Having become somewhat bewitched by the beauty of Kenya and rather caught up in the joy of our expatriate lifestyle, the election and resulting fallout came as a surprise of the worst kind. It shouldn't have. Having grown up in Africa (albeit further south), I should know that closely contested elections on this continent have a long history of resulting in contentious results and, all to often, violence.
Fortunately, the Good Man had not been as blinded as I and subtly arranged for us to be in Cape Town for Christmas, where we stayed until the dust settled in early January. Actually,the dust hadn't and probably still hasn't settled completely. But we felt that we were safe to go back.
However, Kenya had become a political hot potato and several aid donors, the Good Man's employers included, began speaking of revoking funding to Kenya in an attempt to pressure the government into a power sharing arrangement. After much negotiation, the influence of Kofi Annan and Condeleezza Rice, a power sharing agreement was reached. But by then the Good Man had felt that it would be prudent to look at other options rather than leaving his career to the whims of others. (At one time there was talk of moving him to Sudan - not a family friendly posting...)
This was an incredibly stressful time for the whole of Kenya and I can't help, in retrospect, thinking that my worries were so minor in comparison to those of so many others. All of our staff moved onto our property - they had been evicted from their homes for belonging to the 'wrong' tribal affliation. And they were considered the lucky ones - they had jobs and somewhere to go.
I volunteered at an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp and met many families who had been driven out of towns they had lived in for all of their lives, under threat of violence. Now they were living in Nairobi, jobless and homeless. The children in these camps were finding it impossible to find places in schools and you could feel their dreams diminishing with each day of learning under the tuition of underqualified 'teacher' volunteers, from decade old books, in the shade of tents.
Although a political resolution was found and calm achieved, the underlying differences between Kenyan ethnic groupings were brought to the surface and it will, undoubtedly, take a very long time for trust to be established.
Enough for one day. Much has happened to us since then and chapters are required. Tune in tomorrow for the next instalment...