“Seek justice…”

Here’s a news report of one of our cases in today’s paper.  I’m so stoked that this story got in – we worked hard and late to send it in just in time.

I haven’t as yet met our client, but I was at the court on Tuesday, holding her mum’s hand as we waited for the judgment to be read.  Normally, pretty strong Mama Laila* was beside herself with tears. 

It was read out in the magistrate’s chambers, so we had to wait outside until our lawyer came out with the news.  Much hard work and prayer went into this case and we are grateful for the result!

*Real name withheld to protect the client.

Appreciation

/əpriːʃɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n, -sɪ-/ The recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something

Two months into my time here and on the “Culture Shock” diagram, I’m probably towards the tail end of the “honeymoon phase”.  It is a good thing, because I want to enjoy and celebrate what is good, but also to recognise what is not good or uncomfortable and hold it in tension.  Just like in every country, there exists beauty in the madness and madness in the beauty.

Madness in the beauty: Ah, smooth, flat road.  How exciting!  Major construction is going on and new roads are appearing before our eyes.  However, the traffic is still insane and now there are giant ditches in front of my apartment block.  With the rains and water pipes that have been busted, they have turned into lakes that could submerge a crocodile without anyone knowing.

Beauty in the Madness: The rickety short-cut road behind the office routinely turns into a stream every time the air becomes moist.  This transforms a short walk home into a precarious river crossing.  On Thursday I managed to save two people from drowning!  Ok… so I really just saved their shoes from drowning.  In my trusty gumboots from Bata, I stood in the stream (the water was calf high!!) whilst holding a stranger’s hand as they balanced on the semi-submerged stepping stones.  They got to where they needed to be, and I felt less goofy for turning up to work in gumboots.

Life is beautiful

Here are some shots from our visit on Saturday to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – an elephant orphanage, about an hour away from where I live.  They were too cute.  Being in places like this makes me appreciate God’s creation.

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Later that evening, we were treated to some seriously good food and good hospitality at my work mate’s house.

I can’t stop smiling

A STUNNING email came in from a cop last week after our training session at the natinonal police training college 2 weeks ago.  He was so thankful for the workshop and felt excited to get out and arrest more CSA perpetrators.  I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day.

We also paid a visit to a police officer who had recently given birth to her first child.  This particular cop has been a great support to us at IJM Kenya.  The investigative work she does is top quality.  She was also seriously stoked to see us.  Warm fuzzies right there.


Blog tag!

On Monday Scott, the Communications intern in Uganda visited our office.  He was in Kenya over the weekend for a visa run AND because the following day was International Women’s Day – a public holiday in Uganda!  Kenya doesn’t.  Sup wit dat?! 

Anyway – I’m going to tag Scott and let him tell you what we got up to (and also what he did when he wasn’t with us!).

Lately, I’ve been writing plenty of blog posts in my head and procrastinating about getting them down on…. electronic paper….  Hmm…

Anyway, below is a note about two judgements last week that happened the cases of two of my clients.  A reminder of why we do what we do.

Do you speak my language?

The answer is no, I really don’t speak your language. 

Last week, we had a celebration lunch for two of our CSA (child sexual violence) clients and their families at the office.  Everyone in the room had to introduce themselves…. in Swahili.  Currently my grasp of the language is limited to “what’s the news?”, “no”, “thank you very much” and “good bye”.  None of those phrases were useful that afternoon.  Thankfully, I was one of the last ones to speak, so I just copied my work mates and inserte my name, where their name would be.  Guess I had better open that Kiswahili book a bit more. 🙂

Having said that, the celebration was somewhat happy, yet the stark reality of how our clients have suffered cannot be ignored.  As glad as I am that the perpetrators are now behind bars, I still felt sad and even angry for these girls.  God’s little princesses… harmed.  You don’t need language to figure this out.

Communication is a fascinating thing and it transcends intelligible words.  Like the smiling greetings I exchange with the guards at my compound and at work.  Or the evil eye an old mama gives me as I walk to work with my skirt slightly above my knee.

Pictures also transcend words, but for now pictures have been temporarily put on hold.  I was fortunate enough to attend a concert last weekend – some Nigerian musicians.  At the same time I was unfortunate enough to be met by pick-pockets twice that night.  My camera and personal phone are now safely in possession of… somebody else. 😦

That being said, I had an awesome night dancing as if I would die the next day.  It was also nice being in an environment where people screamed for joy at the mention of Nigerians instead of roll their eyes or complain about fraud.  What a difference!

Elliot & Vicky arrived from Wellington two weeks ago and Elliot has just completed his first week at the office.  I’m actually smiling as I write this, because it’s SO lovely to hear another Kiwi accent around me.  Whilst waiting for an apartment to become available they stayed with us for a few days.  I noticed my self breaking out more Kiwi slang words that made perfect sense to us (“sweet-as”, “cool-as”, “keen-as”, “yeah, nah but…”), but was just plain weird to my American flatmate.  This has just given me a deeper appreciation for the joy people feel when finding someone who speaks their mother tongue.