I’ve been feeling a little heartsick about what’s been happening in Kenya. When you’ve walked on the soil of a country and let yourself be touched by its people, you can never again ignore the news of that country quite as casually as you did before. In the past three years, I’ve been touched by many Kenyans, and with them, I grieve the turmoil their country is in.

I think of Esther, who gave me the beautiful earrings I’m wearing today. A woman of great wisdom and compassion, who sees the beauty in prisoners and prostitutes and dedicates her life to helping them find wholeness and hope. May she be safe today.

I think of Fidelis, who speaks boldly and with passion, challenging rich North Americans to set aside their arrogance and self-assuredness and not assume they have the answers for Africa. A woman who teaches farmers that their own ingenuity and strength can build a better country. May she sleep peacefully tonight.

I think of Daniel, who’s here in Canada, far from his family. A young man who wants to use his skills as a teacher to offer hope and a future to young students. I think of his sister Agnes, still in Kenya, whose shy smile brought me great pleasure. May they both rest assured that they will see each other again some day.

I think of Paulina, who so humbly and graciously welcomed me into her mud hut and offered me friendship. May she hold her children close and not fear for their safety.

I think of beautiful and bold Sheila, studying for her masters degree in Canada so that she can work for a better future for people living with HIV/AIDS. Sheila, who comes from Kisumu where much of the violence started. May she know that her family is safe.

I exchanged emails with my Nairobi-based uncle last week. He and his family are safe and their lives have not been dramatically impacted (though they can’t go very far from home), but I know that his heart – that is so full of love for Africa – is hurting a little too.

May there be peace in Kenya. May there be bridges built between tribes and political parties. May goodness prevail over evil.

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