Friday, January 18, 2013

Kibera and Connecticut

There was a screening of a documentary about the 2007/2008 post-election violence at work today.  It was about how some group has been holding workshops to help heal the trauma of people who were most affected by the violence and how important that healing will be for peace.  It was riveting to see video footage of what it was like and to hear personal accounts of some of the residents of Kibera, one of the slums that had the worst of it.  But, I really didn’t want to write about politics – certainly not Kenyan politics, about which I understand so little.

I wanted to write about the mother who saw her son killed amidst the violence in Kibera.  She wailed uncontrollably.  Now, just about 5 years later, she was first beginning to let herself experience her grief.  It’s not so different from the mothers whose sons were killed in Connecticut.  And, here I am, mother of a son  – newly seven years old – just like the other 1st graders killed at school.  It’s impossible not to be deeply affected by any of this.  I’m in awe of what it must take to go on.

What I come back to over and over again, though, is how when it comes down to it – we are connected.  Whether you’re a Kikuyu mother living in the slum of Kibera or a middle class American mother in Connecticut – there is grief so immense it can swallow you whole. 

But then, there’s also the silly love song the people in Kibera were singing together to try to heal.  And there were the candles lit in Connecticut, neighbors side by side.  That spirit of hope and perseverence is the same, too. 

On September 11th around 11am I tried to get to the subway to leave Manhattan, but the trains weren’t running.  The crowds had been waiting there and waiting.. and waiting.  I asked the guy next to me why.  I’ll never forget what he said.  “Hope springs eternal.”

Whether it’s grief or hope – it’s in all of us. 
Sending out a prayer for all the mothers still grieving – may they find the hope.  Sending out a prayer that we each find a way to remember how we’re the same where it matters most.  And, I’m sending out a prayer for Kenya tonight – may there be peace.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Rhonda, for reminding us that we are all connected. Hope springs eternal, indeed. xoxo