Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kenya: memories and heartbreak

I have been reading the news about Kenya with a growing deep sadness. I spent one year there as a child with my family, on a little island called Rusinga off the shore of Lake Victoria. My Mom is a paleontologist and my Dad is a geologist, and they were doing research for Louis Leakey. Later at a town called Kaptagat while the kids went to school and my Dad worked at a mine.

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It was a wonderful time for me, and I continue to be filled with gratitude for the land and the people. It touched me, and all my family, in a very deep way, something that goes beyond words and description.

As I read about the places of the worst violence: Kisumu, Eldoret, my heart aches. I remember those towns. I remember the people - the fierce but loving Masai, the Luo with their incredibly brilliant smiles and warm hearts, and the Kikuyu. All with such open hearts, living in a beautiful land. Now I read how many are filled with hate, looting and killing, about how 60% of the people live in slums, and I just shake my head.

For some reason I had always thought that some day I could maybe go back, maybe with my kids when they're older, and revisit this place that was such an integral part of my childhood. Now I seriously doubt that if I went, it would be even close to the same. It really is true, you can't go back.

I do hope that the people of Kenya can pull themselves out of this madness and find a way to live and love.

As an ancient prayer from the Rig Veda says:

Let us be united;
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer,
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings;
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions;
Perfect be our unity.


Tim said...

I subscribe to a number of blogs and other RSS feeds. It passes the time and provides a little food for thought, when I'm lucky. When I logged on this evening, I noticed your feed had been updated. I guess I wasn't really expecting what I got when I read what you'd said (seeing as how I've got you filtered under 'Technical' and all). It was a touching and interesting note.

I'm sorry such a wonderful nation as Kenya has been robbed of its natural grace. I'm sorry you've lost this piece of your youth. I hope that someday you and your family get a chance to return to the folks you had the chance to learn to love so many years ago.

Best wishes, Tim

Antony said...

Hi Dave - I'm feeling very much the same. You put it very well. This is a complicated story and at the moment, a very sad one.