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Local Resident Reflects on Kenyan Experience

Original post made by Brielle Schaeffer, Portola Valley: Ladera, on Mar 13, 2008

On the walls of the Konditorei café in Portola Valley, there are pictures of another world. Women completing their daily chores, with bright clothing and even brighter smiles, and Vibrant-blue boxes propped next to them on rocks. This is the world Portola Valley resident, Paige Fulkerson, remembers before the conflict.

Over 300,000 Kenyans have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the political turmoil which erupted in Kenya in December of last year. Communities have been scattered; families, friends and neighbors have been separated; lives and livelihoods have been disrupted, and many schools have been closed. Thousands of people are living in makeshift camps and shelters.

In May 2007, Paige, a nine-year resident of Portola Valley, traveled to rural Kenya in June 2007 to work with the Freeplay Foundation, a non-profit organization that delivers solar-powered radios to people in Africa, to distribute 10,000 radios to rural Kenyans. Her photos show the peaceful stability of Kenya, a friendly and loving culture of people content with their lives. Her photos show what Kenya was and what Kenya can be again.

The Freeplay Foundation is helping the Kenyan people by delivering information via radios. Displaced people desperately need information that will help them survive in a period of upheaval - where to find lost family members and friends; how to replace destroyed documents; how to get access to food, clothing and other support.

Radio is the most widely used communications medium in Kenya. Freeplay Foundation's Lifeline solar powered and wind-up radio provides 24/7 access to news and information. It is both cost-effective and efficient - ideal for group listening, its powerful speakers can reach up to 40 people at a time; it does not need batteries, which people can ill afford. The Freeplay Foundation has received many requests for additional Lifeline radios for distribution to internally displaced Kenyans. People are in urgent need of access to reliable information about the events unfolding in their country, how to replace lost documents, health issues, educational issues if their children are now out of school, to mention a few.

This photo display will be in the Konditorei until April 30. All photos are for sale and the proceeds will be donated to the Freeplay Foundation in order to supply more radios to Kenya.


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