Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kenya Update


"Dear Friends and Family

It has been a while since we have written and given you an update of life here for us at the moment. We have enjoyed the calm of the past couple of weeks and the sense of normality, even if things are really far from being normal. We have even been making a few plans for the future – i.e. thinking about ideas for reaching out into the local community especially to those directly affected by the crisis and who have lost everything; how we can be used as an instrument for bringing about some form of reconciliation; and how we can kickstart our youth programme again. We will fill you in with more details as these ideas become a more practical reality. It is a little hard to make too many concrete plans right now, partly because we ourselves feel that we are just emerging from quite a traumatic experience and partly because we don't know whether the country will be stable enough to put many things into practice. However, we feel it's important to at least begin to work something out, otherwise we just stagnate and become depressed.

The headline at the start of this week was 'Kofi Annan suspends talks'. It looks as though he has become completely fed up with the people at the top and those involved in the mediation process – and who can blame him? Now, we think that things have really reached a critical stage. We have heard alarming reports (which have been independently verified and also reported in the UK's Telegraph newspaper) about militias building up and gathering strength in various parts of the country, including Nakuru and Naivasha where the Mungiki have returned (if they ever left). Even more worrying, the director of the Kenya Human Rights commission has stated that these militias are now apparently trying to gain access to conventional arms. In other words, instead of using bows and arrows and machetes, which are deadly enough, they are trying to get hold of guns.

A close Kenyan friend of ours who we have much respect for believes that civil war is virtually inevitable, even if things are signed in Nairobi. He believes the leaders have allowed the situation to go too far. I'm trying not to be alarmist here and it's hard to imagine this especially after the period of relative calm that we are just going through. However, we can't help but think that it would not take much (the collapse of the talks for example) for it all to ignite here again.

But, we believe in a powerful God and to be honest He is really the only one now who can intervene and do something to bring a lasting peace to Kenya. Please pray with us – for resolution to the political problems and for peace to return to the country and that reconciliation can take place among the people. Kenya desperately needs our prayers right now.


Breaking News
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In our ongoing plans for the future we have continued work on our new classrooms. Today we poured the concrete slab. We wanted to pour the whole slab in one go as it would make the building much stronger (important as we do have earthquakes). Unfortunately while ***** was in town and I was driving the kids home after school we got a frantic call to come back to the centre. The workers had all downed their tools and refused to finish the remaining quarter of the slab. There were obviously some ring leaders creating the problems.

Although we were able to isolate 11 primary trouble makers, we were unable to finish the slab. We pray we can avoid this happening again tomorrow. We've been told that this happens a lot in ****** though we've been mostly protected from experiencing this in the past.

I was particularly worried when I discovered that this particular team of labourers had all come from one of the nearby areas of town which had been very badly hit by the violence. We heard from some of our own workers later that many of them had been directly involved in the violence and had assisted the Mungiki in their exploits. This was apparently a major subject of conversation as they worked. Early in the day they expressed outrage that there was a Luo working amongst them. Fortunately ****** was able to defuse the situation when he explained, although he wasn't a Kikuyu, neither was he a Luo.

This information did not come as a surprise to me. This morning when I went up to see the progression of the work, the looks I got from a number of the labourers were not what I have come to expect from Kenyans. A few addressed me, not in Swahili as I would have expected in the past, but in Kikuyu. They were clearly making a point so what they said was irrelevant. I was SO glad for ******** wisdom, that she told our Luo teacher and Kalengin cook to keep a low profile today.

Thank you and God bless.

3 comments:

novice said...

It's kind of hard to wrap my mind around the kind of animosity between tribes that you see in these posts.

It reminds me somewhat of what I saw in the Balkans - I couldn't tell the difference between Serbs, Croats, Slavs, etc, and as a westerner it was hard to understand grudges that dated back to the Ottoman Empire.

The reason I mention it is this quote from the post -

"But, we believe in a powerful God and to be honest He is really the only one now who can intervene and do something to bring a lasting peace to Kenya. Please pray with us – for resolution to the political problems and for peace to return to the country and that reconciliation can take place among the people. Kenya desperately needs our prayers right now."

I've seen the effects of Balkan Christians coming together. God is accomplishing things there that no peace process ever could. Not to discount the peace processes - but God is in the business of reconciliation, and I wanted to just reinforce what it said in that post - our prayers for Kenya aren't just last-ditch hopeful thinking, it's God who can bring about that kind of change.

Jean said...

Any other updates?
How is everything this week?

SoulPastor said...

I have not heard anything lately!
I will let you know!