In this posting – You can read about:
Action against Malaria
Words that Don’t Exist
Respons to Violence and Revenge
Christmas Gift of the Year – It can be Yours!
Following long periods of drought in the tropics, as the one in Kenya which lasted almost about a year, people’s natural immune system against malaria and other infections tend to weaken. But with the rains and the return of water patches and pans, the little larvae buggers will hatch in millions. When we landed in Loki at the end of September, these small, dark and nasty – also silent – mosquitoes were in full swing of transmitting the malaria parasite between humans. The situation was like a real epidemics. Many were sick and people died as they didn’t come under treatment soon enough. We lost two of our dear young boys at the school. How tragic!
Limited Life Span
Sleeping under a treated mosquito net is one of the best ways of reducing the risk of contracting malaria. And the greater the number of nets within a certain radius the better the counter attack against the malaria infected mosquitos. But – many of the around 4,000 nets which we distributed about 5 years ago in the Lokichoggio area have been effectively worn out in this harsh environment. The WHO reckons that the life span of a treated net is maximum 5 years in similar environments.
Children’s Mission and other generous givers responded swiftly when we shared about the situation. Apart from helping sick people to get proper treatment we were also able to buy 950 nets which were distributed in 13 different locations to 73 households per location. The beneficiaries were especially elderly, children and breast feeding mothers. Our colleagues in LEDO did a tremendous job and got the distribution organized swiftly. 13×73 = 949. The very last net was given to little Logisa, a young boy with epilepsi. He often falls and hurts himself. Hence the scars on his face. Poor little Logisa!
Words that Don’t Exist
Maureen, one of our faithful and dedicated co-workers noted that hardly anyone of the beneficiaries of the nets had a word of thanks or showed any kind of appreciation. Some of them even snatched their net-bag out of the hands of our staff, then just turned around and left. Maureen is from another part of Kenya and has grown up learning to say thanks, sorry, forgive me etc. – No, there is no word in the Turkana language for thanks and sorry! Joseph told her. – But is there no way of expressing appreciation and thankfulness? – Yes, said Areman, the person who may have been given something or has been encouraged, could eventually turn to a friend later on and say: – Such and such a person is very nice and kind! How different!
A Night of Horror
Massacre at a school! We Swedes usually only read and hear about this happening in far away places like the US etc… But on 14 October at 02.00 a.m. this happened just a 100 meters away from our house. A round of shots cracking the silence and then horrific screams of young voices. Then a looming silence for about 15-20 minutes followed by another round of shots and heartbreaking screams echoing in the dark. It sounded almost like the firing happened outside our bedroom window. Birgitta’s whole body was shaking as we clung to each other in our bed. Shooting in the night happens every now and then, almost exclusively as raiders are trying to steal live stock from one another. But this was surely different! Our four young volunteer girls from Sweden in the house behind ours had crawled up in the same bed. We kept in touch with SMS. And our friends Eva-Marie and George were in the guest apartment. Would these perpetrators enter our compound? What was this shooting and screaming all about? This horror went on for 2 long hours and then all of a sudden we heard a motorcycle take off. Shortly thereafter vehicles arrived and more and more voices were heard in the night.
A Former Child Soldier?
Just after 4 a.m. I called Joseph, my colleague who lives in the other end of town. He didn’t hesitate to get on his feet to come and find out what was going on. And before long he called and said that there had been a massacre at the temporary secondary school, which is just on the other side of the fence from our compound. 6-7 boys had been killed plus the night guard, girls had been raped and many students were injured. Shortly before 7 I went to the clinic, which is also just in the vicinity and then to the school. The account of the event which was gradually unfolding was about one of the students, a former SPLA-warrior from Sudan, who had been sent home for a week due to unruly behavior, having had fights with other students and this had been reported to the principle of the school. At some point he had said that: – I will be back…!
Lynching and Revenge
And he came back! Bringing with him 3 other men, making their way through a hole in the fence and then unleashing the horror attack on the young students at the Lokichoggio Secondary School! Some two hours later the main suspect took off on a motorcycle (which we heard) to Kakuma and the huge refugee camp some 90 km away trying to hide among his country men. But if you have a mobile phone and you use it, you can be traced! He was apprehended by the police but somehow a hord of angry Turkana people managed to get a hold of the man, drag him out, have him stoned and then to set the body on fire!
As this revenge wasn’t enough! In Loki, the same Saturday, two different compounds where South Sudanese midwifery and bible school students respectively were being trained, were attacked, vandalized and partly looted by young Turkana warriors. All the students had to flee, some of them evacuated by UN.
Flight for Life
My wife would ask some of our friends: – Wouldn’t it be better if the culprit could have been taken to court and be properly prosecuted? – But the answer was almost unanimously: – No, he would just find somebody to pay enough bribe to wring him out of the grip of justice! People generally have little or no trust in the justice system and the police here! The chief of Security (police) was apparently sleeping after having been out drinking the evening before, and although his camp is only some few hundred meters away, and the officers must have heard the shooting just as we did, it took over two hours before they came to rescue. And then it was too late of course! People were ready to lynch even the chief of Security and he had to get out of Loki in a hurry in order to save his life!
In this culture of violence and revenge – there is a remedy which can cause change: Education and the Gospel – the good news of reconciliation, forgiveness and restoration through Christ Jesus.
And we are honored to be able to work with this ”remedy” year after year through our school with more than 550 children, through the twice weekly village meetings where Birgitta is teaching and coaching young men and women how to share the gospel with people in the community and other activities and projects. Now Birigitta has also brought the old flanellograf as a means to visualize and illustrate. The other day the subject was ”The Good Shepherd” and that goes well in the Turkana culture where so many are still pastoralists.
Here is Your Secondary Education!
That the Gospel and faith in Jesus can change people, we do have numerous examples of. Joseph, one of our close co-workers, shared his life story with us earlier this year. Following primary schooling, when he was living with his grandmother, because his parents were out in the bush, he spent several weeks searching for his father in order to ask for support to continue to secondary school. When he finally found him, his dad thrusted an AK47 into his arms and said: Here is your secondary education! Go and learn how to fight, to raid and fend for yourself! And so he did. He got together with other young men, learning how to use his gun, how to go after the enemies’ livestock etc. Several years later, following a raid where his best friend was killed and he himself had killed two enemies, being shot at and injured, he came to himself and said: – Enough of this! He returned to his dad, handed him back the gun, showed him his wounded hand and said: – Look here what you have given me! – I could even have been killed. Is that what you desire for my life?
Joseph left his father’s household, went to look for a pastor in a church, prayed to God for forgiveness and invited Jesus into his life. And this pastor mentored and coached the young believer. Just some weeks ago Joseph set for his KCPE, Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, with ambitions to be able to continue his academic career!
The Christmas Gift of the Year
For all of us who have all we need and even more (with or without the Christmas Gift of the Year), Birgitta and I have a much better suggestion for a Christmas Gift – which will make a difference hundredfold:
Our Greenhouse has been a tremendous blessing over the years where we’ve been able to grow extra nutrients for our school children and even selling some surplus produce on the local market to bring some income back to the school. But following years of exposure to strong winds and scorching sun in this harsh environment, the cover is about to tear beyond repair (We have mended it continuously over the years).
The Israeli manufacturer has now developed an improved cover and accessories which is due to last much longer than the present one, even in the Loki semi-desert! And we’re in a desperate need to renovate our Greenhouse with this improved solution.
Cost of the renovation: $ 2700
– And there is an Easy and Low Cost Way and in which You can be part of this, by sending your Christmas Gift of the Year via Worldremit – see https://www.worldremit.com
Just send it to the LEDO Mpesa account, phone number: +254 707 799 878 and send us a note on our project mail: ledoloki(at)gmail.com.
God Bless You!
Let’s finish with our warmest greetings from us and our teams in Loki. Some pictures will follow from what we’re up to and what has transpired over the last few weeks.
Yours in Him
KeA & Birgitta
Trip to Israel. A dream came true. Beginning of November we took a break from the Loki-work and traveled to Israel to join up with some good friends from France, Rachel and Eric Metz. They are frequent visitors to the country and were our committed and excellent guides. And I had a chance to revisit the Kibbutz Ginossar where I worked in the banana plantations a summer, 49 years ago, one year after the 6-days war! Somewhat an unreal experience!