Re-Living the Wounds
I was recently touched by an interview on the local TV channel involving a young teenage girl narrating her ordeals of Kenya’s post-poll chaos in January 2008. The girl, together with her niece, her sibling and her friend, survived the fire when Kiambaa Church in Eldoret was petrol-bombed during the Kenya’s most intense post poll chaos.
The girl, Mary Wahito, 16, talked of the dilemma she faced in trying to save her siblings and herself when her mother got swallowed up in the commotion and screams, leaving her entirely on her own with the young ones.
“The flames were catching up with us so fast. I did not know what to do with Jedida, my niece strapped on my back and Anthony, my brother, holding my hand,” she said with tears in her eyes.
And with the obvious stampade for everyone to get out of the burning church, her brother was shoved away from her and she did not know how she lost Jedida from her back. “I only remember being tramped on the ground and the flames catching up with me so fast,” she said.
Fortunately she says, they met in the hospital with severe burns. She is glad that they survived the fire that swallowed more than 30 people at a church where they had gone to seek refuge when their homes were burnt down by their rival tribal groups.
The thorny issue that is still fresh in Mary’s mind is why women and children suffered most yet most of them did not even vote. As she and others struggle to put life back to normal (which will never be because of the trauma and the serious burns), one unaswered question is why engage in chaos yet those who suffer are wrongly targeted.
My dear women, let us promote peace in whatever capacity we can for the sake of the obvious victims of circumstances... the innocent women and children.