May 22, 2008
I wasn't expecting
to make another report so soon, but events have given me some "juicy" material.
Robin and Christine Dunn are from Australia and with two other Australians
they have built a nice retreat center called Takatifu (Spiritual) Gardens
in Shinyalu about 8 miles from Kakamega. They are working with Central
Yearly Meeting of Friends and have held 15 AVP workshops in their center
during the last two months. Christine sent me this in an email today:
Yesterday Robin went
into town by himself to do a little shopping when something happened.
He was out the front of Midland's hardware store
(which is owned by some Indians) when a badly injured man ran right past
him down into a side street, with a large crowd of people chasing him.
The man attempted to get into Midlands and they rushed to close their
shutters so the guy (and the crowd following him) couldn't get in. Robin
felt he should try to find out what was happening. So he went around
the corner and saw that the man was now on the ground and was being flogged
with something like a fan belt. People were also kicking him and Robin
had the impression it was only a matter of time till they killed him.
He was suspected of stealing, but I imagine very few people in the crowd
knew the actual story. The son of Midland's hardware store came out the
back of the shop too and commented to Robin on how terrible it was. Robin
told him that they should do something about it. hen to the Indian guy's
surprise Robin walked toward the crowd. As Robin approached people kind
of backed off from the "thief" and some comments were made
which made it clear that people were a bit embarrassed about what was
Rob went straight
to the guy and picked him up off the ground. He put his arm under the
guy's shoulder and supported him to walk back towards
the main road. The crowd didn't quite know what to do. Once Robin was
on the main road he felt he was safe from being beaten himself, as the
general public became very aware of what was going on and the mood was
a lot more positive. The large crowd followed him with most making positive
comments about Robin saving the guy, but some also mocking him, calling
him "Kofi Annan", etc. Robin decided to take the guy to the
police station, but felt it would be a bit
dangerous to put him in the car. So he walked the guy to the police station
about half a mile away. It seemed to him that all of Kakamega stopped
to watch him walk with this man bleeding profusely and a large noisy
crowd following behind him. By the end, the guy was not able to hold
his own weight, so it was quite a task. Once at the police station, there
was a bit of bureacracy. The police arranged to get the guy to hospital,
and didn't seem interested at all in arresting him for stealing. I guess
they figured he'd been punished enough already. Later in the day, Robin
visited the guy in hospital and was able to confirm that he was getting
some care. Rob thinks he'll survive, although he's in a bit of a bad
Then I got
another email from Patrick Mureithi who is producing the documentary
film, "Icyizere: Hope," on
the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) program in Rwanda.
(Click here to see a five minute
segment of the film).
This is Patrick Mureithi.
I am now back in the US after an AMAZING experience in Rwanda and Kenya.
I managed to show "ICYIZERE: Hope" to
thousands of people at the Rwanda Film festival, on Rwanda Television
during the official week of mourning, at the Gisenyi central Prison,
and at the National University in Butare. In Kenya, I got the chance
to share the documentary with students and faculty of the Aga Khan Medical
University and Hospital, staff and guests of the Kenya Film Commission,
the Kenyan National Association of Nurses, the Great Lakes Parliamentary
Forum on Peace, the Nairobi Peace Initiative and the Kenya National Commission
on Human Rights. I was also interviewed by The Sunday Nation newspaper
and by Citizen Television
during their popular Power Breakfast Show.
All this to say that I am very very grateful for all of the people that
contributed to make the film possible, and for all of the emotional support
I received from family and friends alike. I will soon be editing the
final version of the film which, funding permitting, should be done in
5 months. I will keep you posted on developments as they come.
Then the last item
is from the Sunday Nation. The front page headline reads "Raila factor in Obama contest." In
other words Kenya is being used to influence the presidential election
in the United States.
Raila Odinga and Barack Obama are both Luo. Here are some lines from
in the United States are attempting to use Senator Barack Obama's Kenyan
links to discredit him. The activists, most of
them Christians, claim that Mr Obama is a relative of Prime Minister
Raila Odinga, whom they describe as a "socialist who plans to introduce
Sharia Law in Kenya." Right-wing activists disparate to derail his
White House bid peddle falsehoods about him and Raila. Mr Davis and his
wife [missionaries who are promoting these claims], noting Mr Odinga's
contention that the
December 27 presidential voting was rigged, said in their message, "As
we watch Obama rise in the US we are sure that whatever happens, he will
use the same tactic, crying rigged election if he doesn't win and possibly
cause a race war in America."
I guess this is enough "juice" to
swallow in one day.
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