My journey to Muhoroni...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday in Kericho

Wednesday and Thursday were very busy. I would come home when it was already dark. I was taking care of my malnutritioned boy who was left unnoticed in his hospital bed – abandoned, hungry, peed all over. Then I also needed to finish something in the centre before leaving for Nairobi.
My head was full of ideas about what we could be doing during education seminars with the Mums and about how we could organize visits in families in order to make them as efficient as possible for the children and their Mums.
I was consumed by work and I didn´t even have time to wash my clothes or the dishes (it´s not possible after it gets dark).
I wanted to slow down on Friday to gain energy. That didn´t happen.
Lost in translation I was first sitting in a car that was heading for Kericho and I had no clue why we were going there. I thought that whatever reason Sister Vincent has for going there, Kericho is beautiful and worth seeing. There are the classical tea plantations which are amazing especially if you view them from above.
Kericho is placed a little higher than Muhoroni (about 2000 metres above the sea level) but the cold air meant a pleasant change. When I found out that we were going to a mass for Father Jerry who was killed that morning, it felt as if Kericho fell under a spell in front of my eyes. I was not fascinated by it anymore, not even interested in it. Before we went to the church we stopped to have some tea. The Sister kept receiving phonecalls from her aquaintances and family, there were text messages coming from their common friends, they were asking her to come back home. Father Jerry was Irish and that may explain why they understood each other well. I met other Irish missionaries while having tea. All of them knew one another and they kept talking about what happened that morning. And about what an extraordinary man he was.
I was overwhelmed by the graveness of the moment. I felt that they lost a very precious friend.
Slowly the church filled with people. The church was his mission. He came there to build and church and start a new parish...
After the mass one of the domestic believers stood in the front and described what he saw – the bed, the blood, mangled body – pierced, tied up, the throat cut, bars on the window broken.
Afterwards we went to Father Jerry´s house. I don´t know why but I went inside with the rest of the people. Everything looked as if someone lived there but he didn´t anymore. Coffee. Opened bottle of wine, Bible on a little table, paper stuffed in the fireplace. I suppose I went there to caml myself down, to ensure myself that I was safe. But that didn´t work out. In the church his death was real but at his house it felt even more real.
On the way home we laughed a lot to subdue dark thoughts. But when I came home I broke down. It started to rain heavily (in the same way as during the night before) and I didn´t hear anything but its hammering on the roof. My nerves came loose and so did th tears. All of a sudden I realized what had happened. The safest place  - my bed – was the most vulnerable. I moved from one place to another, all of the lights and candles turned on. It was the first time that I closed all of the windows carefully and I tried not to be afraid. But the fear didn´t leave me.

I survived the most critical time (estimated hour of the burglary) half awake, half asleep. I finally fell asleep for real in the morning when the neighbours started to get up. The following night I decided to use sleeping pills.
The day before this happened I had been reading a text of one of the first Christian martyrs in the daily reading.
God´s protection for us is different from what I imagine. In the same way as his love. And life is so fragile. Unpredictable. Whatever happens with my life I am in His hands.
These past few days I have seen life. Life on dirt pressed down to make a floor. Acrid smoke in a hut that irritated my eyes and my lungs. Poverty under a straw roof. Brutality of people and Father Jerry´s death and unpredictability of our paths as well as those of God´s.
I have heard a lot about these paths, I have read about them, seen it on TV. But when I see it live, that poverty of my Mums and their children and that ability of man to be controlled by evil – it emphasizes the reality. I have been living in such world. Straw and dirt reminded me of Christmas. Poverty and evil. Christmass came here. That is why God came to us.

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