Dingy dwelling, moribund health care system, lack of proper sanitation, insecurity, impoverishment and diseases are just but a few of a cocktail of challenges that most Internally Displaced Persons, commonly referred to as IDPs, have to live through, mostly in camps. This was the case in some parts of Kenya when the country found itself having descended into social unrest prompted by election discrepancies and catapulted by a political impasse.
It was an ominous moment in the history of the East African nation as its “Cradle of Mankind” turned against each other like a ravenous lion looking to satiate its hunger on a prey. The events that followed were so gross that most Kenyans would want to forget the soonest. But they cannot. Among the affected were children who were caught in the midst of a violence they had come to be greatly involved in, albeit passively and sometimes actively, not knowing what they had done to deserve reject, loathe and sometimes death. The all-important education became a luxurious offer in the minds of the children and their parents as everyone was caught in deep thought on whether or not the heralds of dawn would catch them not only awake, but also alive. In the camps, some children, not knowing what had hit them kept on playing in dust and sometimes under searing heat and in empty stomachs.
The little ones who could not play innocently pleasured in comfort on their mother’s backs, oblivious of what had happened. The traumatic events the children had witnessed during the period were deeply squashed in their minds. Some found themselves drawing images that best reflected what they had witnessed but wished they had only learnt in classrooms, or better yet, dreamt of. Images of a machete slicing through a person’s neck or a stone landing on one’s body were synonymous in most drawings. The displacement did not only drive them away from their homes but put their education into jeopardy as most never knew when they would resume classes. In the camps, just like their parents, they were exposed to the cruelties of the earth ranging from malnutrition to diseases to freezing cold in the night and sweltering heat in the day.
The only thing that kept them alive was hope. Hope that some day their government or someone would come to their rescue and haul them off the nightmarish experience. provinces.