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Kenya: Hotel Kisumu PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 19 January 2008 19:41
The news of massacres in Kenya has died away a bit but I just came across this gripping description of the situation in Kenya provided by the Dominican friars who run the OP Novitiate there. Their compound has become a haven for frightened families from various tribes. It sounds an awful lot like the movie "Hotel Rwanda". Read it. Pray for the people of Kenya.

The house in Kisumu and the Hawthorne Sisters are a distance from downtown Kisumu. They are also protected by a stone wall built after fr. Tom Heath, OP was killed in robbery in 2005. An electric fence tops the stone wall. In addition, they have a security team living on the compound from the Tugen tribe, (frankly, they are Tugen warriors) who are known for their toughness. Fr. Martin Martiny and the community have taken in a number of refugees. We can be pretty sure that they will safe on that compound.

On the compound we have some 32 "guests" in addition to the 60 or so kids who have asked for safe haven for fear of getting killed or burnt out of their houses. Some are family members of our excellent accountant, Gatwiri, a Kikuyu, who rented a room or house just 1/3 mile away - she came with all her stuff, sisters and brothers-in-law and kids. John Linus, an OP laity and his entire family asked to come (nine well behaved children) because in his neighborhood life was becoming untenable due to police shooting, mob burning and looting. The day we picked him up he told us the locals had just finished emptying out totally the home of a Kikuyu just a few doors away. Yet he's a Luo, as are some of the young men who were also afraid and asked for temporary lodging here: they're in the warehouse.

Then yesterday came Dr. Demwanza, accused of being a Kikuyu (he's Congolese!), whose house a mob tried three times to burn down; he came also with his entire family for their security. Fortunately we have space for them on the compound, between the sisters' guest house & rooms, and our postulancy + St. Martin de Porres house (the Peace Corps couple occupying this latter were "consolidated" in a safe spot in Milimani, so they could be evacuated together if their administration decides to do so!). All these folks are being fed up on the upper compound with Fr. Tom's kids. The only real fear we have at this point is that apparently some people came by today asking what tribe the people on our compound were!!! So we've put the guards on special alert (well, they've been on it for a week now, but to be aware that there may be some special risk here). It's good we have the wall and electric fence!


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