31 August 2009

Triple Picture Post

Taken from the Langata Giraffe Centre.  We got to feed giraffes and stole a few kisses.  Proof on other cameras and to come soon.

 

Flowers from the Langata Botanical Gardens.

 

 

We ate twelve different cooked meats.  Some were repeated, but were done differently.  The food was served at a non stop rate and we were there for two hours.  Of note: the man is using a machete to cut the slab of meat and the plates captures are what was left after over two hours of meat consumption.  Gluttony ruled the afternoon and we got every bit of the value when paying for unlimited food.

Meat in Order of what I Liked:

  1. Ostrich Meatballs
  2. Pork Ribs
  3. Lamb Chops
  4. BBQ Chicken
  5. Lamb Roast
  6. Crocodille
  7. Beef
  8. Sausage
  9. Chicken Wings
  10. Turkey
  11. Liver
  12. Pork

Now off to possible see Harry Potter.  Nairobi is not Kenya when having lived in Malava for eight months.

30 August 2009

Matbronze Wildlife Art Gallery and Foundry

Sue and I ran into this place this afternoon. With the promise of art, we could not pass it up. I took some shots of all the bronze sculptures. You can buy them, but they don't come cheap.

You can also check out their website at http://www.matbronze.com/

It is the Fault of Women

Somebody thought that this would be a good ad about HIV.  I guess it is fair to give a nudity warning for the picture that is linked above.  What is troubling is the fact that the image is that of a female body used in a way to suggest that she is the carrier of HIV.  It is sad to see such ads taking place in the West, but can become dangerous if they make their way to places such as Kenya.

With gender roles firmly implanted, it is hard to change attitudes and minds when it comes to things such as the spread of HIV.  There are ways to be more subtle and remove gender and sexual orientation implications when discussing HIV.

On a whole different topic.  Brushing my teeth with water is much easier than without.  It is also nice to take a hot shower with pressure at any time of the day.  Simple pleasures make me very happy her in Nairobi and provide for an opportunity to completely relax.  As much as I try, living in Malava provides little opportunity to truly rest.  Even the most simple day will involve preparing water to drink and to bathe in.

29 August 2009

To Share

From Henri Nouwen:

The two most damaging motives in the makeup of [volunteers] seem to be guilt and the desire to save…As long as I go to a poor country because I feel guilty about my wealth, whether financial or mental, I am in for a lot of trouble…Guilt has roots deeper than can be reached through acts of service.  On the other hand, the desire to save people from sin, poverty or from exploitation can be just as harmful because the harder one tries the more one is confronted with one’s own limitations.

Just wanted to share a little from our retreat.

As Promised

Safely in Nairobi

Yesterday morning we departed from Malava at 5am.  Arriving at the retreat center by 1, the time of the trip and the cost no better than a flight.  All in all, we were screwed by the Dr. we used for the care hire, but nothing can be done about it now.  On the positive side, we did travel through Eldoret and take a new route for all of us.  Seeing more of the Rift Valley was as stunning as it was before.  Who knew that a gash in the earth could draw attention in such a provocative manner?

We settled in last night, played some hearts and rummy and hit the sack before the retreat started today.  With two talks and plenty of time to myself, I took the opportunity to walk the grounds and take more pictures of the flowers.  There are plenty of the same from before, but a few new ones.  The most spectacular is the bird of paradise that is featured towards the end of the album (which will be posted shortly).  Included are a few birds.  They are tough to photograph because they do not like people getting close and move too quickly to keep in the frame.  The last bird is hard to see amongst the tree, but its colorful feathers made it too hard to pass on an attempted photo and sharing with you all.  I am certain that it is some sort of sun bird (based on size and beak) but I do not know any specifics because I forgot to bring my bird book.

The weekend should remain in full retreat mode and will yield little on the blogging front.  However, with time off for the rest of the week before taking vacation with my family there will be plenty of activity and pictures.  Please forgive me as my posts will be more picture plenty than word filled.

27 August 2009

Nairobi

Tomorrow we depart for Nairobi at 5 in the morning.  That should get us into the city by noon.  We hired a private vehicle to defray airline costs, get there faster than the bus and have the freedom to stop whenever we want.  Plus we will get door to door service.  Pictures may occur, but no promises.  Next posts will be from Nairobi as we begin our retreat.

Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut

No comments, just a suggestion to read the Op-Ed article by Nicholas Kristof in yesterdays NYT.  We learn what life is like of a health insurer exec in charge of defeating the extension of healthcare.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/opinion/27kristof.html?_r=2

Thank You

Some people have been kind enough to send packages all this way. I want to thank those who have supported me. In addition, some have gone as far as to include things for the local children to play with when they come by. The most popular item, which is also most popular for the kids, sent has been coloring supplies. Since they use them all the time and I have mentioned little of their use lately, I took some pictures as a thank you to those who sent the supplies and at the children's request.
Note: The poses are of their own creation. I simply capture what they wanted me to.

25 August 2009

Switching Gears

I have been more on the defensive side in terms of the recent healthcare brouhaha.  Now the other side.  With the Congressional Budget Office projecting a decade of deficit spending, I cannot support a bill that will add to the deficit.  While I strongly oppose fiscal conservatism, I do think that the government should spend the money that it has.  If it wants to spend more, it must be raised.  I am supportive of the Obama tax plan, but I would like to see him go further to raise rates on those who are in the top 0.5%.  I wish I could find the article where Warren Buffet talked about how he pays less taxes than his secretary.  The richest (or is he back to #2 now?) person pays less than his secretary?  That is inexcusable.   The bottom line is that the plan needs to be paid for.  A large portion of our GDP (over 10%) goes to healthcare already.  Couldn’t a more comprehensive plan reduce the money spent and extend coverage?  It is possible for other nations with successful universal healthcare.

The other thing I wanted to mention was that the recent SAT results have been released with a breakdown in race, income, gender and so on.  They tell nothing new.  Race and income continue to play a significant role in standardized testing.  The focus right not is on health, but education is in much worse shape.  When will real time be placed into education reform?  I am not taking No Child Left Behind inefficient quick fixes.  I would personally rather see an overhaul of the education system before healthcare.  Schools continue to operate under an ineffective model and the students suffer.  This is summed up by a poorly constructed single test that is used to determine college admissions.  Fortunately, some schools (like Holy Cross) have dropped the SAT as a required part of admissions.  The next step is to bring education to those who continue to be neglected.

Dig the Twitter

I still to not get twitter, but I did sign up to help out at Earthwatch.  Since I have an account, I thought that I would link it to this blog.  So you now can follow me here and on twitter.  Seems a bit redundant, but might as well put it to use.  So more or less, this is just a test post to see if it ends up on my twitter page.

http://twitter.com/viewfromthecave

Thanks again for all who read what ever passes from my mind to my fingers.

24 August 2009

I Was Wrong

DSC01769

I said earlier today that the census was taking place.  I assumed that we would not be included.  I was wrong.  Michael and I are a part of the 2009 Kenyan census.  Of course, I am the head of the household since everyone assumes that I am to be dealt with.

A very nice young lady came in, sat in our home and asked us a series of questions.  They ranged from if we have fridge to how many cattle we owned.  It was plesent and fun.  As she ended, she wrote on our wall to mark that we had been counted.  Thus the picture.  As she was writing Michael exclaimed, “It’s just like Passover!.”  When she left he continued, “lets erase it so that we can be counted again.”

HOLIDAY!

Kenya does holidays right.  The census is upon us.  What should be done?  Why not have tomorrow declared as a national holiday?  That is what the good president did.  The last time he declared holiday was for the election of Obama.  So they can come at any time and on any day.  The census begins tonight and will continue through the week.  For some reason, tomorrow is the day to stay at home and be counted.  Being American, I will be skipped.  What to do with a mid-week holiday just a few days before going on a real holiday?

23 August 2009

This and That

From Various 23 Aug 2009

From Various 23 Aug 2009

From Various 23 Aug 2009

From Various 23 Aug 2009

My Plate

A bit of a nod to Cait and her daily plate of food. I made Sunday brunch and attempted to photograph my meal. Pictures did not come out all that well so I will narrate a bit.


Part one is freshly made wheat ravioli’s. I used the only cream-ish sort of cheese possible (low fat as well) for the middle. Starting with just flour, eggs and water, I labored all morning to create them. A bit heavy, I would use white flour the next time I do it.

From Various 23 Aug 2009


Next was a tomato sauce. With green peppers, eggplant, carrots and onions, I again made it from scratch. I only used the vegetables listed, plus tomatoes of course, to make the sauce. Spices were added to taste. At the end, I threw in the last of the soft cheese so that it would not go to waste. In terms of taste, it did nothing. It did however transform a rich red into a rust color. I made this yesterday afternoon/evening because I knew that the pasta would take the morning to do.



From Various 23 Aug 2009


First attempt at pasta went decently well. All in all, the whole dish took about six hours to create. Prep work took the majority of the time, but it was worth the effort.

Check out Cait’s Plate at http://caitsplate.com/

22 August 2009

English + Politics

Gladwell takes on To Kill a Mockingbird and Jim Crow liberalism for the New Yorker.  Mostly a fun article because it combines the two things I enjoy reading most.  It also turns over what was once considered to be a landmark piece of fiction.

Just Keeps Getting Better

I am now all about Newsweek.  Picking up the newest edition on Friday was, again, a great choice.  Featured is a special called The Smart List.  Again, they are successful by staying short and to the point.  With more direct reporting, Newsweek continues to produce a great publication.

One section caught my eye because I mentioned healthcare and misinformation recently.  In the short piece, more information comes to light concerning the perception of the high quality of American healthcare.  This time, the Commonwealth Fund is noted as releasing a study in which wait times for primary health physicians was compared.  The United States, along with Canada, ranked towards the bottom.  At the top were socialized systems such as Britain and Germany.  Canada proves that a poorly run socialized health system can be clogged, but there are others which have found success.  One possible reason for the issue in the United States: not enough primary care physicians.  With all the money in specialization, the number falls.  That does not blame doctors.  If they make it through four years of schooling and can push forth into a specialization that will help pay off debt and bring financial security, good for them.  What it may hurt are the people who are not in need of specialized care.

One could (and many do) argue that this is a reason to have more privatization.  With more competition and choice, primary physicians can have an opportunity to make more money.  Possibly true, but at what cost?  I personally have a tough time rationalizing how someone can make money off the ailment or injury of a person.  Care is necessary and the medical profession is a blessing, but how do you come up with the price for a new heart?  Elective work (ie. voluntary plastic surgery) is purely on the patient.  Doctors should be able to charge whatever they want when it comes to nose jobs and tummy tucks.  However, I find it a bit of a moral dilemma when it comes to emergency care.  An earning should be made for the service, but I believe that it can become excessive.  Maybe that is an issue for a separate occasion.  I am sure that many will not agree with my thoughts on what is and is not reasonable profit, but it is a much more involved discussion that would require a large diversion from healthcare.

I am not endorsing or suggesting that the healthcare systems in Europe should be used as models.  I know nothing about them.  However, the myth that the US healthcare system produces the best care for patients is not true.  I also remembered my favorite non-partisan website : www.factcheck.org.  They have analyzed just about everything that is being said in terms of the healthcare madness.

Ok Washington Post

With the lack of well researched news stories in global news sources when it comes to Kenya, the Washington Post has shown what real reporting looks like.  By no means a perfect article, but one that discusses the current drought in Kenya and the effects that it is already causing and what outside actions (inaction) are making it worse.  So far, it is the best summary of what is going on in the majority of the country.  For some reason, Malava is a blessed town.  We have been getting consistent rain for the past few months.  Lately, it has rained daily in the afternoons. 

With so much of the country relying on sustenance farming, a shortage of rains can be disastrous.  What is revealed through this drought is three fold: a non-responsive government, poor infrastructure and lousy economy. 

The government has known about this problem for months (since at least January) and have done little.  It is a bit like the financial situation in the US this past fall.  The signs were there, some were crying out that something need to be done to prevent a full collapse and nothing was done.  Of course that is an oversimplification of the two problems, but it is not as if either came as a major surprise.

Infrastructure does not exist.  The wealthy are the only people with real running water.  Power does not reach many parts and the roads are both non-existent and terrible.  With no infrastructure, Kenya lacks the ability to grow in any significant manner.  It is this that drives me to side with the Mayo’s of the world.  Maybe aid needs to be removed and loans become the way money enters the third world.  There cannot be IMF controls, but the nations need to be more responsive and responsible to the people.  With so much aid money coming to Kenya, there is little evidence of an investment into the country by the government.

The economy here is essentially not.  Most farm for a living and make enough to farm more and buy a few things in terms of food.  Some make a bit more, but the quick rewards of sugar cane lead to poor spending and less money.  Banks exist for the purpose of the wealthy saving and the poor taking out small loans.  Significant loans are impossible to get and government jobs require a bribe.  From what I understand, you apply and when given an interview, arrange to pay a bribe with a connection through a friend of a friend in the ministry that appoints your job.  60,000/- (~$750) will take care of most jobs.  Some require more.  With no real economy, the opportunity for growth is next to nil.  Although it is here, a traditional industrial revolution is needed.  There must be a movement towards cities and growth within.  Jobs must exist and industry must grow.  I know nothing about how that can happen, but I know that it is necessary.  I will not get into a long tangent, but that is why I believe aid can be harmful.  With little incentive to move in an industrialized direction, Kenyans maintain the status quo.  There is a chance if the aid is removed.  Cruel? Yes, but seemingly necessary.  I also think that aid is pushed forth by the more powerful nations to keep the third world in the same place.  Is the EU willing to allow open trade and reduce tariffs so that Africa can grow?  Will the United States or China or Russia do it?  I doubt it.  There is nothing to gain.

20 August 2009

In Response to Sue

Based upon her post dated today (you can go to the link on the left hand side).

Michael also threw one of the chicken heads at me, but luckily he has terrible aim and it missed.

Michael did in fact throw a severed chicken head in the direction of Sue after beheading his chicken.  However, his aim was not off and right on.  Tossing with daft hands, Michael achieved his goal of inducing a horrified girly scream from Sue.  The single funniest chain of events I have witnessed in Kenya.

Michael’s response upon hearing Sue’s explanation (said in a Boston accent due to disgust).

Next time I’m peggin’ her with it!

Thank You

Drought-> Cities

The drought continues and people are leaving for the cities.  That means that more are going to be living in the slums of Nairobi.  Luckily, we are doing fine up here.  Rain keeps coming every afternoon.  Do a rain dance and say a prayer for Kenya.  It is needed.

I Love Newsweek

The new format is great and I get it as often as I can when I go to Kakamega.  This time I found an article online.  I continue to learn about the great American debate (healthcare) via print and internet articles.  With little chance to do real digging, I take what I can get.  For the most part, I have found the back and forth boring.  Both sides remain wildly wrong and in some ways irresponsible.  Nazis?  Socialism?  Do insane scare tactics still work?  Have we returned back to the spring of 2003?

Back to Newsweek!  There is an article about the hypocrisy of those who are crying wolf.  Some of the strongest opponents are recipients of government healthcare.  Why are those who so willingly accept taxpayer dollars for healthcare call a move to extend it to the taxpayers wrong?  I do not mean to say that the current plan should pass.  I am against it.  But how can someone oppose something that they actually accept?  Government run healthcare already affects a large portion of the country and the opposition has always been a low murmur.

I am glad to read an article like the one from Newsweek.  I hope I can soon read one that gives strong reasons why the current plan is no good.  Lobbing generalities, like NASCAR, is an American pastime that needs to come to an end.

19 August 2009

Funny and Sad

With the World Championships in Berlin for Track and Field, talk has changed to running.  As everyone knows, Kenya produces the worlds best distance runners.  More specifically, the Kalenjin tribe from the Eldoret area is most responsible.  Anyways, the women’s 800 final is soon and there is a bit of controversy.  Fast rising Caster Semenya from South Africa is setting off alarms for all the wrong reasons.  The best way to sum it up was when Sue was shown her picture from racing in the semi-finals, she said, “that’s a men’s race.”  When told to look closer, she realized that the competitors were women.  She has now been ordered to take a gender test.  It is sad if she is in fact a woman (and I hope for her sake she is) and funny if she is not.  I will let the picture do the talking…

 

FILE -- In this Monday Aug. 17, 2009 file photo South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in a Women's 800m semifinal at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. The IAAF has asked the South African track federation to conduct a gender verification test on 800 meter runner Caster Semenya amid concerns she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman. The 18-year-old Semenya is a favorite in the 800 meter final later Wednesday Aug. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

Spot On

Far too good just to include as a passing link.

From Aid Watch Blog:

How to Make an Advocacy Video about Africa

from Aid Watch (Bill Easterly)

by Laura Freschi

1. Assume that the people watching your video know nothing about your cause.* In fact, as far as you are concerned, their brains are completely devoid of content and unable to grasp any complexity.

2. When it comes to death, violence, and sickness, use the biggest, most impressive figures you can find, whether or not they are true. As long as the figure was once cited by someone, somewhere, you’re in the clear.

3. If possible, make a T-shirt (or baseball cap, or we just can't quite get over this one, a thong) and plug it in your video.

4. Do include celebrities. There are a few eloquent and well-informed celebrity spokespeople who conscientiously educate people about important causes. But that’s boring, so get the ones who spout incoherent nonsense,** and/or use really inappropriate props.

5. Most of these go without saying: include: yourself, as a savior/hero; poker** ; and Africans who are simultaneously needy and threatening (undernourished, emaciated, toting AK-47s).

6. Emotion: good. Loud music: Good. MTV-style editing: good. Good vs. evil: good. Nuance: bad. Eschew nuance.

7. Don’t waste any scarce video-seconds on how the actions you are inspiring will have an impact on the people for whom you are raising consciousness. Just go ahead and leave it out. Too complicated. Or, maybe there is no impact. There’s no time to figure it out.

*Actually, this is a real suggestion I found on an online guide to making advocacy videos.
**Favorite vacuous celebrity quote from this video, courtesy of Save Darfur Accountability Project: “We are not as ignorant as people think we are, we simply don’t know, and it’s not our fault!”
***Thanks to astute reader Andy Hall for sending us this one.

18 August 2009

Muddied Time

Consistent hard rain has brought consistent sloppy mud.  With my short walk to work my shoes are pancaked with mud.  A stick does the job as I sit and chat with David and Neto over the paper.  Prior to the stick, I do the grass shuffle across the lawn to loosen up whatever mud may be removed by wet grass and pray that I did not get mud on my pants.  Almost always the mud starts to come off and my pants have varying amounts of splatter.  When it is dry the red clay gets on everything.  What was once white becomes red.  My sneakers are just about to completely blend in by now.  The mud is a whole different baboon.  It stays to shoes, brings dirt into our house and kitchen, and keeps the bottom of my pants with constant mud.  Needless to say, sidewalks and paved roads are missed.

Outside of the morning commute and the 4pm downpour, life continues to move at a quicker pace.  Next Friday we will be back in Nairobi for our second retreat.  All will remain in Nairobi for the week and I will get to join my family on a week-long vacation.  By the time I get back to Malava, I will have roughly 100 days left in Kenya.

Seeing the end so clearly has become a strange feeling.  Three months in the year poured out like the mountains that surround me.  Direction existed, but I have no idea where they go or what is on the other side.  Now I can see the end.  There is considerably less time left than passed.  I am happy to have the reality of returning home, but feel overwhelmed by the fact that my time here is so short.  It is not in the I-have-not-done-enough-yet sort of way.  More like the strangeness that there is actually an ending.  In January, one year seemed like a long time.  Now, it seems too short.

16 August 2009

ODM

Maybe the tribunal is still possible.  The ODM has thrown its support behind a bill that will set up a local and independent tribunal to hear the cases in regards to the 2007 post-election violence.  Of course, Prime Minister Raila will not place his full support behind it.  Being the leader of ODM, it would be nice to hear him support the bill.  Understandably, he does not want to ruffle feathers with the cabinet too much.  As far as I am concerned, he does not have to support it publically if he is willing to work behind closed doors and ensure the passing of the bill.

Thought

The United States spent 15% of its GDP on health programs in 2005.  Countries with ‘socialized’ programs such as France (11%) and Canada (10%) spent less.  Why are we adding to such a large expenditure of our GDP when it seems to not serve its purpose?  Other states provide more extensive for less care.  Without knowing much about anything, there should be a way care can be increased and spending decreased.

Just a thought.

15 August 2009

Good Gracious Great 2nd Birthday

I am sorry for those of you that might not like the first few pictures. It was a part of the day and our contribution to the party. I was even invited to help cook the chickens. Men cooking here does not really happen, so it was funny as all the woman stared at me breading the chicken (Anglea asked me to show her how to do it).

All in all, it was a long day and a nice party. The whole SJC staff was in attendence with Nancy absent. You will notice a few pictures of Neto, David, and Grace dancing.

Strong Warnings

The US has strongly warned Kenya for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th-time.  Strong words continue to pour into country more frequently than a police officer takes a bribe.  What changes?  Nothing.  Maybe, just maybe, this warning will have follow through.  There is no chance that Kenya is going to make the changes that the US rightfully demands with any sense of urgency.  A warning is useless, but I can accept it.  As long as the proposed sanctions occur when Kenya does nothing to improve its myriad of problems.

14 August 2009

Election 101

Kenya had a bit of a tutorial about successful elections by India, Canada and Ghana (amongst others).  It is positive to see that the country is looking outwards for advice.  Two points seem to be the removal of politicians from the electoral commission and the automation of votes.  With three years to prepare for the next elections, Kenya must continue to provide a way that people can vote and have confidence that the vote cast will be counted correctly. 

There seems to be no silver bullet when it comes to elections, but there are many nations that have successful democratic polls.  The 2012 race will be contested by numerous candidates.  At this point, it appears that a run-off will have to take place.  If there is even a hint of vote rigging the nation will return to violence much worse than that of last year.  Three years out people are prepared for the worst.

More of Those Free Markets

President Kibaki asked merchants to reduce prices in light of the current food shortage.  Again, this is an example of how free markets can destroy a country.  With outside nations gaining unfettered access and no real regulations, prices are entirely determined by the market.  When the majority of the population lives on about $1 a day, the burden rests on them.  As this continues, families become unable to support themselves. 

The main staple remains the almost entirely unhealthy ugali.  Large quantities are eaten because it can induce the feeling of fullness.  There are additional factors that contribute such as the lack of jobs for young men.  However, as long as prices can change based solely upon the companies and merchants a stress will remain on the majority of the country.

I do not suggest that businesses should operate at a loss.  Many own small shops to pay for the very same things that they sell.  There is also a point where a mark up on eggs, milk, sugar and flour can become excessive.  From what I have been told, maize flour has raised in price 300% since the end of 2007.  Global problems have helped to cause this rise, but the means of production and sale has not.  It is unacceptable for such a rapid raise in price.  Wages have remained similar in the same period.  Without a raise in wages people remain unable to afford food for a meal.

13 August 2009

More Bad News for The North

Kenyan drought worsening, Oxfam warns

13 August 2009

A drought in the northern regions of Kenya is causing massive water shortages, Oxfam reports.

The charity notes that despite its thrice-weekly deliveries of 15,000 litres of water to the region, dozens of locals are being left without due to ever-increasing demand.

Livestock on which many Wajir residents depend for income and food are becoming weaker every day due to the drought, the organisation's regional media and communications officer Alun McDonald reports.

"Money for the trucks is set to run out within a month and the next rainy season is not due until October," Mr McDonald told the charity.

"But the last rains failed and with the seasons becoming increasingly unpredictable, there is no guarantee that these rains won't do the same," he added.

The majority of people living in Britain use in excess of 150 litres of water each day, while many in Kenya have now been reduced to five.

Oxfam is currently running a campaign called Here and Now, which aims to provide simple solutions to the suffering caused by climate change across the globe.

© Adfero Ltd

Slacking

Ok, I admit to slacking off a bit.  I think that as my time here has increased, my mind has settled more and more into the daily life within Malava.  I no longer think about the strangeness of living in Kenya.  There are always moments when I am confronted with the fact that I am very far from home, but my time to, in and from work now passes without any thought.  However, there have been two things that happened this past week worth mentioning.

The first is that little Emmanuel walked.  With downs syndrome, Emmanuel is a fixture with peeing his pants and his “What’s Poppin’?” t-shirt.  Most of all, he is one stubborn guy.  He hates to walk on his own, plopping down on the ground any time he is lifted on his feet.  With our brick cart, he will push for a few steps and gives up.  Yesterday, he stood up and walked, unassisted, half way across the SJC.  With his straight legs, he pivoted each forward as his upper body leaned forward begging for his hands to crawl.  Resisting his natural mode of transport, he continued across the room until he had to turn to his left.  Back to his natural fours, he crawled after the ball that just passed in front of him.  It is rare that we get to see the benefits of the therapy on the children.  Seeing Emmanuel walk was an encouraging moment.

My second story is not in the least bit happy.  Two clients passed away in the past week.  One due to negligence on the part of the the parents and the second due to the disability of the child.  The tragedy of their deaths has not been missed on my part.  I said that first because my reaction was as if it was passing news.  It is not as if death comes to me often, but it is a fact faced with little or no remorse by the people here.  It is passing news like the weather or the latest soccer scores.  Caring exists, but death does not seem to bother people outside of the family.  I thought of seeing the man who died by being hit by a truck and how much it bothered me.  Now, news of death does not seem to affect me in a strong way.  I cannot really attempt to define what the news meant, but I noticed that it strangely mattered little.  I found myself seeing it as a Kenyan.  Death mixed into the discussions of the previous nights international soccer matches.

To finish on a lighter note, Bill Easterly pokes fun at celebrity humanitarianism by calculating the three things that must go together to make a good campaign.  Enjoy the read.

11 August 2009

Propaganda

The MP’s are pushing against the current plan to use local courts.  In an effort to start a local tribunal, they have launched a website: http://www.endimpunityinkenya.org/.  It is rather simple at this point and uses horrific images to show how terrible the violence was, but I will commend them for moving against the Kenyan leadership.  We will see if they are successful in passing legislation for the tribunal, but it is better than nothing.

09 August 2009

Talkin’ Blue Winnin’ Blues

Soccer season is back and the Blues opened it with a nice victory over that other team.  Crammed in the ‘I Max’ at the top of town, I enjoyed the match with some fellow fans.  Again in the minority, I remain a friend to few and a foe to most.  All is in good fun as we traded barbs with each of the teams two goals.

Sitting uncomfortable upon wooden benches in closer quarters than a matatu, it is nothing less than a sweat box when soccer is on.  Although the break was short, I did miss attending the matches.  It continues to give me the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy something together.  I think that the reason that soccer is so important to me is because it is one of the few things I can share.  I can pal around with my fellow Chelsea fans, banter with Man U fans, and hate on Man U with all other fans.  I did not go to as many matches as I wanted to in the spring, but I want to make a more concerted effort to go.  With my time here dwindling, I do not want to slack.

It appears that the other blue team (pinstripes) has asserted itself against its red clad foe.  Three out of four would be great, but my broom is ready just incase.

In other news, a Kenyan man offered a dowry of 40 goats and 20 cows to Hillary Clinton for her daughter Chelsea.  He already has one wife, but is looking to add a second.  Last week, when we visited with our friend John, Michael had the duty of negotiating the dowry for Sue to become John’s second wife.  I had no part in the discussions.  He just wanted Mike.  However, I found it funny when he pulled him out of the house numerous times and cornered him during our walking to come to an agreement. 

Also, the Daadab refuge camp is running into problems due to the influx of refugees from Somolia.  The region’s stability continues to worsen and people are running.

08 August 2009

I Took Some Pictures

*note*
Some are shot in sequence using the 'burst' option. Individually they seem blurry and poor, but when viewed in succession they are a bit better. I took a lot more than the last wedding, and made sure to use my flash as much as possible to make up for the poor lighting. I hope you enjoy.



or Dig the Album Here

07 August 2009

(not so) Simple

“Just drive straight,” we were told.  “Stay on the same road and you will see it.”  With the simple directions, Sue and I set off this morning to pick up the doctors for the epilepsy clinic.  Leaving at 7:00 with Katie in tow (to drop her off at work along the way), we set off with Bob Marley in the tape deck and fog settling in the Kakamega rainforest.

Just over an hour later, we make it to Mumias.  Home of the great Kenyan sugar factory.  Looking for a hospital, we bumped about as the road became worse and worse.  A few minutes later we were at the outskirts of town with the knowledge that we missed the hospital.  Convinced it was impossible to have missed the sign, we turned back to explore the side roads.  Cue phone calls streaming into my phone asking why we had not gotten the doctors yet.  Sue driving, now Mariah Carrey dueting with Boys to Men emanating through the speakers.

Taking a turn to the right, we came to more buildings and no hospital.  Desperate phone calls yielded no results as nobody could help.  With a stop, we asked a gas station attendant where to go.  He pointed and spoke nervous English that I could not understand.

Departing, again, we continued up the road and made it back to the main road.  Thinking it was near, we went back down the main road to find failure not a hospital.  Turning back for the third time, we decided to try another gas station.  The first man looked more lost than us when I asked him where the hospital was, but came with friend.  Who told us to drive past two junctions and look for the sign just after the second.

Mariah was slowing it down for us as we made it to the hospital at 9am, 1 hour late.  Attempting to calm the defeated atmosphere of the car, we took the doctor and picked up his assistant on the way back to Malava.  As the sun took to its duty, Westlife gave reason to enjoy the ride and the rest of the day.

Blunt

The Daily Nation ran an article yesterday about the ‘birther’ issue.  It takes on the issue of the supposed Obama Mombasa birth certificate.  Worth a read because it is funny how blunt they are and the fact that there seems to be nothing legit about the birth certificate.

05 August 2009

Happy Birthday Carrie

Healthcare

Since it seems to be a popular topic at home.  I have two stories to tell today.  The first involves our night watchman at the SJC, Samuel.  The second is about our house girl, Jacqueline.

I may or may not have mentioned before that Samuel is very sick.  In fact, he has lung cancer.  The doctor told him he was very sick a few weeks ago and Samuel kept quiet.  It was not until he was too sick to work that it became apparent what was happening.  Told he was going to die, Samuel was making his final preparations.  David and Joy found him at his home and forced him to seek treatment.  Monday, he was taken to a hospital in Eldoret by Sue and Joy.  Admitted immediately, he was given a blood transfusion because his blood level was dangerously low.  A biopsy was performed and the cancer was confirmed.  Samuel remains there, waiting for his family to come and get him.  The doctors want to do a few things to help but the 12,000 /= bill is too much for his family to pay.  So he will be gathered, when they raise the money to go get him, and return to his home without any sort of treatment.

Jacqueline came yesterday to our house and requested that I attend a clinic with her.  She said that the doctor asked to speak with me.  We met today and rode for twenty minutes to a small clinic between Malava and Eldoret.  There the doctor told me that he had discovered some tumors in her pelvis.  He wanted to begin chemotherapy immediately to treat the early growth.  Confident that it will take care of the problem, he wants to admit her today.

I share the examples because one has the support of a job and national healthcare and another does not.  Samuel has the Kenyan national healthcare, but it does not cover anything beyond admittance fees and some for drugs.  Jacqueline is not insured and is privately employed.  Despite different circumstances, both are unable to pay for their hospital bills.  I am sure that there are plenty of examples, but these two are the ones that I am seeing right now.  This is how a poor healthcare system, that is mostly private, can keep people from attaining their services.

I do not use this to say that the Obama healthcare plan is the way to go.  Frankly, I know very little about his plan.  However, I want to highlight the other side.  The ‘free market’ thought to healthcare.  It is the one that is of no use to the majority of people within Kenya.  Even with large NGO and global support, healthcare here is reserved for those who can pay.  In, USD the prices are extremely low, but when making only 100/= a day, they are far too high.

So people go without.  They go home to die or they suffer through coughing up blood and constant pain.

“Harambe” is a Swahili word that roughly means to pull together.  It is a common way for communities to raise money.  We will be going to one on Saturday for David’s church.  Sadly, there is no English equivalent.  With the debate over healthcare moving forward, it seems that now is the time to come up with our own way to pull together.  Not in a Socialist own nothing sort of way, but in a look-at-how-great-we-have-it way.  Here is a chance to pull together during financial stress.  A time when those who have no financial burden can lend a hand to those that do.

I wish that I could offer some sort of grand solution.  I do not know what to do, but I know what is wrong.  I know what cannot be accepted.  Although not as flawed as here, the current way that healthcare is dealt with in the United States is harmful.  The direction that must be looked towards is not one of full or even greater privatization.  Unless, of course, the US is trying to live at the same standard as Kenya.

Go Clinton!

"We've been very clear in our disappointment that action has not been taken [over the violence]," she said.

"It is far preferable that it be done in the regular course of business, that prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials step up to their responsibilities and remove the question of impunity."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8185613.stm

Lights Out

Due to poor rains this year, KPLC will be rationing the power.  I have no idea what that means for us.  Rains here in Western have been consistent, but not up to par.  The rest of the country is further behind.  With the majority of power produced in hydroelectric plants the shortage has caused KPLC to begin to ration power starting tomorrow.

There are no specifics other than the phrase ‘ration’ when discussing power.  I anticipate having less consistent power.  There is hope.  El Nino (can we bring back the SNL Chris Farley skit?) is about to get going and the short rains will begin soon.  The combination of the two should produce plenty of rain.  Should and will are two different things and maybe they will converge for Kenya.

It also highlights the current issues concerning the Mau forest.  There have been a series of stories in the Daily Nation concerning the illegal ownership of the forest land.  The short version of a long and complicated story is that land was given to cronies of former President Moi.  He gave them title deeds and large plots of land.  A few decades later, the owners have convinced workers to come live and work on the land.  Now it is well settled and widely used.

In order to use the land for farming, it has been cleared.  Trees have fallen for crops to rise.  What has resulted is an environmental crisis.  With no trees, the rain water is not collected and the once full rivers are now nearly dry.  There is now talk of kicking the people off the land.  The issue has been continuing for the past few months.

Right now, the country is suffering because of the deals made by a former president.  That is not the sole reason, but it is a major contributor.  People now face eviction from land they thought they owned legally.  There are discussions of compensation for those people, but the trouble lies in evicting large tea plantations and wealthy Kenyans.

03 August 2009

Best Article Yet

The best response to Thursday’s decision came via The East African.  I have included the first half of the article with a link at the bottom.

Cabinet boldly upholds impunity

By L. MUTHONI WANYEKI 

Monday, August 3 2009

Our Cabinet completely lost the plot with its supposed decision this past Thursday.

I say supposed decision because it was not a decision — in the sense of proactively choosing from realistic options for achieving justice for the victims and survivors of last year’s violence.

It was instead a pandering to the lowest common denominator and an utterly shameful demonstration of its absolute inability to stand up against impunity in the face of the obvious personal political interests of its individual members.

Let us explore the implications of the supposed decision — to try suspected perpetrators of last year’s violence through the regular courts.

First, the decision implies that all suspected perpetrators will be charged for existing crimes in our penal code only.

As the International Crimes Act domesticating the Rome Statute was only passed last year, trying to bring its provisions into effect with respect to last year’s violence would be open to charges of retroactivity.

Kenya’s international obligations to the International Criminal Court, on the other hand, stood as of the moment that it signed on and ratified the treaty — regardless of whether domestication had taken place at that time or not.

What this means is that — as is usual in Kenya — only the lowest levels of perpetrators are likely to face justice.

Second, the decision implies that only lower-level perpetrators of the initially spontaneous but increasingly organised violence in the North Rift are likely to face the law. Lower-level perpetrators of the other two forms of violence — that committed by security agencies and the organised counter-attacks in Central, Nairobi and the South Rift —will probably be able rest easy. As will lower-level perpetrators of the sexual violence that cut across all three forms.

The Attorney General has yet to make public the breakdown of the 150 or so criminal cases he says he has ready on the violence.

But the outcry from families of those unconstitutionally and illegally detained last year in respect of these crimes points to this supposition.

As does the trailing off into nothingness of the task force convened by the Kenya Police into the sexual violence.

Third, the decision implies that the Criminal Investigations Department will be responsible for investigations into the violence.

The police, together with the Administration Police, of course stands accused by the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence of being responsible for no less than a third of the deaths that occurred — and a host of other related crimes from theft to rape during that period. It is also documented as having turned a blind eye to the ferrying of armed militia into the South Rift for the organised counter-attacks.

To expect the CID to investigate these accusations is to expose it to a massive conflict of interest — and the CID has no great record of standing for the public interest where conflict of interest exists—or of concern with accountability of the police force as a whole. And this is, of course, apart from the questionable quality of its investigations.

Read On

Four Days Late

CNN does what it does best.  Comes with a story late.  Today, a story has come about the decision of the Kenyan cabinet from Thursday.  The story itself is nice, but again is a bit on the late side.  Certainly worth the read for anyone who is not keeping up, but disappointing in its timing.

When the Sec State Comes to Town

Clinton is hitting Kenya very soon.  Her iterary will include:

Clinton will deliver a policy address on Wednesday in Nairobi during the opening session of the African Growth and Opportunity Forum, the 8th annual meeting mandated by the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the U.S. law which promotes U.S-African trade. She will hold meetings with African ministers of commerce, trade and finance to talk about Africa's potential "to play a much larger role in global trade," Carson said.

She plans meetings with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to encourage both to move forward "as swiftly as possible on the Kofi Annan agreements that ended the post-election… violence of 2007." She will also be talking in Kenya and during several other stops about agriculture and food security, which the Obama administration has made one of its policy priorities.

Maybe her meetings will be useful and not just full of showy press conferences.  It would be a feat if she could convince the leaders of Kenya to make a change and actually work to bring the perpetrators of violence to justice.  I have low expectations, maybe that is the Kenya getting into my psyche.

01 August 2009

Halfway

I brought a large collection of movies with me this year.  Most notably, a large majority of the AFI 2007 top 100 films.  Michael and I have made it through the first half.  Since I want to share (and can) the following is my version of the ranking.  Three movies are left at the bottom because I could not find them before I left.  The three are Unforgiven, Sunrise:A Song for Two Humans, and M*A*S*H*.  Because of that, they remain at the bottom of the list.  If I do see them, then I will make the appropriate changes.  Since I took the time, I will add a brief commentary for each.  I will acknowledge my limited film expertise so there is a lot I missed because of that, but I tried my best.

As I worked through the films, a separation formed in a natural manner.  So to steal a little from Bill Simmons and to group them in the way that my mind did, I have broken them into categories.

With out further adieu, the best of the bottom fifty:

Just Plain Bad- These made me question why they even are included within a top 100 list.

47. The Last Picture Show – I have no idea why this makes the list.  Drawn out plot with no likable characters.

46. Nashville – Jeff Goldbloom prevents this from being the worst

45. Cabaret – Poorly cast, could have been alright

44. Do the Right Thing – Spike Lee’s message was beyond me.  Should I be happy with the ending? upset?  Should I like anyone in it?

43. The Wild Bunch – Spaghetti Western, no more no less

Worth a Single View – Enjoyable, but seeing once is more than enough

42. The Deer Hunter – Cimino directs a great movie for far too long.  Trimmed could be twenty spots higher.

41. The French Connection – Fun until the ending.  Crime and corruption just comes to an end with text on the screen.

40. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Indy takes on some bad guys, but never gets going in any real direction.  Spielberg directs poorly.

39. The African Queen – If not for Bogey and Hepburn, a weak film.  But brilliant acting makes it all better.

38. All the President’s Men – Same as TFC, the ending is sudden and unfulfilling.  The action builds and it ends.

37. Sophie’s Choice – Kevin Klein, he is the whole reason

36. In the Heat of the Night – The importance of this film is still relevant today.

35. Blade Runner – Ridley Scott could use a little help with lighting and dialogue, but Ford is just broken enough that it does well.

Surprisingly Good – These were the ones that I expected to be towards the bottom and found that they more than deserved their place amongst the list.

34. Yankee Doodle Dandy – Hated the first five minutes, but Jimmy Cagney had me disappointed to see it end.

33. Rocky – A film about boxing with only five minutes of fighting.  I forgot that the plot is what makes this so great.

32. American Graffiti – Kids moan about high school, but who better than Dryfus and Howard?

31. Forrest Gump – Jenny is a tough character to like, but there is Bubba.

30. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Pre-crazy Taylor could act.

29. Modern Times – Chaplin does industrialization.  Anything with The Tramp will lead to laughs.

28. Tootsie – Hoffman dresses like a woman and falls in love with a woman.  He makes an ugly lady.  Much funnier than I thought it would be.

Just Great – Enough said.

27. West Side Story – Great songs carry a weak adaptation of Shakespeare.

26. The Gold Rush – When Chaplin dreams of his dinner roll dance, I was both amused and deeply saddened.  Not many films can accomplish that.

25. Ben-Hur – Stunning cinematography.  The chariot race fills every inch of the widescreen.  Proving the waste that is scan and pan.

24. Titanic – Having it seen it a few times here and there since its enormous debut, it gets better each time.

23. Sullivan’s Travels – Light and enjoyable.  What Sturgess does.

22. Easy Rider – Two motorcycle dudes slowly become compelling.

21. Pulp Fiction – Tarantino is reserved and brings the best acting out of an above average cast.

20. Spartacus – Kubrick takes a different direction and Russell and the audience benefit

19. The Apartment – McClain’s is the best, Lemon is no slouch

18. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Newman + Redford make the perfect pair.  It has its out of place moments, but is what The Wild Bunch could have been if more balanced

Outside Looking In – Just missed out on the best of the bottom 50.  They are all close enough that they can be changed in any order.  This is the best I could do.

17. The Sixth Sense – M. Night did hit a home run with his first film.  Makes all that follow seem rushed.

16. Goodfellas – Second best mobster film to Godfather (1 and 2)

15. Swing Time – Fred and Ginger dance with a final number worth watching one hundred times.

14. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – Long, slow plot, over acted, but I love it every time.

13. Toy Story – My favorite animated film ever.

12. Saving Private Ryan – Direction is weak from SS, but the script and cast are both too good to allow it to fail.

11. A Night at the Opera – Marx brothers have fun and I laughed the whole time.

10. Duck Soup – Not a mistake, the Marx brothers are back to back.  This gets the nod ahead for its political satire.  Having never seen them before these two films, I can understand why they were so successful.

Almost There – It is hard to explain this distinction, but in my mind there is a clear difference between these few and the top five.

9. Network – A news anchor wants to commit suicide on national television and he is given a promotion.  A satire of 70’s media that has been eerily accurate in terms of where news and programming have gone since.

8. Bringing Up Baby – Hepburn is a brat, Grant is a nerd, throw in a tiger for fun and you have this delight.

7. 12 Angry Men – Ever member of the audience is in the jury.  The best part is not knowing if he did it or not.  Tension is kept on low as the room closes around the men.

6. Taxi Driver – DeNiro is worst actor and character in this film.  That is a compliment.

I Do Not See How Fifty Movies Can Be Better

5. North by Northwest – Hitchcock makes Grant run around Mt. Rushmore in a case of mistaken identity.  Just when you think you understand what is going on, the rug is pulled out.

4. Jaws – Moby Dick on film.  The main character is not seen until later.  “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

3. A Clockwork Orange – Feature some Beethoven and Singing in the Rain, toss in the direction of Kubrick given a futuristic England and you have a thoroughly disturbing final product…somehow he makes it not only watchable but enjoyable

2. The Silence of the Lambs – Hopkins and the use of first person shots are its strongest points

1. The Shawshank Redemption – The only thing worth saying is that there is not a single thing wrong with any aspect of this film.  It is as close to perfect as possible.

Two Days, Two Parts (II)

With a lunch booking and supplies needed for tomorrow, I ran in and out of Kakamega.  In by 8 and home by 10, I worked quickly.  I arrived just as the supermarket opened and found everything I needed.  In addition, I bought, for a whole 20/= ($0.25), a new phone line.  Orange provides cheaper international calling.  Its service has been poor around here, but from what I heard it works better.  With it costing so little, I bought a line and was happy to see that it works at home.  I will put a different post with its number.  I will continue to use my Safaricom line, but will make calls to the states with Orange.

Back in time to relax, I hung out before our 11:30 meeting.  With Sue and Katie in tow, Michael and I locked up and went out to meet our good friend mini drunk matatu guy.  His real name is John, but our nickname serves as an easier way to remember him.  That is besides the point.  We arrived at his place of work, the matatu stand, to find him missing.  We waited for a bit under the shade of a shop.  As we sat, our good friend, James, walked by.  Having just been drinking, he was in fine form.  We chatted for a bit.  He called me Chuck Norris and Michael Rambo.  He rambled on for a bit and then began to hit on Sue and Katie.  After a bit of convincing that they were married, he became less doting and continued to ramble.  Meanwhile, Michael found our other matatu friend, Tyson, and asked him to bring us John.  Fifteen minutes later, John showed up drunker than James.

He slurred his English, but ordered James to mill the maize for the flour.  He then went over to secure some greens and returned to bring us to his house.  Thinking that it would be a quick trip, we set off in good spirits.  Little did we know that we would not be home for another five hours.

The Journey was full of drunk sentences and attempted conversation until a sudden stop.  John wanted to show us the farms.  He tried to tell us what each one had with James as his echo.  Casually, he turned and slapped James saying, “Act like a gentleman.”  James remained quiet for the rest of the afternoon.  We then walked only a hundred yards before we stopped to meet John’s uncle.  The first stop on his family tour.  With a quick hello, we pushed forward towards the homes of his three brothers and nephew.  As we arrived in his home, we were invited to sit down.  Thinking that lunch would be coming soon, we relaxed.

After five minutes, we were back out and exploring the area.  From there we met more relatives, friends, and even his dad’s circumcision classmate (there is really no other way I can think to explain that).  In the middle, we saw the school where he once went and his children now attend and reclined in the field of his church.  Laying down, I was happy to be resting under the shade.  The relaxation did not last long enough and we were back up for the remainder of the tour.

As we walked, we slowly picked up more and more children.  By the time we were laying in the field, there were fifteen children laying down too.  Two of them were John’s daughters.  The youngest, Rebecca, took a particular liking to me.  She walked holding my hand for a bit and I carried her for a good portion of the walk.  The next youngest was fond of Sue and always seemed to find her hand whenever she could.

As we made our final stretch back to his home, John and I walked in the front, hand in hand.  It was strange and awkward, but I tried not to worry about it.  For him, it was just friends walking along and conversing.  Who was I to tell him it was wrong.

Back at his home, we were treated to some greens, ugali and roasted maize.  We ate heartily and were then forced to eat more.  I benefited by being given more of the greens than the ugali when my plate emptied.  Katie was not so lucky and was given a huge slab of ugali as she was at her point of being full.  To make it worse, she was pressured by John, James and John’s wife to eat more.  Attempts to resist were useless as it was made clear that she was expected to finish what was on her plate.  Food eating here is tough.  You are to finish what you are given and when you do so, more is added.  Then again you are to finish and more comes.  Basically, you have to eat until they are done.  When everyone else is done you have to make sure that your plate is finished.  It is not all that bad.  I guess it is better to have a filling meal than too little.  However, it is impossible not to feel guilty knowing that I can easily eat well and they have to struggle for the food that was on the table for us.  I was able to give my last piece of maize to Rebecca.  She clearly wanted it and I was not needing it at all.  So she ate away, enjoying the roasted maize as she sat in my lap.

The meal ended, we left and arrived home by five.  Two tiring and rewarding days.  Tomorrow, we have invited the Sports Plus team over for a meal with us.  We have hired our house girl to make her legendary pilau.  I will be sure to have pictures.

Sec Clinton: Please Listen

Rights watchdog asks Clinton to be tough on Kenya

By Wangui Kanina
NAIROBI, July 31 (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday urged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn Kenya's government that the U.S. may impose sanctions against individual perpetrators of last year's post-election violence.

Clinton visits Kenya and six other African nations next week to show that the continent is a priority for President Barack Obama's administration despite challenges from a financial crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kenya's divided cabinet failed on Thursday to come up with mechanisms to set up a special tribunal to try masterminds of the clashes in which 1,300 people were killed and more then 300,000 uprooted.
Instead, President Mwai Kibaki said the government would embark on reforming the judiciary so that the planners of the worst violence in Kenya's post-independence history could be tried under the country's laws.

"We ask you to publicly state that the U.S. may consider the imposition of targeted sanctions including travel bans against those deemed most responsible for serious human rights violation," HRW said in an open letter to Clinton.

Politicians stoked tribal tensions prior to the last election, and activists say a handful of prominent Kenyans -- including several sitting ministers -- should face justice.

Foreign donors, disillusioned Kenyans and local markets -- which bombed during last year's crisis and have been jittery over coalition divisions -- are following the debate closely.

NO FAITH IN JUDICIARY
The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is ready to step in if the government does not create a special tribunal.
"The cabinet reneged on its commitment...having earlier told the ICC that it would either establish a special tribunal to deal with suspects or refer the cases to the ICC," HRW said.

While some see justice for the 2008 chaos as crucial to future stability in east Africa's largest economy -- which faces its next poll in 2012 -- others warn any judicial process could destabilise Kenya by stirring up old hatreds.

"Given that senior politicians and government officials stand accused of grave crimes, all sides acknowledge that existing mechanisms are not sufficiently independent to the task," Human Rights Watch said.
Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga support a local tribunal but the majority of Kenyans want the ICC to take the case because they have no faith in the country's judiciary.

In a statement the National Council of Churches of Kenya, an umbrella church group, urged the cabinet, the president and prime minister to resign to pave way for new elections.

"Your admission that the judiciary, police and investigative arms of government are incompetent is the final confirmation that Kenya is close to becoming a failed state," the statement said referring to the two leaders.

"We call upon you to honourably resign and allow Kenyans to choose a new leadership that will steer this country away from impunity and the high potential of national collapse." (Editing by Diana Abdallah)

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