Friday, January 11, 2008

Kenya Update

It seems like things have calmed down a lot, but it’s certainly not over yet. The first set of peace talks were rejected, though Kofi Annan backed by the UN may be more successful next week. Kibaki seems to be going on with business as usual, having declared the elections “final” and appointing a cabinet. He seems unwilling or unlikely to compromise. Raila Odinga has called for three more days of protests next week. So we’ll keep watching, waiting and praying for real justice to be accomplished in a way that brings peace and reconciliation.

About 600 people have been killed and 250,000 displaced. Homes, schools, churches and businesses have been destroyed. There have been lots of food and water shortages across the country. People are beginning to put their lives back together, but will be dealing with the death and destruction for some time. Some are afraid to go back to their homes. Others have no livelihood left. It will be a long road to recovery.

I think that everyone I know is okay. All but one of the kids in my host family (three of whom live in Kisumu where there was a good bit of violence and destruction) were already home for Christmas.

There are a lot of underlying issues that will need to be addressed, largely related to land and resource access. This is not something I have lots of knowledge on, because it is not as immediate an issue in the rural area where I’ve lived, but I do know that it is a significant area of tension across the country.

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