June 18, 2008
I am in the United States, but I received this update from John Muhanji,
Director of African Ministries for Friends United Meeting (FUM). He is
based in Kisumu, in western Kenya. I have edited and shortened his report
a little, but as usual without changing the content and message.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
a very successful mission to Uganda [for Friends United Meeting--FUM],
a telephone call from the [Turbo] District Commissioner (DC)
at mid-night on Sunday asking me to join them get the IDPs from the Eldoret
show ground to their homes. The DC told me that he had been to the camp
and the IDPs were hostile to him because he has not been with them at
all. The IDPs told the DC the only people they know who have been very
helpful in ensuring that they resettle to their homes are the District
Officer (DO) and the Friends Church. He was given my number by the DO
and the IDPs would like to meet me from the Friends church and the DO
on Monday morning. I was very tired and I needed a rest after a long
week full of activities. I tried to give excuses not to go or sent someone
else, but the DC said, "You have done a lot for these people and
I believe you are the only person who could make this day a success.
I accepted reluctantly but at the same time I asked God to give me energy
and wisdom on how to deal with the situation.
I left very
early in the morning on Monday 16th for Eldoret show grounds. I met
the DO and DC waiting for me. We went to the camp and met with
the people and when I talked and prayed for them, they willingly went
and started pulling down their tents ready to leave to their new station
closer to their houses which had been destroyed. Lorries (trucks) were
provided which carried them to the place. As they were pulling down their tents,
we went to see the place where they were relocating. We found that
there were no rest rooms and water nearby for the people as they
move there. At this time the DC had left us with the DO. We called the
DC and asked him to provide funds for the toilets and water, but he never
came to us again. Time was moving and nothing was taking place, I felt
frustrated and I called Eden [Eden Grace from FUM's Kisumu office] and
asked her to send me Kshs.40,000 [$667] to use for the process. Eden
responded very fast, and I started rolling things in action. The toilets
were put in place, water was also connected after buying pipes that pulled
water which was 200 meters from the location. I also provided food to
those people who worked on it. I also enable the connection of electricity
from a nearby hospital which provided light for security. I got a wire
was also 200 metres and its accessories. It was as if I had calculated
the exact amount that was required for the work available. I left the
camp at 8.45 PM when the camp was having water, rest rooms and lights
in a very short time. The IDPs and the DO felt encouraged and supported
and the people felt that indeed the Friends Church is a true peace church
that cares for the people. They commented that we have been very helpful
in the process and they have seen that we are the only church that has
taken the process for granted but as a duty. They saw integrity in
us and wished this church could stay with them all the time. I also used
the same money to buy fuel for a government vehicle the DO was using
when it ran out of fuel and were using it to carry logs and other things.
They could not get the money from the DC to do anything. I felt encouraged
and energised to see that we could offer a new life of hope to people
who have been feeling hopeless.
in Eldoret unexpected because I came knowing that I will be going back
to Kisumu. The following day we went to the show ground to
see those IDPs from the same place who had remained. As I arrived in
the camp and went round the makeshift tents, all those who had remained
came out and started pulling down their tents in readiness to join their
counterparts who had left the previous day. Since everything was already
in place I blessed them and asked them to move in peace to the new place.
At this time I was needed for another meeting in Kisumu at 2.00pm.
I left Eldoret
at 11.45am and I was in Kisumu for the other meeting.
The program which
the Friends Church Peace team has been doing has caused a big impact
to both the communities of the Kalenjin and Kikuyus. These
communities had no clue before that the Friends Church had such values
in peace and reconciliation. The DO continued to say, If it was not the
Friends Church which I have hidden in their wings, I would not have penetrated
or made any progress in resettlement of the IDPs."
your prayers and support has been seen and heard and we encourage that
we continue with the same spirit of support. There is a lot of responsibilities
remaining to ensure that we continue with bonding relationship activities
between the communities. The resettlement continues this week and next
God bless you friends.
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