A friend of mine who runs a business in the industrial area received this email from an employee who had received it then forwarded it to everyone they know as they felt it was important. I've posted it on the blog it not only for its political message, but also because it gives an interesting picture of how it is to live in the Kibera slum. I keep referring to Kibera only because I've been there and know a family who live there, but would like to stress that there are many other, even bigger slums in Nairobi and in and around other Kenyan towns where people live in a similar manner:
'Dear beloved Kenyans,
Whatever you do during this trying period, please resist the urge to spread hatred no matter how fertile the ground might be! When I lived in Kibera some years ago, I shared my modest crib with Onyango, Kimani, Kipngeno, Mutisya and Abdi. Abdi and Kimani shared a bed because Abdi was new to the city and was hiding from authorities since he had no legal papers. The only thing that separated our bedrooms was a leso and old dirty bed sheet that Mutisya had picked on his way from industrial area. We shared everything and we showered in shifts and on alternate Sundays. Life was hard but we were happy. Kimani pushed mkoko at Marikiti and in the evening he would come home with a mixture of almost everything that was sold at the market. From it, we made a stew. Everyday it tasted distinctly different and authentic even though the ingredients remained the same, the quantity varied. Sometimes the pilipili or Dania would be in plenty hence the taste of the day. We listened to 'Kameme', 'kas' and 'KBC salamu za hodi' together and shared ‘ushindi’ bar soap for washing and ‘geisha’ soap for bathing. We played draught on weekends.
In short we were more than brothers, and we remained so for 5 years until the elections were called. It was time to part ways. We got new identities jaluo, msapere, mkale, mkamba, walalo and banye (i.e. names of various tribes). Identifying ourselves with the rich politicians we shared a language with was the thing, not the poor we had lived with and shared everything for years. The wealthy man from my tribe won the election I headed to the same room I had shared for five years with people of my class, albeit with some election posters to deco our crib. Mheshimiwa (the Honorable President) headed for Grand Regency to celebrate. That night we slept without food. After a while things came back to normal we were back to sharing everything with Abdi, Mutisya, Onyango etc.
Whenever there was bereavement amongst us, we all attended. Just the poor people. Mheshimiwa (the President) was busy at the beach. But when mheshimiwa (the President) got bereaved I mourned for him for weeks, even though I wouldn’t be let to go past his gate (i.e. State House gate). When he engaged in Corruption, I defended him fiercely just because he spoke my Language. When he incited us against the people we have always lived with, I was blinded to believe it was for my own good just because he speaks my Language. To cut it short, I voted for mheshimiwa (the President), he lives big but life for Onyango, Kimani, Abdi, Kipngeno, Mutisya is still the same if not worse! What if we had voted for one of us regardless of his tribe! Could life be different?????
Identify with your own true tribe. RICH or POOR are the real tribes of Kenya. However the latter are the majority and are ruled by the minority. Did you know the only common thing between you and your much-cherished Mheshimiwa (President) is the language. Nothing else, NOTHING! However, the list of common things you share with Onyango, Kimani, Abdi, Kipngeno, Mutisya is endless.
DIVERSITY IS BEAUTIFUL. WE MUST LEARN TO SEE THE GOOD IN OTHERS. DO THE RIGHT THING BY STOPPING THE VIOLENCE AND PREACH PEACE RIGHT FROM YOUR OWN VILLAGE TO YOUR WORKPLACE. IF YOU ARE NOT AT PEACE WITH FELLOW MEN, YOU CANNOT BE AT PEACE WITH GOD.