Monday, January 28, 2008

The Kodi Family Update - Coping with Violence

At the September branch meeting we heard about the Kodi family in Miyuga, Kenya. Many in our community, including the branch, contribute to the children's education, so the violence in that part of the world takes on a personal note for us.

Ellen Osgood followed up with our September speaker, Christine Dinsmore, to see how the family is faring. Christine's feedback:

The Kodi family members are affected by the violence to different degrees.

First, they are from the Luo tribe -- the minority tribe that feels as if the election was stolen. But they do not support the violence being committed by their tribe or any other tribe or the government.

Of the children, Valaria is most affected. She is the youngest of the sibling group and lives in Nairobi. Her family moved her to a different school because she was the only Luo attending her school -- her classmates were Kikuo. School was not in session when the violence broke out so she was not directly accosted by anyone. However, the family didn't want to take a chance that she would be taunted or assaulted, so she was moved to a mixed tribal school. The new school is not as strong academically as her previous school, but her family didn't want to chance her safety for school achievement.

Valeria lives with her aunt and cousin. They moved to another part of town because their section was extremely dangerous. So, in addition to a new school, they have been uprooted and are now waiting out the violence.

The rest of the children have been affected less. The boarding schools began a week or so later than normal, but the violence has not followed them there.

Inviolata has transferred to a different boarding school, but that's more to do with the stigma of her pregnancy and the birth of her son. She was forced to leave school because of the pregnancy and her family thought that she might be shunned by fellow students and teachers because of being tossed from school last year.

Oliva, who hopes to go to nursing school, remains on the army base with the father of her child. She wants to return to the farm but it’s unsafe at this time. However, the family also worries that the army base could explode if the crisis spreads to the army. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. We hope it won’t.

Photo from Wikipedia - traditional Luo village

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