a committee of six people including the youth and the women to develop a plan for how the church can be of assistance. We will meet soon.

At the end of the first offering a woman was asked to say the prayer of thanks as is customary. I learned later that she is hiding a Kikuyu woman in her house. The woman was just giving birth on Sunday evening when the chaos began so this woman had her stay in her house with the new-born. If the rioters find out that she is harboring a Kikuyu, they will burn her house down.

Desmond Tutu came to Kenya, constructively met with both sides and THEN LEFT THE COUNTRY!!! I was soooooo disappointed.

While the reports on the radio say that things are getting back to normal, it doesn't seem that way here. Getry came from Lubao to Florence's house and reported at the junction of the Kakamega-Webuye and Eldoret-Webuye road, her vehicle was pelted with rocks. Keffer Mbale who lives in Kipkarren River reported that last night his next door neighbor's house was burned down.

Ray Downing and Janice Armstrong, Mennonite doctors who used to work at Lugulu Friends Hospital nearby, are now doctors at Webuye Hospital. They contacted me through email and SMS so I have their contact information. If we ever get to Webuye (not trying tomorrow after Getry's report of rock throwing) we will meet them. They had received my previous reports and confirmed that on Thursday night four patients were brought to Webuye Hospital from our hospital with gunshot wounds (i.e., they were looters shot by the police). One died.

Yesterday evening I went on my usual evening walk. At the school I found that the Red Cross had brought two trucks with 110 bags of maize (corn) and beans. I estimate that this will be enough for about a week to ten days. But the camp Red Cross coordinator told me that there was no cooking oil, salt, sugar, toilet paper, hand or washing soap, and many other items. There was also a shortage of clothes since many people had run away in the middle of the night with only what they had on. I remember that the Lubao workcampers had brought some children’s clothing last summer and that some of it still was at the Peace Center. I called Getry and asked her to bring what she could and she has done so and taken them to Florence's house. Now I just have to figure out how to get it from Florence's house to ours.

In the meeting after church I opened up my calendar book and saw that I had 500/- of airtime that I had forgotten all about. Was I annoyed with myself! The 500/- of airtime that Dawn A sent me a few days ago finally arrived. She has sent a second 500/- and I expect it will reach me tomorrow. Do I feel wealthy! I even wasted a little of it looking at the internet news on Kenya.

In that internet news, I found that Lugari District had the second to highest number (after Eldoret) of IDP's 18,200. I also heard on BBC a report that Luo are also being attacked in Eldoret and are walking through back roads to Nyanza Province (which would take at least a week, I would think). Otherwise the Kenyan news on BBC has become old news and not much is being reported.

Dave Z

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