Monday, January 07, 2008

Kenyan Situation Reports

Below are correspondences we have received from members at GiveMeaning who have posted fundraising projects at GiveMeaning benefiting communities in Kenya. We've asked each of our project founders to update us with what they are experiencing or their colleagues are experiencing on the ground to try and give you a perspective that might not otherwise be able to be obtained.

Because of the tribal violence, I have decided to remove any specific geographical references and any names of people mentioned in these reports. I hope to be updating this page with more reports in the coming days. These comments are infused with their own perspectives and not that of GiveMeaning or my own.

This update was received by a Kenyan-born Project Founder currently living in the US on January 3rd.

Dear Tom,
I come from Kenya, where i was born and raised. The reason i started to mobilize my friends to begin our organization [name withheld] is because i feel passionate about the plight of Kenya's children. What is happening in the Kenya is obviously unprecedented. The people of Kenya through history have been peace loving; always going about their businesses peacefully and trying to create a prosperous future through education and change. It is for this reason that they came out in large numbers to vote and exercise their democratic right, boy, they were cheated.

So many people have been displaced. Everyone i speak to in Kenya including my sisters and mother is scared. I have heard a frightened voice of my older sister, [Name withheld], an otherwise strong and courageous woman, quiver and afraid. For the first time she's of the realization that her marriage to a luo, a man she has married a number of years ago could have been a "mistake" and perhaps it might just bring death sentence to her and her entire family (something that was never a problem before). To think that her entire family could be a target is hard to fathom. Her family has lived in [location withheld] with several people of different tribal descent. Suddenly, she's become sceptical, afraid and dubious about her neighbors and what they would think of her.

In my home are of [location and details withheld] this problem has exacerbated the usual poverty and pauperism that has existed for generations. Speaking to my Mom, she said, "I have nothing to eat son; i have been sleeping without food for days." For an old woman, suffering from acute high blood pressure and arthritis, it is impossible to imagine my take about the situation. I have the money to send to her for food, but how? She cannot collect it because the service canters are closed. No food can be transported into the village; yet the village has been hit by a long spell of drought that has left the inhabitants of over 30,000 people with no much to eat.

Here in [location withheld] my friend in the small town where i live, just called me to tell me that his brother in-law and wife's uncle (both Kikuyus) have been hacked to death by an angry mob in western Kenya. My friend's wife would love to go home and attend the funeral, but how do you travel into a "war zone?" We are thinking of organizing a "Harambee" (pulling together) {fund-raising} to assist [Name withheld] with funeral arrangements. It was just the other day on New year's eve that i was at [name withheld] house where i had been invited to celebrate the start of year. [name withheld] and i had talked at great length about Kenya's after this disputed election. Never did i ever imagine that tragedy would hit this close.

War is destructive. If the leadership would realize that greed, power, pride and arrogance won't feed or bring hope to the hopeless, perhaps reason would prevail.

Sent January 2nd from the Province of Nyanza

"Thank you very much for your communication. Things do not look good here. The Opposition leader who was rigged out of the presidential election comes from my home Province-Nyanza. So the violence is intense here.The current president comes from a tribe called the Kikuyu and together with members of a tribe called Abagusi, they are the only people who voted for him. Now all the rest of the Kenyan tribes have risen against them, Rwanda style with pangas and arson (burning of houses). In my home area we live side by side with the Abagusi. Their houses were burnt and scores killed. It is amazing how people who have lived side by side for decades suddenly turn against one another.

A curfew has been imposed in several parts of the province and everything is grinding to a halt. There is no food, no public transport, no water because people fear venturing out to fetch it. People are just indoors fearing the chaotic blood letting. towards the event. Kisumu is a Ghost town as i write this and nobody can eneter or leave it."

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Hi Tom, I am President of Hands of Mercy Christian Outreach International. We operate orphanges in 4 countries in Africa. We currently have a project in for approval.

One of the areas we are working in is the Nyanza region. We are so concerned . There were already many orphans there and now there are more then 200,000 people displaced at the last count. There are more but they are not being counted. They are just set aside. We want to do more but we are so small and do not have the funds. Our "daddy and Mommy" who look after the kids there have been locked up inside the home to keep all safe. We sent some supplies there and they were stolen. There are people getting killed all around the home. I pray for our children and workers there. It is not good. Do you have any suggestions?? Can we do more then one project?? Thank you for all you have done for all of us out here who want to do the work but just don't have the funds. You are a real blessing.
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