Friday, February 1, 2008

Aggie's Story

View from a village school window in Kenya.

My friend Aggie lives in Massachusetts now, but her hometown is Esabalu, Kenya.

Jack and Annette Christian are her homestay mom and dad. Aggie is worried about her family in Kenya because violence has broken out there after an election for the country’s president. Two men claim to be the rightful winner of the election. The men are from two different tribes, Kikuyu and Luo, and people from each of these tribes have been fighting each other.

Aggie told a story about her sister. "My sister Dora was in school in Nairobi. But she was not allowed to stay because she is not Kikuyu. She could not let people hear her speak on the street because then they would know she was a Luhya. It doesn’t matter what tribe you are. They are just killing. She went to a friend in Thika because she was afraid they would hurt her. She did not call for a long time. I waited hours and hours. I was thinking, Is she dying? I was so worried. But then she called. She had gone to a cousin's house. She said the roads are blocked. People are burning cars. You can travel no where. There is no public transportation from Kisumu to
Nairobi. Dora was supposed to be doing exams this month. Now people listen to voices to hear what tribe you are. I hope she will stay with my cousin and not try to get back to Esabalu. It has never been like this in Kenya before. This is a totally different Kenya."

Violence has not happened in the United States following a presidential election. Our own election is coming up in November and it will not cause violence. Kenya is a new democratic nation. Many leaders there are working to create laws that ensure fair elections that people can trust.

Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan of the United Nations are in Nairobi now urging the leaders of both tribes to call for an end to the violence so that children can return to school, and families can shop at the market and travel in safety.

Anne Moore who runs kidslibs, libraries for children in Nairobi slums, wrote, "We are all praying for Kenya that Kenyans will stop fighting and that Raila Odinga and Kibaki will come to their senses. The election was rigged good and proper. ...There seems no reason for the fighting, friend against friend."

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