I had dinner with a friend the other night. We both come from the land of misfit toys. We still believe we can make a difference in Africa, but it is getting harder and harder to explain ourselves to our peers. Going to places where grenades go off and people are routinely killed with machetes is not for the AARP set.
It goes from bad to worse these days. I follow Kenya the most since that is where we are working. But South Sudan is up there, as is Somalia. Corruption in governments, tribal differences killing men women and children. This week has been particularly disturbing.
Last week I called out saying that childbirth should not kill. This week, not only are more women dying in childbirth in Kenya than ever before, but also the reason is almost incomprehensible. 25,000 health workers went on strike. The government in their own insanity then fired them all and tried to get retired workers to take their places.
They don’t have enough health workers or equipment with or without the strikers. And the situation only worsens as the days go by. Healthcare in developing countries is a crapshoot at best but in Kenya right now it’s a shot with a 38.
This week the Nairobi bus station was also hit with grenades. Nine are dead many injured. Kind of tough to have that happen when there is no one in the hospital to take care of the victims. That was due to El Shabbab. CNN indicated it was the beginning of tribal violence, which sent Kenyan Bloggers into rocket land. How dare CNN call this tribal wars? It’s bad for tourism to say that, even though it’s true
The very next day Kenya’s paper reported Odinga (the Prime Minister) speaking out about tribal animosities and their danger as elections come near. All of Kenya and many of us who were stuck in the violence remember that. Things simmer so close to the surface over there. I’m not optimistic about elections there (or in the US for that matter).
So why will I return as soon as I can? Even a misfit toy doesn’t want to lose its stuffing. I go because I can’t imagine giving up. I think there need to be some stalwarts who will go and try and help because turning their heads and running in the opposite direction won’t make the problems go away. I go because maybe just maybe one life will be changed because I went.