From good friends of mine who adopted me when I first arrived in Nairobi in 2000.
Dear praying friends:
Thank you for all your emails of concern. We appreciate your prayers for our safety and for the country of Kenya at this time. Our family is fine, and, like most of Nairobi, not in danger. Caution is still needed, however, and we continue to watch the political situation and how it affects the passions of the two sides.
Think of the Rodney King riots or the riots after Martin Luther King Jr.¹s assassination. There are underlying historical grievances and conflicts that are fueling the fighting now. Western Kenya is the worst affected by violence targeting ethnic groups. Please pray that the gangs will stop attacking and killing, that those targeted will be able to get out safely, that food supplies will get through to the people. This is all 200 miles and more from us, but it is still our Kenya.
Here in Nairobi, the fighting has been in two major slums – Kibera and Mathare. The borders of Kibera are about a kilometer from us and also very close to Daystar and Nairobi Baptist. Much of the video footage shown of rioters and police trying to get to Uhuru Park for the opposition¹s rally is on Ngong Road across from both institutions. Young men come from there to demonstrate and then are chased back into the slum. Inside the slum it is almost a war-zone. Rival tribal gangs are fighting each other and anyone suspected of being sympathetic to the "wrong" side. Anne, our househelper, lives there and is once again trapped in her home. Her sister insisted on coming in from their rural home to check on Anne, meaning Anne had to go get her in Kibera. At night, her area was attacked and the attackers have been sitting there all day keeping the people in the area from leaving. Please pray for her safety.
The rally called for by Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, yesterday did happen but was stopped by riot police half way through. The leaders disbanded the march but only postponed it to another day supposedly today, tomorrow or next Tuesday. Nothing happened today, thankfully. Most supermarkets were open and fairly well stocked, although fresh meat and vegetables are scarce. People were able to get out and about.
The city¹s businesses and institutions are mostly shut down, and have been for a week. School openings have been postponed for at least a week. Kenyans are growing increasingly impatient with both Kibaki (the president) and Odinga and their failure to talk to end the violence. The Daily Nation newspaper says, "Despite the words of concern by both sides about the dangerous situation in Kenya and public statements that they are ready for dialogue, belligerence is still drowning out voices of reason." If the leaders don¹t dialogue, the people on the ground continue to suffer.
Please pray for the following:
1. That the leaders of the two opposing parties will both let go their grasp of and desire for power and talk together to resolve both the current violence and the issue of the election. Odinga claims rigging, but neither side is likely completely clean of that charge. We can¹t see a good alternative to the current governmental situation, but God can. May His will be done.
2. For continued safety for, not just us, but all in Kenya, and particularly those in the heavily affected areas. Pray for Anne.
3. Pray for the boys. They are doing fine, but the tension is subconsciously affected them and their emotions are a bit on edge. Being cooped up in the apartment doesn¹t help. Pray for us to find enjoyable things to do together.
4. Pray for Bill and myself. The tension of the situation is making us tired and giving us headaches. Pray that we will completely release the situation to the Lord. We share the frustration of the Kenyans.
5. If you feel the need to help in more ways than prayer, you can send donations to our ACT account marked for KENYA RELIEF and we will use it to buy food, clothing, blankets and anything else needed to help those displaced by the violence. (ACT, PO Box1649, Brentwood, TN 37024). Nairobi Baptist is one of the churches working with the relief effort.
Thank you for your continued prayers and concern. May God¹s will be done in this situation and his supremacy known in Kenya.
Bill and Julisa Rowe