A quote by Jimi Hendrix resonates my mind “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” These words I find so strong because thousands of people, most especially children are affected by the aftermath of this – living in countries where there are power struggles and compromise is given the back seat. Having being raised in Kenya and experiencing the 2007-2008 post-election violence makes me appreciate the little things in life. Being able to walk freely, have access to food and even a good night without worrying about tomorrow. Reminiscing how I felt at that particular time gives me goosebumps. I do recall it was around the 30th of December 2007 when my family and I headed back to our home in Mombasa from celebrating Christmas holidays with loved ones in Kilifi. The election votes were being tallied and by around 6pm we had made it to our destination in time to watch the final results of the general elections being announced on national television. Little did I know that the impact it would have on me.
Our country was now under new management but not everyone was happy about it. Here we were back from our village trying to settle in and prepare a list of items we needed in the house then head out for shopping when we heard passers by yelling on the streets in protest. I just brushed it off and figured that those were just youngsters having fun. I remember we were all glued to the TV screen watching the events unfolding and the noise from the street were getting louder. My dad opted to go shopping alone just in case the commotion got worse. He made it to the store to grab some supplies but got a couple of “Sorry we are closing early; we don’t want to get robbed by the protestors.” As is the norm, when there are demonstrations that turn violent in my country, some people take advantage of the situation to loot and destroy property. So dad came back home empty handed.
At that particular moment we had to survive with what we had and wait till the next day to see if things would cool down. By the time we were going to bed, protests were slowly building up in major towns in the country. Mombasa being a majorly Islamic town has plenty of mosques and they (the mosques) played an important role in unifying the community because the muezzins would warn people of any approaching danger. That night we were all woken up by the muezzin saying “We have an announcement everybody! Wake up! Wake up! You will be attacked! Stay alert! All men please go out and stay on guard! Women and children please don’t go out” this shook me to the core. All the men around our neighborhood spent the night out on guard. The women and children were left in the houses scared not knowing what would happen to our fathers despite them being armed with clubs and axes.
Fast forward January came and schools resumed. Fear was still looming in the air so parents were reluctant on letting their children off to school because of security concerns. I went back to school in February, since my school was quite a distance from home. It was in Eldoret, a town severely hit during the crisis. Cases of buses being hijacked and some getting burnt was frequent, making it safely to school was a relief to my family.
A couple of months later peace was restored, thousands of people were displaced, properties destroyed and loved ones lost. We as Kenyans were left with the task of picking up the pieces and rebuilding our great nation. More work still has to be done to restore the splendor of the nation and I can say Kenyans as a people are taking it one step at a time. Sitting down and reflecting on what children from war torn countries like Syria, Afghanistan , Iraq, South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are going through on a daily basis it got me to appreciate the little things in life. 9 years down the line and the Kenyan general election being around the corner I stand in solidarity with thousands of other people around the world praying for a peaceful election in the land I call home – Kenya.Read other posts from The Voice.