Tuesday May 10, 2011

We left Kakamaga today at 8:30 am on the Easy Coach. It is similar to a Greyhound Bus and certainly more comfortable than the van we had yesterday. The highway is under construction in places but overall, the road is much superior to last year. It is a narrow highway and when we pass large transports, the clearance can’t be much more than 18” to 2 feet. We arrived in Nairobi 8-1/2 hours later with three stops which involved squat toilets. One quickly learns to ration water when travelling in on public transport here. After 8-1/2 hours, we arrived in Nairobi but our contact failed to show up. We waited over an hour then had the bus staff arrange and negotiate a taxi driver for us who drove us safely to the Rosa Mystica.

After dinner, St Pacifica, a member of the St Benedictine order from Kisumu, sat and visited with us. She explained the work they were doing and wanted us to see what they do when we come next year. She had delayed her trip to Kisumu as she had wanted to speak with us. What a delightful lady. The work these nuns do is truly from their hearts and it is faith at work with no other agenda than to help. If there is a CWL or other group in Canada who would like to assist these ladies, your gifts would be put toward helping the poorest of the poor.

Kenya is hungry. As I have mentioned before, there are gas shortages for no apparent reason but worse than that, there was food shortages along with escalating prices. A 2 pound can of maize has gone up in price from 40 shillings to 100 shillings in the past three weeks. Sister Pacifica said the members of parliament had all gone to The Haig and now were trying to make back the money. She claims they are holding back the food and fuel deliberately to drive up prices. This is corruption at the highest level. The VAT (HST) rate is 16%. Last year, we received receipts for what we purchased but this year, it is a cash economy. Sister P said she was in the slum yesterday and the people there are hungry. In two days, they would be unable to find 100 shillings to purchase maize and maize is a poor diet to say the least.

There is talk of a strike here but I can see there is going to be some unrest in the future. During the election 3 years ago, there were riots and the people hid in their homes for days in fear. Intellectually, no one wants to go back to that but when people become desperate when they are hungry. I wept last night after she left and I fear for this country. Kenyans have to care about the majority who have so little. How many will die because they don’t have $1.49 (100 shillings) for a can of corn flour. There is no one answer. I wish there was.

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