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Dear Friends,

'Tribalism is on the rise', was the heading that I saw on a newspaper recently. When my Kikuyu taxi driver in Nairobi recently heard me speak the Luo language on the phone he began telling me that the Luo are 'immature'. "They are very slow learners" he said "somewhat like children ...". A few days later a Luo working in Kikuyu-land told me his ethnicity meant that he was not being allowed to participate actively in his church. He wanted to leave and come home to Luoland as soon as possible - to be safe.

In years gone by people would joke that even someone married into a different tribe would want to run away to home if there was trouble. Now such concern has been proven founded - a few months ago Kikuyu women married into Luoland ran away as quickly as they could to save their lives. No mercy was shown. Their husband's property was liable to destruction. Almost certainly - many people are currently moving into their home ethnic areas while things are peaceful - rather than waiting for their property to be torched. They are less and less likely to settle in the homelands of other ethnicities.

Absolute calamity was averted at the start of this year by the formation of a coalition government. Historically, loose coalitions have often been formed in Kenya (the last in 2002), but they do not last. It is hard to see what will make this one last, if not sheer outside pressure. It seems outsiders are trying to 'buy' our warring factions into liking each other - a process that fat-cats in power rather enjoy, but that is of dubious long-term advantage.

Teaching is up and running in Yala, Siaya and Kima. Thanks for your prayers!

Please consider joining a 'vulnerable mission' conference in your area in 2009. See: Vulnerable Mission

Best wishes,