Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kenya Update

So, it is summer and I will be a little late posting my updates...but keep the replies coming!

So, is one of two emails from our 'friends' in Kenya.

Dear Friends and Family,

Shortly after 06:00 AM this morning my mobile phone rang. "Of all the…!" Why do people always insist on calling us so early? There's no such thing as office hours. We get phone calls at any time of day or night. It gets rather tiring. So I turned my phone off – which in this case happened to be the wrong thing to do. But I only found out about that this evening.

I was just returning ******, (a teacher), when the chairman of the.... refugee camp came up and told me what had happened at the other refugee camp. All of the inhabitants of the Kedong camp – the one set up by the flower farms for many of their employees – were supposed to have left last weekend. We had been to the camp last week to give out some clothes to some of the more desperate souls still there. On Monday I went to see what was happening and found a few tents remaining, about 100 people. I spoke to the camp chairman, and he told me that those still in the camp had nowhere to go. None of them had a job and all of their businesses had been destroyed. Nor did they have anywhere to go in their tribal ancestral homeland.

That all changed today. The camp inhabitants had a rude awakening when the police and DO (District Officer) showed up at 0430 this morning to throw them out. This wasn't just a courtesy call. The police meant business. They went from tent to tent, tore them out of the ground, and threw the people's meagre possessions about, indifferent to what was damaged or destroyed. In the process one little boy's arm was broken. But that didn't stop the police. In the end everybody was thrown out of the camp and out onto the road. There they were left, to fend for themselves.

That's when ****** tried to call me. The news was all the more shocking as we know some of the people who were involved in the attack. ****** himself has expressed the desire to join one of the courses we are running here at the centre for the displaced people from the camps. He just needed to sort out first what he was going to do, where he was going to live.

By the time I heard what had happened it was already dark – too dangerous for me to be travelling about. I needed to leave the ***** camp and get back to the centre. I'll head down to the other camp first thing tomorrow morning to see if there is anything we can do. But for now the refugees will have to find a place beside the road to sleep. Some will now be taken to their tribal ancestral homes where they will be "dumped" (their words, not mine). Others are still waiting to find out what other options they may have.

The displaced who are living in the other camp in ****** are now all terrified. They fear that the police will come and do the same thing to them. And, like the stragglers at Kedong, they too feel they have nowhere to go. But the government is desperate to close the camps. As long as people are in these camps it shows that there is a problem.

On another note, there is a cholera outbreak in our area, from Naivasha to Nakuru. The news reports that 4 people died today in Naivasha and more than 50 have been admitted into hospital. It's all the more worrying as there is a large open sewerage leak in one part of town! The stink is bad enough. But now with cholera in town, it's downright worrying!

This week a couple from our church, good friends, were attacked by four thugs (one with a gun). Fortunately they were able to get away from the carjackers. Our friend's arm was quite badly cut by the flying glass from a broken window but they were otherwise okay. Praying for God's protection is a very real and necessary part of our lives here!

And so our work continues. Thank you for thinking of us and remembering us in your prayers.

God bless

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