Last night Kibaki named his cabinet, mostly filled with appointees from his inner circle. Shortly thereafter we got an SMS from Eden, who is in Kisumu, saying she was seeing fires and hearing gunshots. We had planned to go to Kakamega today, but then this made us doubtful. When morning came, we called Malesi and Getry and both said that Kakamega was calm. So we went to Kakamega and back. The matatu price was double what we usually pay. Matatus were few and very crowded. The drivers and conductors were all Luhya or Kalenjins--ie, no Kikuyu. People, including the conductors, were much more subdued than before as there was not much hassling even with the high fares.
We saw a number of burned houses and shops on our way in and a very large store next to the bus station which was completely burned out. The lines at the banks were very long and we could not get all the funds we wanted, but enough for now. We were also able to buy 5,000/- of calling cards at the regular price. This will last us awhile.
I had a good meeting with the Friends for Peace and Community Development folks--Malesi, Getry, Janet, and Shamala. We were looking at our short term and longer term strategies. It seems that they will meet with the boda-boda (bicycle taxi) drivers on Friday. You may recall from earlier reports that it is the boda-boda who were responsible for much of the violence in Kakamega. FPCD plan for this to be a listening session to hear what they have to say. I will be very interested to see what is learned.
We bought goods for Lumakanda Church committee to take to the School tomorrow. Fortunately we found Alfred Machayo in town and he carried the goods back to our house in his station wagon. We purchased soap, salt, cooking oil, and rice.
I got and read my first newspaper since Dec 28 and we bought two loaves of Kenyan bread. Bread, calling cards, and a newspaper--what a wonderful life!
David Zarembka, Coordinator
African Great Lakes Initiative/ Friends Peace Teams