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I pray it never happens again
After the Post Election Violence I tried to disassociate myself with anything politics, not get involved when caught up in heated discussions with friends and tried to smile at the neighbours and friends who had previously treated us like strangers.
Disheartened at how slowly our politicians are taking us back to the very place we came from, with all the back and forth hate speech and pointing fingers as if not willing to bring justice to the thousands that lost their lives, I uncovered a couple of ‘dear diary’ entries I wrote via my phone to my email during the PEV. This was my first entry.
January 1st 2008
It doesn’t feel like a New Year at all. This is the first night of many nights unknown to me. Slowly hours are dressing to days and the situation is getting worse. I took for granted so many things in my life; like waking up in the morning, having to sit down with my family for breakfast while watching the morning news and being able to sleep in my own bed at night. Right now nothing seems certain. Not shelter by night or breathe of life in the morning. Life is far from normal. Some people are sleeping during the day and keeping wake at night, like mom, and those who are not sleeping it’s not because they lack it but because they do not have homes.
We had to wait till it was dark before we left what we had called home for many years. Mom prayed for us; my sisters, cousin and I before we left. Each of us was armed with our important documents in our backpacks and a change of clothes.
Walking that dark road through the fences, not knowing where the next stop would be, felt like we were slaves on the Underground Railroad waiting on Harriet Tubman to lead us to freedom. Right now my Tubman is God, I have not had the strength to talk to Him though but I know He knows what’s happening to our country and he will deliver us.
We found a place to sleep, thanks to God and the lovely strangers we met for the first time tonight. They cooked dinner and gave us a place to sleep for the night. It’s an abandoned house with no life but that is better than nothing. We joked a bit with my sisters but amidst the half laughter was the fear of the unknown, of wondering where my mother was and if she was okay or whether violence would erupt at night.
The room is quiet. I keep awake to listen to the men outside who are keeping watch. I can hear them walk back and forth from a distance. I wonder if my sisters and cousin are really asleep or they are also lost in thoughts like I am.
I sit in fear; even the blow of the wind outside startles me, I can’t sleep. It’s funny how time seems to go slow, an hour is like a day right now.
Dear diary, I forgot to carry my pen and paper but I will write about the days to come because If I don’t, I’ll break down and cry and in turn starve my soul of the only remaining hope.
God is with us.
The entries after this consisted of anger; anger towards our politicians, towards the killings and rape that was being reported in the news. There were ones expressing fear like when my little sister called (while I had reported back to campus) informing me that she could see smoke from houses being burnt and hear gun shots not so far from home and that they were packing ready to move.
Some entries spoke of more fear especially when I received yet another call from my mom asking me to pray because the bus they were travelling in was being stoned at a road block. But there were undoubtedly those of hope and love mentioning wonderful people like our pastor and a network of friends who sheltered family and many others.
I do not take the peace we have now for granted and I pray that this never happens again.