03 January 2008

Telephone Call To Nairobi

Ciru is my sister-in-law.

Seattle, Washington, USA
2 January 2008
1:35 AM

Telephone ringing.

Near Nairobi, Kenya
2 January 2008
12:35 pm


-Ciru, is that you? Are you OK

--(Wailing) Noooooooooo!!!! It's terrible! You couldn't believe...

-But you're alive? Your house is OK?

--Mai? Alive? Right now. But they're fighting on every corner. Ohhhhhhh...

-Try to calm down. We need to know what's going on.

--Mai, Joseph ran off. It's just me and my girls and the granddaughter. Just us 4. We don't dare go outside. They're killing all the Kikuyus they can find. We saw them tyre a man outside here. He was screaming and they were all laughing.

-Debbie (granddaughter) saw that?

--No. We hid her away in the bedroom.

-What about the rest of the family? Have you heard from Nakuru?

--We talked to them by phone. Their houses are all being burnt.

-Are all our family alive? Do you know?

--Yes. None of us has been killed. But they have no food. They were begging us to send food, but we can't. There's no transport, the roads are all closed and barricaded. Mai, help us! Please! They're killing us everywhere!

-What about the police?

--Here? Near Nairobi? Mai, help us!

-Uh, yeah.

--They just stand and watch. They don't care. The army, too. They're everywhere, but they're not doing anything. I guess in the countryside, some Kikuyus are taking refuge in police stations, but here we don't dare even to go out. You can't imagine!

-(Under my breath) I think I can. (Aloud) Do you have anything to defend yourselves with? Guns, knives, even iron bars?

--(Gasping) We don't have guns and we're women! What do we know about fighting?

-(sighing) Are they raping women?

--No. Just killing. They just want us dead Did you hear about them burning all those people in the church? In a church!


--Mai!! Mai!!! You've got to help us. It's going to be like Rwanda!!!

-(Under my breath) Or Delhi. (Aloud) Do you still have electricity? Water?


- Then be sure to store as much water as you can in anything you can find. You can live for a time without food, if need be, but you need to have water.

--OK. We can do that. (To her daughters) Mai says we need to store water. (Speaks in Kikuyu) What else?

-Gather anything you can use to defend yourself and practice using them.

--We're women!

-Well, I want you to be live women when this is all over.

--(Very quietly) Did you hear how they burnt that church?

-Yes, it was terrible.

--That's not what I mean. They sealed the exits. They knew how to do it. They knew just what to do. Pelt it with stones so no one can leave. Then seal the exits. Then torch it. A mob couldn't think like that. (Sobbing) This was all planned. The election was just an excuse. They want to be rid of us. They hate us so much. You can't know...

-Another time, I'll tell you. But now, Ciru, you need to keep a cool head. Have you been praying?

--Oh, so much.

-You need to sing songs, too. Happy songs, up-tempo songs. Fighting songs, if you know any. You have to keep their spirits high.

--I don't think I can.

-You have to. That's the only chance you have. Otherwise, even if you all survive, you'll be dead inside. You have to make them be strong.

--Debbie's only 7.

-Then she needs to be a strong 7. And she needs to help, be a part of your fight. But try to keep her from seeing any atrocities, if you can.

--Oh, Mai! You've got to----

We were cut off.

I tried calling back, but could not get through.

(Crossposted from sometimes - 2.)