This 23rd of December has ushered in a feeling of holiday, of celebration and cheer. At this time the Kenyan spirit goes on the overdrive, becomes forgiving , joyful and generous. This xmass will go down as one of the most difficult yet in the country's history. I saw yesterday that even the malls are not as packed with funfair as the yesteryears when we were experiencing a boom. The media houses have also done well to highlight the plight of those who urgently need our help. especially the IDPs. In fact me thinks that such exposes are some of the reasons why media houses are having problems with the MPs. No one wants to be reminded of his torn underwear when he has a smart suit on. No one wants to be reminded of the louse in his hair when he has just colored his hair. Like Kodhek told me many years ago, people will always hate you if you make them soul search and feel guilty. But showing IDPs every day keeps on reminding us all that we have critical unfinished business.
I was especially touched when I read that the IDPs themselves had organized themselves to donate food to some abducted children. Its the highest point of generosity and human triumph.
This xmass period of giving also reminds me of an old woman in Kisumu's Nyalenda whom we used to visit and support with our youth group. She was listed as one of the very needy people in the church parish and every Sunday there was a ration of food and drink for her upkeep. Every so often we used to visit her, clean her house, sing and pray with her and so on. She was very needy and did not have close relatives. However when she died and we went to arrange for her burial, we were shocked to find close to 10,000 shillings in 100 /= notes, stacked away under her mattress! Many people were actually annoyed and called her mean, greedy and many other uncharitable names. However I learnt from the lady one vital lesson. that material gifts were all very good but that's not all that one needs. Probably the lady showed the poor side in order to attract attention and get company every so often. This Xmass may just be a time for that. yes inflation has eroded our power to give material support to those who need us but our time or ear for them may just be much more valuable.
I wish you all a merry xmass celebration in whichever way you want to have it and a happy new peaceful and booming year 2009.