Kenyan Journal: Lots of Sad Stories

As reader’s of this blog know, I traveled to Kenya, East Africa on January 14th to begin work on a film Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) about the dreadful plight of refugees fleeing violence and starvation in places life Somalia and who are forced to live without hope for endless years in massive refugee camps spread across Africa. During my sixteen days in Kenya I managed to send a series of six, quickly written e-mail reports detailing some of the trip to a small circle of my family, friends and supporters. Because of my lack of any consistent access to a computer, most of those reports are rather brief. Once I returned home, I edited them (mostly just correcting silly little mistakes born from hasty writing) and expanded some of them by fleshing them out a little better by adding omitted details from my hand-written notes. For the next six days, I will post one of the six reports. If any one is interested in obtaining a pdf file containing all six reports, please contact me at straubgt@aol.com and I will e-mail it to you.

Tuesday, January 17th: Lots of Sad Stories

Today I filmed a family that spent three years trying to find a safe place to live. The husband and wife and their six children tried to escape the violence in the Congo by walking to Burundi, and finding no hospitable refugee there they entered Rwanda, which also offered them no safe and secure place to stay, and so they headed for Kenya, settling in a slum outside of Nairobi. Along the way, two of their children died…and two children were born. It was a long, hot day of filming intensely sad stories. A 20-year-old girl who was holding a week-old baby told me how she fled the Congo when she was 13 and spent six years in a refugee camp in the north of Kenya before heading out on her own…and walking to Nairobi, a strenuous journey which had to have taken at least a week, during which she had to rummage for food and seek some kind of safe shelter at night. The kind of deep inner courage and strength this young woman must have had is far beyond my imagination. I grumbled over two long flights to get toKenya…and both of them offered an array of food and drinks, all free of charge.

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