A Reflection from US Board Chair Matt Horn
Our hearts are filled with happiness and grief as we reflect upon the events of this past week. Michael Kimpur, Daylight Center and School Director, left Minnesota to fly back to Kenya this Monday. During his visit, Michael traveled to practically every corner of Minnesota sharing the story of Daylight with new and old friends.
Michael expressed on Sunday that he enjoyed every minute of it… whether it was learning about Minnesota politics in Slayton, hitching a ride on a semi truck in Halstead, reconnecting with past missions trip friends in Rochester and Stillwater, or attending his first ever book signing event in Minneapolis! The trip was a huge success!
However, a stark reminder confronted Michael when he returned to Kenya. When his plane landed he was told that a raid had taken place in a village where many Daylight students come from. Kenyan intelligence estimates that over 112 men, women, and children have been murdered this week as cattle rustling and tribalism erupted in Baringo county between the Turkana and Pokot tribes and 700 people have fled their homes in search of refuge.
Baringo county is more than a five hour drive from Daylight’s school campus through the mountains and down into the desert. Daylight Center and School is located in the highlands of West Pokot county which is separated from the inter-tribal violence driven by cattle rustling in the lowland, nomadic regions.
It was a raid like this one that seperated Michael Kimpur from his parents 30 years ago and today, villagers deep in the desert are still raiding each other, stealing cows, and often killing their owners. Children orphaned by these raids is why Daylight was created. However, Michael works closely with elders in Baringo county to recruit students from the numerous villages in this area and a good number of the children who attend Daylight are from the region.
Sadly, Daylight Kenya expects an increase in requests for room and board for children who have become orphaned as a result of this violence.
Three months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Baringo county with Michael and several friends. The harsh east Pokot sun beat down on us while a variety of goat, sheep, cattle, and camel sounds drifted over the barren landscape. We arrived at a watering hole early in the morning, hoping to connect with the mother of Pembe, one of Daylight Center and School’s third grade students.
As we sat waiting under the shade of a nearby tree, a crowd began gathering around andwe were able to spend significant time with some of the young east Pokot men and women. We exchanged stories, practiced our Pokot, played Frisbee, and laughed a lot. After four hours, Pembe’s mother arrived surprised that her youngest son had arrived to visit. She was ecstatic as she had not seen her son for over a year. Pembe spent three hours with his mother under the hot desert sun until it was time to say their goodbyes.
Michael shared with us today that Pembe’s mother’s village was one of the communities that was attacked by Turkana raiders this week.
Unfortunately, the information being reported at this time is incomplete and scattered. We will keep you posted as more details become available. Please keep those impacted by this violence in your prayers throughout this month. Please pray specifically for Michael as he works to advocate for peace in these communities. Also, continue to pray that the leaders and elders of the Pokot and Turkana communities would advocate for a strong and enduring peace between the communities.
If you would like to send an encouraging word to Michael and the Daylight staff they would surely appreciate it at this time. You can contact Michael at email@example.com
US Board Chair
Pictures taken in Baringo County, January 2015