Joining up with the others I found them in the midst of an interview so Alida and I split off to go and interview some women on our own.  We first met with Lucy  and Margaret.  They are a family of eight: mama, baba (dad), six children three of whom are out of school the other which are in class 8, class 1 and nursery school. They came from Nandy Hills and have been living at the camp for a month and two weeks.  They owned a hotel (that is a small restaurant) where Lucy worked with her parents. The hotel and their home were burned and they were chased out.  They first ran to the police station where they stayed for one week.  The police then brought them to the show grounds in a lorry (truck).  They receive food once a month and get 6kg maize flour per person and 2 kg beans per person. There is a brother who is in mechanic college in Thika right now.  They feel that the greatest personal needs are for clothing, shoes and blankets.  The greatest need that they see for the camp as a whole is for food. They do not feel that they can return to their home because they are the ‘wrong’ tribe. 

The second family we interviewed had 20 members living together in 9 tents.  Ann and Lillian were two of the mamas, Faith and Jen were two of the children.  They also came from Nandy Hills after staying at the police station for a week.   Prior to leaving their home they owned a clothing kiosk where they sold nice clothes.  Mama had 200,000 in the business in microfinance loans and no insurance.  Everything was looted before they left. Not burned but taken.  They also lived on a shamba where they raised food for themselves and to sell:  tea, maize, beans, cabbage and sukamawiki.   Nandies (Kalenjin) were going throughout town shouting that people were good thieves and they had to get out of town and leave everything behind.   None of the family is currently working and they have nothing to do in the camp, just sit.  The day we visited, some Catholic women had been there and given out crochet needles and yarn to help keep women busy. The women said that they were afraid to go back because of what they saw with their own eyes.  Since ’92 there have been disturbances.  ‘inhuman those people’  A few said that they would indeed go to counseling if it was available and that they see their number one personal need as a secure home. They personally helped dig some small drainage ditches for when the rains come but I doubt the ditches will help much, they are small and shallow. The greatest need they see in the camp is shelter and mattresses.  The food and water is OK.  They received food for two weeks and it’s had to last a month.  They received 2 blankets for five people.  While we were there each tent was receiving one dried fish.  The children in school do receive a free lunch there so they get tea or posha in the morning, lunch at school and then supper at night. 

I think it was after we all arrived home this evening when I told the others the following:  I know it’s not the best way and maybe not a good idea at all, but I can’t help but think that I want to just help one family at a time.  I want to help them get a good place to live and get jobs and get their kids in school.  I want to help one family get back on their feet and then start again with another family.  In helping each family, they in turn will help a family.  I don’t have the resources in any way to help in that fashion, but it’s what kept coming to my mind as I walked around the show grounds and saw people sitting around or working at their little kiosk. I know it is not the best way and the best way is for me to offer my services and my offerings to the relief team to do what they do best.

 If you would like to help the Relief Team do their best please go to THIS site.  Under ‘Use my gift’ mark for the following disaster response/relief effort: and select WR Kenya Conflict.  Asante sana.

Advertisements