A couple of weeks ago on a random Monday I was following international news of the Kenyan elections. When I was there last summer I noted that the President's photo is everywhere including shops, in homes, it even hung over the bar in the hotel.
After the 2007 election there was much protest, many people died and one of the key suspects in the post election violence recently won the 2013 Kenyan Presidential election. Luckily, while the <1% difference in the 2013 has been taken to the Kenyan Supreme Court there has been little violence, especially tribe upon tribe violence that was even spoken about to us by Michua community members during our visit. It is insane to me in a civilized, even fairly developed country that someone being investigated for crimes against humanity could be a candidate for national office.
So why do I care? It's not like after the handful of days there last year that suddenly I have a interest in Kenyan politics or feel like I can do anything from thousands of miles away.
I care because at least once a month I get this:
And we sent back this (Ben wanted to draw his own picture of a volcano)
I care because on the other side of the world I know the Atieno family is going about their business just as I am mine. I care because when I hear about a great injustice either globally or even here in the US in which women are disrespected for nothing more than their gender I have a name and a face that I attach. My hope is that through staying in school instead of staying home to help raise her deceased sister's young child will bring more choices into her life.
I had truly hoped to return this summer. I even put a deposit on the summer trip. But, after much thought and discussion about some things going on here at home, I can't be gone on a large trip this summer. It is my hope, my prayer that if possible next year, or the one after that I will be back.
In 2013 I have made keeping a gratitude journal part of my week. I jot down prayers for family and friends as well as small things that have happened to appreciate.
Weekly I offer up hopes that Siprin is safe, continues to be able to attend school, that her village is moving forward on the water project, and that the opportunity to be with her again will present itself.