Writings of the general word's body

Monday, January 07, 2008

Letter from Nairobi

I am safe and my immediate family is safe. We were holed at a house on the coast, an idyllic place, far from the mayhem - the only inconveniences being a shortage of phone credit, fuel and tonic water. I even managed to use the internet at a hotel at the end of our strip of beach. It was the horrific images on TV that had us glued to the screen and distressing phone calls that enjoined us in what was happening. We kept saying this is not happening, this is not Kenya. We reeled from disbelief to horror and back again. Distant relatives fleeing the mayhem in the northern Rift are still camping at my brother's house in Nakuru. For four days, my best friend was holed up like a prisoner at her mother's house in Kisumu - site of some of the worst rioting, fearful to step outside for the sound of screaming and gunfire. I heard the fear in her voice, the disjointed background noises. Two days ago, she said it had quietened but that she could not leave as there was no fuel available. I myself had tried to return to Nairobi last Thursday, but the road to the airport in Mombasa was closed. I made it back to Nairobi yesterday and 'enjoyed' the fastest drive ever to the city centre on an eerily empty highway. On that one street, I saw more police than I have ever seen my whole life.

These have been the most traumatic times in Kenyan history. We've put together a coalition of writers to try and put words to it. But I suspect it is too recent for us to truly grapple with the nature of the beast unleashed.


Nairobi, Saturday 5 January 2008
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5 comments:

Waffarian said...

These past weeks have been disturbing....na wa for Africa.

Alia said...

Ms Garland's letter was raw and immediate. It brings this crisis home for me in a way that few news reports do. I also admired that she did not overstate any sense of immediate harm to herself. I wish the letter were longer, but I am glad she wrote it.

Anonymous said...

Muthoni Garland--thank you for the testimony.

POTASH said...

Moving stuff... By the way a group of writers have got together in Nairobi under the auspices of concerned Kenyan writers. Some of their opinion and testimonies is being run on the kwani blog.

www.kwani.org/blog

Per Contra said...

We wish her continued safety.