26 April 2009


Not much to say for today.  Played soccer with the boys again and am now thoroughly tired.  The newspapers do not paint a positive picture about the state of the coalition government.  With gang violence in the center of the country and the inability to agree on anything, the stability of Kenya does not look strong.  In Nairobi, I overheard two university students discuss the fact that people are buying up gun so as to be prepared for the worst.  One was saying that machetes would not be the weapon of choice this time around.  The violence was terrible a year ago, but it seems that nobody wants to be caught off guard.

I do not fear for my safety in any way, but I am sure that things are not well in Kenya.  Maybe I will be lucky enough to make it through the year with no problems, but I do not see any sort of sustainable solution when it comes to this government.  I am not well versed in this subject, but a civil war will eventually happen.  It may take a decade, but with all of this youth and dissatisfied public long term stability is an impossibility.

It is strange to live in a place where everything is set upon a weak foundation.  There is nothing that makes me feel confident about the politicians, the constitution, the police, or the economy.  All sleep in the same bed as corruption, greed and self-interest.  The people of this nation are left to fend for themselves.  What is worse is the fact that Kenya is one of the more stable nations of the third world.  DR Congo, Sudan, Somolia, etc. are all much worse off.  Madagascar is being run by a DJ who took over in a bloodless coup.  The financial crisis that has wrecked the lives of many people does not compare to what the post-election violence has done to this country.  All is relative, I understand, but I lose pity each day.  All I read about from the Economist or the New Yorker is about the financial situation of the west.  Companies on the brink of failure and so called ‘socialist’ measures being taken to solve the problem.  There are no bailouts in Malava or for the majority of this continent.  I have lost sympathy for multi millionaires who have taken major losses.  Their quality of life is still at the top.  I have been struck by living in a place where entitlement does not exist.  Basic rights are withheld here, and people go on with a great smile.  It is not indifference or lack of education, but joy of living.  As I said yesterday, problems abound and alcohol is the the main culprit.  However, time away from home has put American life into perspective.  I am still unsure of what this all means, but a profound shift is taking place.  As I live with less concern about material wealth, I have found much more in what I cannot buy.  I have become more perceptive, more aware of the people I meet and the dirt upon which I walk.  I think the change of lifestyle has made it so I can do this.  I wake up and put on clean clothes, that is all that matters.  My choices of style are limited and I do not care much about what I am going to wear.  How I decorate myself does not alter who I am.  If I let it matter than I am the cause for the change.  I can only describe it in terms of being rather than doing.  The change is in that.  I am less concerned with what I do and more concerned with being.  In Mexico, I met a group of priests who lived in a slum and one of them said that his goal was simply to ”be with the people.”  I thought it was a wonderful statement and only now do I actually get it.  The most I can ever do in my time in Kenya is be.  It has been a struggle to accept this, but I am doing my best to embrace it.  So far, it has produced rewards that I will not begin to understand until I am back home.