Friday, January 18, 2008

Richmonds - News from FTC Kaimosi - 1/18/2008

18 January 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

We praise God that the area for about 15 kilometers around Kaimosi – where we are located – has remained an island of calm in the midst of all the chaos that has resulted from Kenya’s election vote counting debacle. Some other communities have even complained that this community has failed to participate in the upheavals, and wonder why.

Nevertheless, what is happening throughout Kenya cannot help but also affect us. Food is scarce, and what there is has increased in price, often to double what it was prior to the election! Other things, such as fuel and cell phone airtime, remain scarce and higher in price, as well.

Of the staff and students we have been able to reach since these troubles began, all have reported that they remain alive and well. However, a number of them have spoken of difficulty getting food, and some have reported very close family members who have had their homes burned or broken into with everything removed. Family members had to flee for their lives. These are parents, and brothers and sisters of our friends, so you can imagine that everyone is feeling a great deal of stress.

Several students have reported to us that the fund-raising they had planned for their college fees has been impossible due to the turmoil. For instance, one student had been depending on a generous contribution from his aunt, but a couple of weeks ago she had to flee from her home and is now having to start life over as an internally displaced person. Even if things stabilize soon, the impact of the last few weeks is going to be very difficult for everyone, including on the financial life of Friends Theological College.

FUM has announced an emergency appeal that will help all its Kenya-based projects: go to and see the January 8 “Update” under Kenya.

It is a very sad thing to witness a people’s hope and trust in democracy being destroyed. (Read the pastoral letter from the Friends Church in Kenya, also on the FUM website.)

We have not written sooner as we have been watching and waiting to see if the situation here would become more stabilized in time for our students to return on Monday 21 January. We already postponed the opening of this semester by a week, in the hope that the situation would have truly calmed down with the extra week of delay. Instead, mass actions and harsh police response this Wednesday – Friday has kept the country paralyzed, with major travel routes throughout the Western Province sealed off. Matatus have stopped running; even travelers in private vehicles have been unable to get through.

On the other hand, today (Friday) Ben was able to drive with some staff by back roads to deliver a package to a delivery company, and had no problems. Early next week, we hope that the immediate situation will have become calm, and our students will have been able to travel and get to class.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! We are doing okay but depend on your prayers.

Jody and Ben

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