Monday, January 14, 2008

we’ve never been so close

(january 11, 2008)

perhaps that title is not fitting for kenya at the moment because with the collapse of the recent mediation efforts by John Kufuor, the president of Ghana and current chair of the African Union, the political stalemate is as strong as ever and the opposition parties are going to stage days of rallies starting next wednesday. which means, as far as i can tell, more violence, more police state actions, more displaced people, more gender based violence, more young idiots looting and rioting, less work, more economic losses, and more fear. there are plans to have my second favourite older man crush (second only to David Suzuki), Kofi Annan, come to try and get these two guys to agree to something. but what the US Assistant Secretary of State and Kufuor couldn’t do seems impossible for Annan to do. Raila is hellbent on having another election in 3 months’ time and it doesn’t seem like anything will be acceptable to him until he gets this. and until then, more rallies...

there have been reports of a single clinic in the western area seeing more than 100 cases of sexual violence, people taking advantage of the displaced and stealing what little they have, seemingly indiscriminate burning of houses, shops, and farmland, some children separated from their families, the government scooping people up and relocating them without their tangent consent, and people stranded at random places like police stations, schools, and churches. the un will soon be releasing their appeal for emergency aid to carry out further activities to contend with the situation that doesn’t promise to let up. so if you have a couple mill sitting in your vault, i think that you could call ted turner and he could give you the un’s banking details to transfer the cash. seriously though, it is rather amazing to see how an emergency response is mobilised and it doesn’t stop agencies from fighting, big personalities to overtake meetings, and meetings to last far longer than necessary. but organisations are doing what they do best and it does seem that aid is getting to the people who need it. thank god for the red cross, msf, and faith based organisations that just go out there and do it while others sit around and talk about doing it. but they receive support from the un in a lot of ways so all that sitting around and talking is worth something. i just wish they could offer some better coffee while we sit around and talk.

it seems that my future is more certain than it has been in a long time, which is a rather positive feeling and is a change from my regular uncertainty and chronic sense of panic. we will see how long it lasts. i have some people in my court fighting for me to stick around even though my jury is still out on whether or not i would want to stick around, it is nice to know that you are wanted and i am beginning to think that people actually value the work that i do. which they should, because i am not going to lie, it is good.

there might a chance that i can go to the displacement camps, either with a colleague who is going there to volunteer or with my project that needs some serious redesigning in light of the current situation. i would love to get out of my office and get dirty after a week of intense and consecutive meetings. might put more of a face to this crisis for me too. although in chatting with my housekeeper this past week it sounds like there has been uncounted instances of thuggery and destructive behaviour in low income areas. apparently, the police can’t even do anything because they do not have enough authority in these areas and are unable to stop people because they do not have the manpower. we loaded our housekeeper up with food and clothes because it seems that the price of food has increased and many of the shops have been looted or burned in the slum areas of nairobi so food is more difficult than normal to come by.

and there you have some disjointed thoughts on the current situation and the past week of coordinating an emergency response. and i still have a gross cold. and i tried to eat my beloved chocolate fudge cake but couldn’t even finish it because i stopped being able to taste it half way through. and i will probably be working this sunday. and the reason i will be working on sunday is because i sat and talked with my coworkers today. and i think it was worth it. and my relationship with the bbc has been suffering and i must reignite the fire. and i think i like working in emergencies, even though you probably aren’t supposed to say that.

and i think we’ve never been so close.


kristen said...

i'm not sure it is wrong to say that you like working in emergencies. emergencies give you the chance to see the more immediate results of the work you do. you are helping diffuse a situation that needs to be dealt with NOW instead of working toward something that you may never see the results of (or that the results seem a little less impressive just because they aren't emergencies).
firefighters like their jobs, the SWAT team likes what they do, hostage negotiators wouldn't do their jobs if they didn't like them.

as far as the coffee goes, i suggest bringing in a one-cup french press(or maybe a larger one..who knows) and making your own. that's what i do at work.

Anonymous said...

and yet so far away

Amie said...

Hey Lara, stay safe and much love and hugs from Montreal and Allan and I.

I am sorry we weren't able to meet up in Calgary - Allan's sister's wedding was lovely but kind of crazy with errands and reception hall decorating that our time flew by.

But I am sorry we weren't able to meet up...I was looking forward to breakfast and tons of coffee :)

Take care of you, and thanks for the Kenya updates -- I think your coverage is much better than the BBC :)