Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Shout-outs and Shoot-outs
So what happens in a little town like Jinja on the first day of 2008?? Why a rocking christian music concert of course! As most of you probably don't know, we have a favorite band here in Uganda called Sauti. (pronounced Sa-woo-tee) Our friends here know how much we love them, and how every time they are in town or near town, we go to the concert. Last night was no different. We headed over to town hall with a bunch of our friends for a concert that this dancing group called God's Army was putting on. They are INCREDIBLE dancers and we love seeing them as well. The concert got off to a slow start, but we kept hanging in there knowing Sauti was coming up.
After about 2 hours of boredom, Sauti takes the stage, and we are as enthralled as ever. So much so, we decided we just had to go after, introduce ourselves, and find out how we can get a copy of their cd to bring back to canada! We met them and they were so nice and we exchanged "contacts" so that we can get a cd later. When they came back on for their second set they made our WEEK with a shout out before our favourite song..."This one goes out to Amy and Bethany!" So of course we had to stand up and dance and being the only white people in a group of 600, I think we may have stood out juuuuuust a little! Needless to say it was the best night. Ever.
Okay on a more serious note, we want to give you a quick update on whats going on in Kenya right now. On december 27th there was a presidential election. There was a lot of controversy over the election and accusations of a lack of transparency, fraud, and vote rigging. The new president, Mwai Kibaki, was sworn in less than an hour after the election results were posted, and there has been chaos ever since. Already 100,000 people have had to evacuate or flee their homes because of the violence, and the death toll has risen to 300; including 50 people seeking shelter in a church who were burned to death.
Just to put this in perspective: Kenya is one of the most stable countries in Africa. It has the biggest economy in East Africa, and black tea stocks (their biggest export) have already fallen 5%. Being in Nairobi feels exactly like being in Vancouver or Toronto...its a huge city with skyscrapers, nice cars, wealthy buisness-people, movie theaters, and restaurants. This is a really big deal for all of East Africa. Uganda gets all their petrol from Kenya and since the election, violence, and subsequent closing of the border, fuel prices have risen from 2500 shillings per litre to 8000 shillings per litre...about $4.85 per litre!! Needless to say we are doing a lot of walking...
The scariest part of all this is that the violence is exposing ethnic tensions, in particular between the Kikuyu, Kibaki's tribe, and the Luo, Odinga's tribe. In case that doesn't mean anything to you, its comparable to the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Rwandan genocide 15 years ago.
We just wanted you to know whats going on over in our neck of the woods, we are totally safe don't worry, but please just be in prayer for Kenya. Bloomburg.com has good articles if you want to learn more.
Until next time...