Josie Mai, the Executive Director of Soulfari, recently sent out this email to update us all on what's happening in Kenya. I wanted to share it with all of you that keep Kenya on your mind:
Do you remember having growing pains as a kid? I remember lying in my bed at night, legs aching so badly I couldn't sleep. The pain never lasted long,but it reminded me that my body was becoming an adult,full, it's whole self.
This is the only way I can view the current violence and aching in Kenya. Relatively, they are still a new country, only recently playing by their own rules, not the colonist's. The rules are set, a few people are not playing by them, and the masses suffer. I won't goon about the details. As of this morning, a secondarily of protest has been stifled by the police and Kibaki is softening toward a recount. Transparency of this recount is the only thing that will ease Kenyans back to their daily lives. The media source I am following is BBC radio and internet. They are actually interviewing Kenyans, not just showing the"slum-dwellers" running amok as Kenya is "convulsed".
I talked for a long time with Julius on the phone last night. He, like the rest of us, is helpless to do anything tangible for our friends and family in Kenya.He spoke with passion about the situation, and I listened and asked my questions like a good sister,like a good executive director. Emmanuel and the kids are OK. They are in Dandora, a predominantly Kikuyu(Kibaki) slum and they are essentially Luo(opposition). Shops are closed, there is no transport,they are staying indoors. Florence is a sister living upcountry, closer to Uganda. There is even police presence there, in the country. She lives in a predominantly Luo area and reports Kikuyu's fleeing into Uganda. Other friends and family members are OK.I am not concerned about the Missionaries of Charity.They have built a fortress of a compound and can lock the 15 foot gate anytime. I am more concerned aboutVilla Teag in Dandora. The kids are safe inside, but I don't know about Zaria and the workers who usually come and go and do not actually live there.
As an organization, Soulfari Kenya will move through this with our Kenyan friends. We are in this for the long haul. None of our work is in vain. Meaningful relationships are never in vain. The trip for July 2008 is still on. We will make a final decision in April when it is time to purchase airfare. One week of political turmoil does not change the personal friendships we have forged with Nelson, Kym, Kwame,Gloria, the kids of Huruma, Emmanuel, Franci, Mary,and Kevin, Helen, Pamela, Salim etc etc.
In this present moment, money won't help. Shops are closed. But there will be some rebuilding to do. We want to be able to help in this process. If you are interested in donating specifically to rebuild the livelihood of our Kenyan partners, let us know. Or donate right now through paypal at our blog:www.soulfarikenya.blogspot.com
Meanwhile, you can also purchase a beautiful calendar created for Soulfari, filled with the faces and service that define us. Hang one where you will see it every day, to be reminded of the growing pains of our Kenyan friends, that it will pass, that there is health, hope, and happiness around the corner. You can order it here:http://www.lulu.com/content/1248988
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and concerns.Continue to be informed, and hopeful.
Executive Director and Founder
Soulfari Kenya Inc