Kenya: Keeping hope alive

Originally published
By Stella Mapesa, Kenya Red Cross Volunteer

Tigoni Police Station became one of many camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) following post election violence. The police station became home to over 6,200 people who fled their homes in nearby tea farms where they had lived and worked for years. Many of the affected were women and children, who pondered about their next move.

Like many others across the country, the IDPs at Tigoni benefited from donations from Kenya Red Cross, which took control of the camp. It was a sigh of relief for many that had been sleeping in the open, as they received tents and family kits.

Priston Warera, 23, fled for his life from his house where he had lived while working as a tea picker. 'We were attacked and ran for our lives to this police station for safety,' said Warera. He sought assistance to go back to his ancestral home since he did not want to go back to the farm that he had worked for close to five years.

Seated under a tree is Monica Aluoch, a 39 year old expectant woman. 'I am not counting months or weeks, but days before I deliver, and therefore, I do not know what I will do when the time comes since I did not have anything with me,' she lamented. When she fled the farm where her husband worked, she did not have time to secure anything apart from her three children. 'I received food assistance from the Kenya Red Cross, and it is really difficult for me to ensure my three children are fed,' she said.

To ensure that the IDPs enjoyed basic sanitation, Kenya Red Cross set up mobile toilets at the station. Kenya Red Cross also pitched tents for the IDPs and ensured distributed relief food on a daily basis to the affected, as well as conducted psychosocial support to the vulnerable cases. Besides support from the Kenya Red Cross, the Nairobi Women's Hospital held a medical clinic at the station where most IDPs received free medical treatment. A group of politicians and area leaders consoled the displaced persons and urged for calm as a solution to the crisis was being sought.