Talking with the various residents you gain a lot of insight into the events and how it affected people’s lives.
- Many of the staff at the KEMRI/CDC during the day of initial shooting and rioting found their normal shuttle into town (about 5 km away) not in operation. They had to walk to town and by a different route than the main road.
- Residents were trapped in their homes for 7 days unprepared with essential needs like water and food while looters burned government buildings and blocked roads and sprayed bullets through town. Many other families fled to Nairobi (40 min flight).
- There was vandalizing of the water pipes and telephone lines. People had to buy bottled water and many have walk long distances to get water from Lake Victoria.
- One of the staff members shared that his brother was captured by the rioters which he found out on his way from fleeing town. He had to return and talk the ones he knew to let his brother go.
- Some knew of those that died; some knew of those that lost their homes having to stay with relatives until a new place could be found.
People always have the ability to find humor in the aftermath of crisis; I think it helps dissipate the fear and uneasiness that arises.
- There was jokes about the number of mediators that got turned down and one that came by plane from South Africa and got turned back with his head between his knees. Poor Kofi Annan, after garnering a deal, has every one calling him to work out their conflicts and problems.
- Zimbabwe's President is threatening people not to do a "Kenyan” and who knows that the riots didn't inspire Tibet.
- During the riot all the restaurants and pubs were closed, but one with the rioters passing by stopping for the chance to get a beer.
There is suspicion and resentment underlying especially if one is considered sympathetic to Kibaki's party. This is an area that supported the opposition. The take of some people is that Kibaki's party was one keeping Kenya from progress and only building infrastructure in areas where they lived or had friends or ties. We traveled the roads from Kisumu to Eldoret to see a lab--the roads were absolutely terrible the entire way, like being on a wooden bumpy rollercoaster for 3 1/2 hours.
The government should be ashamed of themselves for having so many roads in such a state. Nairobi is 350 km away from Kisumu and it can take 7 hours to get there because the roads are so bad. One of my colleagues traveled on a road to a hospital where a government official lived and it was paved and smooth as ice.
I think history is showing that people have their limits and will take matters into their own hands in the face of oppression, corruption, and poverty when they have no hope of change from those in power. There has been revolutions and uprising on every continent (except Antarctica) since the beginning of human civilization as a means to effectuate change. It is not a means to an end that will go away any time soon.