A sleepless night in Nakuru
I stepped away from my office for a few minutes to fix a late lunch in our office kitchen. Upon return to my desk, I noticed three missed calls and a text from Jacintah in Nakuru, Kenya.
SMS from Jacintah, 24-Jan-08,[n/a] “PRAY, WE R SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHO’VE SWORDS, LIVE GUN SHOTS N ARROWS HERE IN NAKURU. NO PEACE BUT MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US N SAVE OUR NATION”
I immediately called her back. Her voice was shaking. It is 2:00 am there. She cannot sleep for the yelling and gun fire. Her family, my host family, is scared to sleep indoors for fear of a fire bomb hitting their house, but outside is equally scary, and cold. A house was burned just down the alley and across the street. It was all I could do to not cry while listening to her.
She echoed her brother’s email in sharing how the thugs are neither motivated by the politics nor inter-tribal tension, rather taking advantage of the chaos for personal gain.
It is nearly impossible for me to sit here, with everything I could ever want in life, in a safe neighborhood where I can freely walk to and from work, and not drive to Denver to catch the next plane to Kenya. I don’t know if I will do more good here where I can raise funds and help coordinate relief, or there where I can be with the children whom I have come to know and those who are new to Pistis, to offer some level of comfort, perhaps protection.
I remember the riots following the Rodney King trials in California in the early ’90s and realize this can happen anywhere. But it truly hits home when it is a place that I have been, to people I hold dear. I just hope the next call I receive from Jacintah is one of her waking to a peaceful day and a sky filled with blue in place of burning grey.