Lucy Awino: “I pray that things will go back to how they were before”

Lucy Awino, 40, moved to Limuru, 35km northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, in 1975. The town is dominated by President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu ethnic group. She is a Luo from western Kenya, the same ethnic group as the leader of the opposition, Raila Odinga. When violence broke out after the disputed presidential election results, Kikuyu gangs began targeting non-Kikuyus in the area, including Lucy and her seven children.
 
"I was staying at a place called Farmers in Limuru town. At about 3pm on Sunday, a mob of men came to my house with machetes. There were more than 20 of them. They said we Luos are Raila’s people and we should come out of our houses and go back to Kisumu. They went door to door asking people what tribe they were. They told me to get out.
 
"With all the commotion, the police came. My two-year-old heard their gunshots and ran into the neighbour's house. The police brought us here to the police station. We've been given blankets but it's cold. This is a field we are sleeping in, not a house.
 
"After three days I went home. Everything was still there. I brought clothes, cooking equipment and blankets. When I went home, Kikuyu women who were my neighbours called the men and said: "The Luos have come back." I thought they were my friends but they are bad people.
 
"This war was a surprise to me. These problems were brought by two people – Raila [Odinga] and Kibaki. I pray that things will go back to how they were before.
 
"I don't know how my life will be. If I get means I will go back to Siaya [in western Nyanza province] to my husband's family home. My husband is in jail. He's been there for two years. But I don't have the money. It's 1,100 shillings a seat. I have seven children. We are three adults – myself, my 20-year-old and 17-year-old – and five children – twins of 13, a 10-year-old, seven-year-old and two-year-old. I don't know how much it would cost. I used to make about 1,500 shillings a week selling fish. But I can't go back to it now because this war could come back again. If I go to Siaya, I will farm. I have some land with maize, beans, sweet potatoes, cassava and yams."
 
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