The American community gathered at the home of the US ambassador to discuss - how to plan well for the elections and all that could potentially ensue... Plan to have plenty of extra food in your home, make sure you have bought extra air time for your phones, have a lot of extra cash, have your passports ready - just in case. Prepare to stay inside for at least 72 hours, and stay alert to signs of violence in your area...
All very sound advice! ... as we smiled at each other over our coffee and fancy desserts, I knew that each of us, would head to the grocery store and ATM, ready to at least take care of our families.
But, these elections are not about US!
|MAIN STREET, N'GANDO - right behind our house|
Yesterday, I sat with a group of ladies from our neighborhood. They talked about how already the different tribes are beginning to experience struggles. One wife had been kicked out of her home by her mother in law - she was not of the same tribe as her husband. Another had seen businesses starting to close, which in turn caused her business to have to close.
And then they all began to remember the last elections. Their main concern is that 5 years ago, after the elections, they were unable to find food - or, when they did find a store open with some actual stock, the prices were doubled or tripled. An inconvenience to someone who can still afford to pay - insurmountable to the ladies that we work with... the ones who work each day to buy a little food that night to feed their children. Many remember going hungry or just cooking porridge every day - that being the only "food" they could afford.
My mind wandered back, as my heart listened to their memories and their fears... to the meeting at the embassy just the day before. How different the gatherings were!
Here I sit with real moms - whose stories and babies I know, have touched, have held... "They tell us to buy extra food in preparation," one mama said, "but I scarcely have enough to feed my children TODAY! How can I buy extra?"
"Will the mzungus stay for these elections?" Neighbors in our community are asking...
But, these elections aren't about US!!! They only present us with another opportunity to position ourselves to love and disciple a community as they face their own fears!
These are the questions we are asking this week...
"How can we bring hope and Jesus' love into this next month for a vulnerable community?"
"Is there any chance that us being here could bring danger to our neighbors?"
So, today, we are heading to the market. Because of generous donations from many of you, GIRLS WITH VISION does have the funds to buy some extra food - ahead of time. So, we are having our ladies put in their own orders - for what they believe their families will need during this time. No matter what lies ahead... whether the stores are open or closed, whether the prices have doubled or tripled, they will be able to purchase what they need - at the bulk rate cost of whatever we paid.
And for those who lose their jobs throughout this time (one already has), we are buying a extra so that they can start a business of selling rice or ugali... and still be able to feed their own!
Again, I want to thank each of you who are walking with our group - and for the financial gifts you have sent which enable us to do this!