These are the lively and crowded streets of Bondo, Kenya. This town is 7km from Matangwe where I taught school and rug hooking for a month and over 60 km from Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. I loved visiting Bondo — the market was full of activity with vendors selling produce and other goods. In the last post I shared pictures of the booths which lined the street with women (and a few men) sewing on treadle machines. The food market had any locally grown produce you could wish for — if you could afford it.
However, it only took a second for the bustling, lively shoppers to become a huge crowd blocking all traffic on the highway when a string of trucks and vans pulled into town with one of the ODM candidates. The candidate had a loud speaker system and he brought the crowd to cheers and jeers within minutes. It felt like it wouldn’t take much for this huge crowd to become a mob.
And now as it comes closer to March 4, election day, reports in the press of potential violence are becoming more frequent. No one wants a repeat of the violence of 2007. But I am holding my breath, worried about my friends as they face this event. The schools are closed for a week for the election. Let us all hope that the children and teachers can return to school next week unharmed by the corruption and violence that characterized the last election.
A delightful vicarious experience – photos and text gives us a sense of the rich adventure you have undertaken and thankfully chosen to share with the rest of us.