As always it was difficult to leave Kenya. The country is peaceful, goverment is functioning with Parliament opening on Thursday and there are many Kenyan iniatives to help heal a nation shocked and tramanized by the post-election violence. A convoy of pastors left Mombasa today travelling to five cities over 10 days visiting the IDPs with a message of healing and hope and delivering food, praise and worship, etc. The purpose is to address the spiritual warfare the pastors believe the country has experienced. It is a wonderful iniative and will be welcomed in the IDP camps. GOA considered joining them and we visited their headquarters and spoke with organizers. The Bishop made the decision to use the relief funds to continue to support the Peace Bus. GOA has been doing (of course without as many people) what the convoy is going to do. It costs for people to join the convoy and GOA can continue to go the IDP camps that will not be visited by the convoy.
GOA has received attention for their work with the Peace Bus. They have been on televison and a full page article written about the Peace Bus in the Christian newspaper. People ask where they can buy the Pray for Peace song written by Sammy and David. And on Thursday Pastor Muturi and I were invited by Professor Orego, Director, National Aids Control Council to meet with a task force set up to assess and study the IDP camps to help now and to plan for the future. We were able to give them information on the 20 IDP camps GOA has visited. We were also able to give them a recent ground report of the number of people in IDPs. Task force members include the United Nations Aids program. They were grateful for the information.
If funds allow the Peace Bus will begin next Tuesday going to the IDP camps taking praise and worship, sports – the Peace balls, showing the message from Pastor Karanja, peace and reconciliation preaching by Pastor Muturi and HIV/AIDS testing. It will be a nine person team. Due to costs and not enough relief funds the team will not give medical care or take food. If funds are available they will buy food at the location. This trip we purchased a cooler for the team so they take packed lunches to keep costs down.
Sammy the lead muscian on the team will drive the van and we will rent the van on a daily costs and the team will fuel the van. The costs for this team to go is $200.00 a day. It is a good value for the dollar as they reach from 500 – 2000 people in a day depending on how many are in the IDP camp. The Peace Team is well equipped now with the support of Pastor Karanja and others. They have the speakers, keyboard, PA system, DVD player, projector, banner and a generator. We would like to add a couple small tents (inexpensive ones without sides) as the sun can be hot for those being treated or tested when outside space must be used.
I learned this trip more about the needs on the ground right now and how much relief items costs. It costs a minimum of $500.00 to deliver food. The food is really needed. Pastor Muturi did an excellent job of gathering data from the ground about the current situation. The good news is it appears many of the displaced people have gone with families. According to the GOA pastors there are 18,500 peple in Kenya Red Cross IDPs and 24,150 in churches, etc. and these are being managed by pastors. A total of 42,650 displaced people known by the pastors. Of eleven areas reporting all but one listed food as a challenge. I inquired of people if there is enough food in Kenya and was told yes – this is informal information. What I was told is the money to buy food is the issue. We were also told as we found last time the Kenya Red Cross is overwhelmed and not able to meet the capacity. Where they have established a IDP camp the needs of the people are met.
Now I want to convey that Kenyans are not ignoring this problem at all and neither are relief organizations. I see relief bags of food when I go to some IDPs. GOA is trying to meet the needs of those people not being reached. This is an important time for us to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters in Kenya. Help GOA help those most affected and least reached. And as always all of the funds except a wiring fee goes to GOA for relief efforts.
For all those who love kenya, its people and who even wanted to travel there but didn’t over the last couple months this is the closest you can get to being on the ground yourself – give the money to GOA to buy food for those in need. This problem will not go on forever – the US, the UN and other countries are stepping in to help. But sometimes it can take awhile for all those processes to work. Meantime the GOA Peace Bus goes out and serves the needy. Remember how much it has taken in New orleans to rebuild.
I can also tell you how grateful the Peace Team is for your support and so are Kenyans. Everywhere I go people make a point to thank me and ask me to tell all the supporters thank you.
If I can answer any questions or speak at a group, etc. I would b e happy to. I can show people the pIctures of the people on the ground and GOA at work.
Thank you for your prayers – they worked to cover us isn Marsabi.
Connie Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry