Well, it is the time of year that the elections for the new President of Kenya, the trial against the now newly elected president and deputy president of Kenya for crimes against humanity, and volleyball try-outs take place. Although these are each very different events they will have a very resounding impact our our lives here. This year the presidential elections were scheduled for March 4. This has been a highly anticipated event for just over a year now. Every single day for the past year and half the daily newspaper ran the ongoing soap opera of politicians jockeying for the roughly thirty-four million Kenyans to get caught up in their life saga. It was as if there was no other news in Kenya, or in the entire world for that matter, worthy of getting on the front page. Politicking here is very strange and even though we have lived here for about twelve years now it does not make any more sense than it did the first time we experienced it. During an election in Canada we would expect those running for office to set out a platform or agenda that would try and convince the population to vote for them for what they will do. It is different here and sometimes very confusing for our North American understanding. Corruption and graft are major issues and the way of life for the people who live here.
There was major concern about whether these elections in Kenya would be peaceful. There was little doubt that people here realized the major trouble that they put themselves in with a tourist industry that pretty much collapsed within a couple of weeks in 2008. It was actually reported that the people are the ones that get hurt not the rich politicians. We were not too concerned with the actual election and inevitable days of delays in reporting the results, which by all accounts, are suspicious. The real concern that we now have is the outcome of the ICC trial against the now president and deputy president of Kenya. For the past year we have been flabbergasted that a nation would allow not only one individual but two to run for the top office of the country while awaiting trial. Would it happen in Canada or the US? We believe that they are innocent until proven guilty but this has caused a lot of disbelief. The unfortunate thing is that the people here who are facing indictment believe that they are above the law which is very scary. The US has even said that they will not continue government relations with this government because of this reason. The real concern will come in May when the ICC will either acquit or find President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto guilty of crimes against humanity at which time they will most likely have to step down. That would not be a popular decision among the largest tribal group of which they align themselves with and Kenyans who see the ICC trial as “western intervention”. The most likely thing will be that they will not step down which will cause major problems. The potential to get ugly is much greater than a closely lost election as Kenyans feel that the West is telling them what to do. We are not excited about this possibility but we do pray for justice to be done for the sake of the over one thousand people killed and million uprooted because of a few powerful and rich peoples actions.
And then there are volleyball team tryouts that happen at this time preparing for next terms international schools season. Seems kind of trivial but it is both an exciting time and a very stressful time. Not that there will be “post volleyball tryout violence” but it does take a toll on the students and Todd when decisions are made about who will be on the team. This year he had the privilege of having 24 boys come out to see if they had what it takes to play. He was very impressed and was glad that there were so many that had the desire to play. But it had to come down to make a decision about the guys who would make varsity and junior varsity teams. It was very difficult and he had to take another workout session to see who would make the teams. It is never a job that he enjoys but he really wanted to respect those who come out and try their best. So this year he has eight seniors and two juniors selected to play on the varsity. This is not normal as last year only one senior played so this sets up a large turn over for next year but hopefully a strong team this year.
If you get a chance please pray for all three of these events. In some ways they are as different from each other as one could get but in others ways they are very similar. Please pray for peace, unity and teamwork. It is so important and even more so now as we consider the things that could go wrong in each of these areas. Individuals in any of these three events can play for themselves or for the good of the whole. Unfortunately we have seen individuals playing for their own benefit in the run up to this current election. The volleyball team will be also looking at what competition is and working through that as a team. This will be a huge thing. Todd will need the wisdom to speak clearly and the team will need the patience to listen and understand. We are blessed to live here and strive to teach not only knowledge but life skills that go with individuals out into the world. We also continue to pray that the elected officials will do what is right and best for the people of Kenya. Thanks for joining with us in your prayers as well. We value that very much.