Program Updates 2008
As you have likely seen in the news, Kenya is going through a very difficult and contentious situation right now that resulted from the Presidential election held on December 27, 2007. The results of this election are being contested and it has caused rioting and violence in many parts of Kenya. Therefore, in early January we had to make accommodations for all of our volunteers who were on the ground in Kenya to leave.
Although they were not in any imminent danger, the country was volatile and we did not think it was safe to travel around the country each day to do our programs. We also canceled the trips for the volunteers scheduled to come in January and February. We have put a hold on all our programs on hold until the situation improves and it is safe for volunteers to come and work. Since all of our programs involve daily traveling (using our vehicles) to rural villages in western Kenya, we can’t take the chance of running the programs when the roads may not be safe. However, our grade school Epico Jahns and our clinic are still fully operational. We would have had hundreds of angry parents and a mob of three hundred little school children banging down the school yard fence to get into the classrooms if we tried shutting down the school. Since our clinic and school are staffed by our local team of Kenya teachers, nurses, and doctor, these facilities can still run without the volunteers being present.
Most of the rioting and violence involves the tribal groups of the two presidential candidates (Kikuyu and Luo). Many of the violent activities in Kenya that are being shown on the news involve clashes where Kenyans are targeting members of these tribes. All of our staff members and families in the village area where we are located are members of the Luhya tribe. Therefore, our staff members are not targets of the violence. Our farm is a safe place to be right now, but we still would like to wait until the situation across the entire country improves so that travel is safe (and affordable – since gas prices have skyrocketed).
We don’t know if the situation will stabilize in weeks or months. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved soon and Kenya will be back to the stable country it once was. We hope to resume our programs again by sometime in March. If you want to come in May or anytime thereafter, go ahead and fill out the online application form. We are still accepting volunteers for these months since we fully expect the situation to improve by then. However, make sure your flight ticket is fully refundable and you have travel insurance – just in case the conflict re-arises then.