by Leila Ludie Atieno
My name is Leila Ludie Atieno and I am 12 years old. We live in a small town in Kenya called Migori. We are eight in total—I have five brothers and I'm the only girl in the family. I have two parents who are Mum and Dad; I'm lucky to have a happy family.
I've always been proud of Kenya, my country—it is so beautiful. We have wildlife and we have a coast, too, in Mombasa. There are wild animals like zebra, lion, hippo, rhino and cheetah. You are all welcome when the war is over.
This is a story based on politics and the 2007 elections. I am not pleased with what has been happening in Kenya in the last five weeks.
We had around eight people who were fighting for the presidential seat. On December 27, 2007 when the winner was announced, many started fighting and looting property and even the police started killing innocent people. Those who supported the presidential winner started killing the other group, burning their property and chasing them away from their homes. Now, most children are not in school. They have sad faces and they are thin because they do not have food. They don't have even blankets to keep warm.
Recently, I fell in trouble and missed death. My aunt and I went to the river to wash clothes because water doesn't come in our taps anymore. When we were washing the clothes, people were shouting. An airplane landed and people were suspicious that the airplane was carrying danger. Many ran and started to beat those who were in the plane. The police started to shoot hundreds of bullets near the bridge, where we were washing the clothes. We decided to cross the river without using the bridge. I was carrying my trough on my head—I was so scared that every time I heard a shot I ran and left my trough on the ground. I cared more about my life than about the trough, but I finally picked it up and we went home. When I reached home I found my mum very worried.
Later, my mum and I went to see the displaced persons. I was shocked at what I saw—they were all in a lorry and some women were carrying children. They didn't have space to breathe in there. The women were crying because they did not know what to do. This scared the babies very much and they were all crying too. They were sad and hungry and they needed water to drink.
I cared for the children. They loved me! I gave them drinking water, juice and biscuits my mother had purchased. I sold two crochet pieces that my mother had made and with the money I bought more juice for the children. Everybody in Migori helped the displaced to raise money for fuel to return home and we gave them food and clothes to take with them.
The schools were recently opened, but there is no good food and the pupils do not have enough to eat. Fortunately, all of the pupils and teachers returned to school and no one was hurt. We are all scared that we will be attacked or our school will be burned down, because we heard someone say that if they are not given their president there will be no school at all.
I think we girls need to work hard so that we can get the displaced out of trouble. We can make a difference by giving them sugar, clothes, pampers (for the babies), and soap. We can also raise money to pay fees and buy books and uniforms for the displaced children.
I also think that if we could be pen pals with girls in the United States we could be very happy because we can tell each other about ourselves. I think it will be good when we co-operate. Thank you and I hope we'll work hard together.