For many Minnesotans, perhaps, Kenya is just another African country coming apart at the seams (See post on Kenya blogs). Imagine how we would feel, however, if we were a half a planet away from the United States, watching images of a massacre in a Lutheran church because a president rigged an election, and on the last phone call home, your mother told you she was out of food.
That's what it's like today to be a Kenyan in Minnesota.
About 100 of them gathered amidst the disinterest of most reporters at the Capitol today to sing their home country's national anthem and do whatever they could to ask for the international community's help to make the bloodshed stop.
"This is Kenya; this isn't some godforsaken country," pleaded Siyad Abdullahi, the rally's organizer.
Behind the politics of it all, however, is a personal struggle.
"We cry every night," said Hercules Otieno, who held up a blank sign to protest the news blackout from Kenya. (Listen - mp3)
Peter Kengere (above right) says his son returned to Kenya for a funeral, and now he can't get out. (Listen - mp3)
Edwins Omodi (above left) has his mother, brother, and sisters in Kenya. "An African family is a big family," he said. (Listen - mp3)
Nehphat Oliech's family hasn't had anything to eat for three days. "We don't even think in terms of tribes," he said. "We think of Kenyans." (Listen - mp3)
Another gentleman, he identified himself as Reverend Clemons, has been keeping in touch via text messages. (Listen - mp3)
"Talk to me next," many people said to me at the Capitol, though the temperature was near zero. And while each had family back in Kenya, they were most interested in expressing their worry for the future of democracy.
Later, in the warmth of the Capitol rotunda, they sang their country's national anthem, which sounded very much like a dirge. (Listen - mp3)
Thank you for your coverage of the situation in Kenya. I am a volunteer (I am the webmaster, living in Chisholm) for Hearth to Hearth Ministries a nonprofit organization that is caring for almost 500 orphans in three orphanages in Kenya. The orphanage administrators have written that they are almost out of food, one orphanage will run out today. They can not get the money that we have sent to their bank accounts because the banks are closed or they can not get to them. Even if they could get to the bank the price of food has gone up about four times as much as it was.
(Collins housekeeping note: I apologize for how long it took this comment to post. It got filtered over to junk comments for some reason and I neglected to look in that folder on Friday.)
Thanks for devoting your time to my Kenyan brothers in Minnesota. I live in New Jersey and the feelings cuts across. Edwins Omodi, one of the protestors was my classmate in high school and I equally feel the same way he does; cut out from our families...it's hell!