It’s 2008, and two needs have come to my attention that I would like to bring up with you, kind zoecarnate ‘blog readers.
The first comes from Adam Walker Cleaveland of Pomomusings. A fellow classmate’s brother, Aaron Reibe, has a rare form of cancer that their insurance is refusing to pay. They need to raise $120k. Adam blogs about this (and you can donate) here and here.
The second comes from Claude Nikondeha from Amahoro Africa, an emergent friendship there. As you may be aware, Kenya has suffered massive civil unrest in the face of recent elections. I will include here the full-text of emails I’ve received from Claude, as I can’t find them anywhere online.
Let us remember Kenya, in particular, as they are amid struggles this very hour: The presidential election results of last week were very close between the incumbent Mr. Kibaki and the opposition leader, Mr. Odinga. Although Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner, irregularities in the vote count have been found, and the final outcome is in question. The election process has fueled a violent response in many parts of Kenya. More than 300 people have been killed, many houses burned, and several stores have been looted. Our dear friend and partner, Edward Simiyu, has been up dating us on the situation. You will recall that Edward works in the slums of Nairobi offering support to AIDS victims and others who are downtrodden due to poverty and the like. This is today’s email from Edward:
“10:59am. I dropped Beatrice, my wife, to work at 8.00 am this morning and she has just called to inform me that they have been asked to close the bank due to the looming showdown at Uhuru park (10.59am). She works in downtown Nairobi. I am on Valley office some 800 meters away from the planned opposition meeting and can hear gunshots and tear gas canisters intermittently. Traffic is flowing scantly and one hopes that the madness will stop so that Kenyans can go about their lives normally.
From, my direction, both ways will have to take me past Uhuru Park the rally venue in order to reach Beatrice. I asked her to find here way to the Central Police Station near the University of Nairobi where I can then pick her. A group of 6 youths who seem to have been repulsed from entering the park were walking back to Kibera and have said (Mzee,a name for a respected elderly man) told them if they are repulsed, they should go back and they shall be given vehicles to take them back to the park.
4.00pm. thankfully, we have made it home safely.
My contacts tell me that Kibera Laini Saba side is calm. I am aware though that Kibera 42; adjacent to Ngong Road is where skirmishes are going right now. I am concerned that more venting of anger may be experienced tonight with more houses being torched after the meeting aborts. I see us responding to a huge humanitarian crisis. We are in fact late for our people in Kibera and late for the over 250,000 displaced internally. No access to the slums due to tension. The Red Cross is overstretched. My thoughts go out to the churches outside Nairobi in the North Rift my home where people have taken refuge to escape ethnic cleansing without food and blankets. Road blocks have been erected along and vehicles are being stopped and people asked to produce IDs which of course betrays ethnicity. This is of course a repeat of Rwanda if we don’t stop it right now. Please pray for my beloved country.”
Let’s pray for Kenya. And let’s raise our voice in solidarity and urge our representatives to express an outrage at the behaviour of the Kenya government and issue a call for a re-count which will then help stop the killings. For more news on Kenya and other African countries, visit irinnews.org
We are in contact via e-mail, text messages and cell phone with many of our Amahoro friends in Kenya. Some of them have been pushed out of their communities, others temporally headed to Uganda for safety. If you want to help them financially in this particularly hard time as they find themselves and their families seeking refuge, not knowing when they will go back and what they will find at home, please click here to make your donation. 100% of it will go to families who need it most during these uncertain day.
Dear Amahoro Friends,
The last week has been filled with tragedy, confusion, chaos, anger, and disappointment for people across Kenya. Tens of thousands have been displaced, hundreds have lost their lives, and millions have been affected in innumerable ways. The rapid descent into chaos has shocked Kenya to the core. Seeing widespread ethic killings and the ghosts of the Rwandan genocide occurring within the Kenyan boarders is not something that we had ever dreamed possible.
We know many of you have been closely following the story in the media if you have not been living it here inside Kenya’s borders. Thankfully, both of us and our families are safe. We want to thank all of you have sent words of encouragement and expressions of concern in this difficult time. Unfortunately, many people were not as lucky.
What we would like to propose is that a caravan of vehicles drive from Nairobi to Eldoret, which has seen some of the most extreme violence and division, to deliver crucial aid of food stuffs, blankets, clothes and medicine. On the trip, we plan to stop and spend time with youth manning checkpoints on the roads who are looking for people of the opposing ethnic groups on which to take revenge. We would like to remind these youths that they are loved and that there are better ways to respond to this crisis. The two of us have committed to each driving a vehicle for the 5-7 day trip.
To have the greatest impact for people in Eldoret, we need your help. We are looking for:
People willing to make the trip with us or join/support us along the way
4WD vehicles (preferably White Land Cruisers that are known to be used in humanitarian aid responses)
We believe that this activity is just the sort of practical intervention that the church should be making at this crucial time and very much along the lines of our discussions at the last Amahoro gathering.
If you have any of those items that you would like to contribute to this mission, please contact either of us as soon as possible.
Your brothers in Christ,
Edward Simiyu & Aaron Sundsmo