The December 27 elections are nearly a month old, yet the unpredictability continues.
The feeling in Nairobi is one of fatigue. I can't tell you how many people say, “we are tired of this”. Some are tired of the violence, while others are tired of expensive produce, a weak kenyan shilling (it was 60 Ksh/$1 during the time of the elections and now is 73.5 Ksh/$1), the uncertainty of what each morning brings, not being able to go into certain parts of town, all of the conversations being about one topic and a constant uneasiness pervasive throughout all people.
There were a few gatherings this week that acknowledged those that have lost their lives during this time. Unfortunately, they turned political and ended in violence. For those of you that followed the Kenyan news this week, Wednesday's funeral service that ended up in police firing tear gas and participants burning a government building is the closest matatu stop to our house. In some ways, we have built and immunity to what happens or doesn't happen. I caught myself responding to Gideon's question of, “was there any news today?” saying, “nothing too bad-well I guess there were 7 people killed in the slums and in the Rift Valley.” It reminds me of how I deal with the number of deaths in Iraq on any given day, Afghanistan, or Sri Lanka...yet these are lives, members of families, co-workers, friends.
Yesterday, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan came in and led mediation efforts. While Kibaki and Odinga posed for a front-page photo (smiling and shaking hands), their brief speeches made it clear that they are still on different wavelengths and that there will be no easy fix. We are hopeful that dialogue over the next few days will produce something positive.
CTM is shifting into a different mindset as we attempt to build up the leaders in our network as well as the communities that they serve. A large network of churches across the nation (National Alliance of Churches) has been instrumental in compiling data for needs in communities around the country. The network was established directly after violence erupted on December 30 and has been a huge player in the relief efforts throughout the country. The UN, USAID and large NGO's are using the their data to assist in their efforts. CTM has entered into this community and is linking our leaders to the efforts around peace and reconciliation in communities of different ethnic tribes and helping small businesses get up and going.
Thank you for your continual prayers and support during this time. The issues in Kenya are far from being solved, but we remain hopeful that people, places, institutions, communities and relationships can be reconciled beyond our limited imaginations.