Kenya: Volunteers' day out

News and Press Release
Originally published
By Ngunga Ngao, Kenya Red Cross Volunteer

The post election violence that rocked the country in the last one month has led to a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 300,000 people in most parts of the country. There have been reports of deaths, injuries, psychological trauma and property destruction. The Kenya Red Cross has and will continue to provide food, clothing, temporary shelter, Tracing services, water, sanitation, counseling, among other services, during this time of need.

Kenya Red Cross plays a crucial role of easing the suffering of the affected, relying heavily on support from volunteers. Working as volunteers calls for sacrifice, courage, commitment, selflessness and determination.

Volunteer experiences

'It is hard to imagine,' said Liz Juma, a Kenya Red Cross volunteer, 'that there are thousands of IDPs at the Huruma Chief's Camp in Nairobi, including children who have been separated from their parents.' Liz added that she was emotionally disturbed by the thought of children sleeping out in the cold.

She went further to elucidate how food distribution was a challenge at the camp. 'Controlling the crowd was not easy either, and the assistance of the local administration was therefore necessary,' she said. The local administration helped to control the crowds, but was overpowered by surging crowds of needy people to an extent that the relief team had to reschedule the distribution.

At a rescue and First Aid mission in Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi, Phillip Kanyingi's accounts of the events of the day were too scary. Scenes of people who had lost their lives in unfortunate circumstances were too disturbing and traumatising. At one point, this First Aid rescue team had to be fearless in their efforts of saving a severely injured man. They managed to rescue the man and rushed him to the Kenyatta National Hospital.

At the Tigoni camp in Limuru, volunteer Tabitha Mutua shared a rather welcoming story. On arrival at the camp, children came towards them yelling, 'you are our hope, our future and our only caring guardian...'

Beneficiaries at the Fuata Nyayo IDP camp located in the outskirts of South 'B' Estate in Nairobi responded extremely well to the Kenya Red Cross volunteer spirit. Caroline Ndunge explains; 'I have never seen this before, the food was enough, there was order and every one got more than one round of the share.' The degree of satisfaction could not be withheld when shouts rent the air in the camp, saying 'Bravo Kenya Red Cross... that is a job well done!'

The immense responsibilities entrusted to volunteers can only be ascertained by their positive approach in serving humanity. 'My sacrifice as a volunteer is the best I can offer in serving humanity,' said volunteer Boniface Odhiambo, adding that Kenya Red Cross is the only hope for the future of the affected people. The Kenya Red Cross response to the humanitarian crisis has been well received by the beneficiaries countrywide who have appealed to the agency to continue supporting them with food and other relief items for as long as they are needy.