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Kenya Reports

Report #36
March 23, 2008

As you may remember, I have spent the last three weeks in the United States participating in the Friends Peace Teams annual meeting and making 15 presentations on Kenya including one radio interview. The presentations went well and there was a larger turnout than expected at most of the talks. Many of the people who attended received my emailed reports from Kenya, others were long-time AGLI supporters, and a number of Kenyan nationals came (and approved most of what I said). The talk included my nine interpretations of the events in Kenya. I hope to get a chance to write it up, in which case you will receive a copy.

Gladys and I will be returning to the United States from June 15 to about July 15 so anyone who would like to arrange for us to address a group during that time, please let me know.

Adrien Niyongabo who directs the HROC program in Burundi is currently giving talks in the US. He will speak Tuesday, March 25 at 6:30 pm at Fifteenth Street Meeting in New York City: contact Anna Crumley-Effinger via anna.crumleyeffinger@gmail.com From April 3-5 Adrien will attend the FWCC Section of the Americas Annual Meeting near Indianapolis. Along with Adrian Bishop, clerk of Friends Peace Teams Council he will present an evening interest group. On Sunday, April 6th Adrien will speak at Adelphi Friends Meeting in Maryland.

Florence Ntakarutimana, also from the HROC program in Burundi, will be in the United States on a speaking tour from June 11 to July 13. She will attend Illinois Yearly Meeting from June 18 to 22 and will be the evening speaker on Thursday. Then Florencewill travel to Urbana-Champaign Monthly Meeting in Illinois, and Inter-Mountain Yearly Meeting June 11-15 at Ghost Ranch in Colorado. Florence will attend both the Friends General Conference Gathering in Johnstown, PA and Friends United Meeting Triennial. Following this the plan is for her to travel to Colombia, South America, to introduce the Healing and Rebuilding Our Community program (HROC) along with Theoneste Bizimana from HROC in Rwanda.

Theoneste will then come to the United States where he will attend Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) from July 29 to Aug 3. He will be the evening speaker on Wednesday, July 30th. Afterward he will join the sessions of New England Yearly Meeting.

This fall, in October/November, we plan to bring Getry Agizah, the AVP Coordinator in Kenya, to the US for a speaking tour.

If you would like to host an event with any of these speakers, please let me know. Sooner is better. You can learn more about each of these African Partners on our new website
at the same url, www.aglionline.org.

We returned to Kenya on Friday (3/21) and came back to Lumakanda on Saturday. As I
move around I will have more comments on the situation--we hope to visit the internally
displaced people from Lumakanda in Turbo tomorrow. The mood in Nairobi didn't seem
quite as buoyant as the reports I was reading from Kenya on the internet. While everyone
is relieved that a seemingly successful power-sharing agreement has been reached, the
concern is now that all three major political parties are in the government, all cooperating
together so nicely, perhaps the bad old days of one-party dictatorship can easily return
in the form of a three party dictatorship. This remains to be seen.

As we traveled up-country through Naivasha, Nakuru, Timbaroroa, Burnt Forest, Eldoret, and Turbo--all hard-hit by the violence-- we could see the plastic huts of many displaced people still in the camps alongside the road. There was the same destruction of houses, shops, and farms as we could see before, but seeing all this again was discouraging since it all seemed so unnecessary.

After a year of delays, AVP-Western Kenya conducted the first two basic workshops with the Turkana and Pokot. The first was with older participants while the second had younger ones. There were only three women in the first workshop and two in the second, which Getry was concerned about. Since I had been told that the men would not want women to attend until they had "checked it out," this seemed a step forward. There were a total of ten AVP workshops while we were away including a good one here in Lumakanda. We are going to do some advanced workshops so that we can conduct another "Training for Facilitators" so we will have additional facilitators available to conduct workshops.

When we left for the US, it was still the dry season and dust was everywhere with four
months of almost no rain. By the time we returned the rainy season had come to Lumakanda so the air and atmosphere is very different. After the dry season, the first rain is like the first snow for a five year old in America. Here everything stops for that first rain. The dogs bark, the cows jump up and down, the children go run in the rain and wiggle their toes in the mud, and everyone looks forward to planting of the new crops. It's a different kind of spring.

But the rainy season also means a lot of clouds so I don't know how much electricity my
solar panel will be generating. My time on the laptop may become limited. But the day
before we returned, the electric company finally put the poles and wires to our house
(we applied in September). Of course they haven't put in the electric meter yet. So
communication will be touch and go (or rather "sun or meter").

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