Yesterday was crazy! It was supposed to be a casual drive into town, do some shopping, have a quick lunch, and head home. We started at 11:30 from home and I expected we’d be home around 2:30 to 3:00. But, God had something else in store.
On the way into town we noticed a large stretch of construction.
We did our normal routine of checking our PO Box, shopping at the local Nakumat, and making a few random stops into small local shops to find vegetable seeds. Our final stop was to get a package that I had ordered that will boost our 3G connection. I’m so excited to get it mounted and working!
On the way out of town, on the main road, we saw wires laying across the road. It looked like a power pole had fallen; needless to say, traffic was stopped! We crept forward and realized NOBODY was moving, so concerned we’d get stuck in a traffic jam, we quickly darted across the road to get around this issue.
As we came around the corner we saw a group of people with clubs, pieces of lumber with nails in them, and they didn’t look happy! It was a riot!
After a few miles of driving around back roads to get around that jam, we realized there were no easy ways around it. We had to either figure a way through it or take a VERY long and rough road back home. Either way, it wasn’t going to be easy.
I was in charge of the google maps on my phone to try to help. But, as typical Kenyan roads go, a “road” on a map may only be a foot trail or a motorbike path…both are considered “roads.” Needless to say, I wasn’t successful in getting us out quickly.
In fact, at one time, we were only three cars from getting to the main road and getting through. Even the locals thought they could get through. But, within about a 2 minute period, where we had access to a few “escape routes”, we had become fully trapped with only one road leading us out. Large rocks and logs were drug in and lit on fire. As the only white people in the area, we could easily become a target for those caught up in the unrest.
We dashed between trucks, through massive pot holes, and made our way through town. Gas is getting low…but we didn’t dare stop! As we safely made it out of town (the opposite direction we wanted to go) we found a gas station. We made our way down the road, intending to take a VERY long way home, when we came upon a police officer. Without the two-way radio that he could talk to other officers, he wasn’t aware there was a riot starting in town! He recommended we turn around.
Crazy thing is…we did as he instructed! We headed right back into the mess…but we had a plan and directions to get around this mess. Coming into town, we say huge billows of black smoke–we believe they were lighting cars on fire! As we were going through town, we were only a few turns away from making our escape, when it turned CRAZY!
A crowd of people came running upon us from the front. Motorbikes were flying through the crowd honking their horns. Marc punched it and crossed traffic, dodged between a few cars, a motorbike came flying in front of us and went down with a crash, people had rocks and sticks, yelling and chaos was everywhere. Suddenly I heard a large BOOM—people were ducking and getting into the local shops, cars and motorbikes continued to speed away and try to get to safety.
It was amazing how Marc kept his foot on the gas and we zigzagged around all sorts of issues; it was like the waters were parting—ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that smooth…it may have only been that ALL traffic was driving frantically way like we were!
In the end, we got out of town, as was our original plan, on the opposite side of town, found a rough road to Mt. Elgon, and started our way home. It was a VERY out-of-the-way drive home, but it was nice to be out of the mess.
A few days later, one of our brothers needed to go into town to get supplies for his new shop. I warned him of the mess we had experienced. He pointed to his shoes and shirt and said, “that’s why I’m wearing these!” as he pumped his arms like he was running—he was wearing a cool shirt and tennis shoes.
When he came back, he told me the riot was over the government coming in and destroying buildings where the farmer’s market was held—this is where thousands come to purchase their goods from miles and miles away! These buildings weren’t built within code—they were considered “in the road way” and torn down because the government is coming through to build a better and wider road.
It’s a slow process, but the town is recovering. I’m just glad that God protected us as we drove. I kept Bekah informed all the way as she met with local friends to pray. God is good!
I want to take this time to remind you to pray for us here in Kenya. Physical danger is not our only challenge, witchcraft, weather, sickness, disease….it’s all here! It’s been an amazing journey so far and I am thankful for family and friends who have been praying!
And, for those wondering, my “excitement” happened the same day the Garissa event happened. We were NOT a part of that event. It was only coincidental that both happened on the same day.