Sunday, April 20, 2008


Many of you have inquired as to the security in Kenya. While traveling always involves risks, I do not feel unsafe here. I face little to no threat from the post-election violence. Mombasa was actually an island (literally and figuratively) of safety during the instability. Mombasa does not have the ethnic groups that were primarily responsible for the violence, so most of the demonstrations were political and most of the violence was over-retaliation by the police. There was some looting and stone-throwing, but this occurred in a relatively predictable and focused manner; most rioting occurred when the local Members of Parliament were around and would disperse around noon when they left.

One amusing story has to do with the looting. There was some opportunistic looting following the elections and several shops were broken into. The story goes that some disgruntled shopkeepers started a rumor that a witch had cursed all of the looted goods. One looter was running away with a television on his head when the witch cursed him, and the television got stuck to his head! So you should really return any looted goods, before the witch curses you, too!
The amazing thing is that a lot of the looted goods were actually returned. There is a quote by the police chief in the paper saying, “If only it were this easy everywhere…”

(If I ever see the man with the TV stuck to his head, I promise that I will take a picture).

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