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Leaving Nairobi

After lots of back and forth and mental anguish for me I have decided to head back to Johannesburg where I’m currently based. It’s been a tough day. I’m from a multi-ethnic background and I feel like I’m being hit on all sides – family stranded in Kericho, no word from family in Kisumu and Western, in-laws under siege in Nakuru, relatives businesses being looted at the Coast, my mother emptying out her two stalls at Kenyatta market and carrying out things in plastic bags and duffel bags because mobs have threatened to burn down the market tomorrow – that’s her livelihood – it’s bad enough that she’s had no business for most of December. We are all feeling so helpless and are reduced to platitudes like “let’s hope for the best” and all “we can do is pray” and “it will end soon” and “these guys need to do something” but all we are doing is masking our fear that we are on a precipice.

I leave tomorrow afternoon, if we get to the airport OK. I have practically changed my ticket three times. That’s how conflicted I am.

I LOVE Kenya. That’s the only reason I’ve spent the last week practically chained to my laptop so that I can chronicle the unfolding events and keep folks who have no access to information updated. But like many of you out there, I find myself living a dual life for professional and personal reasons. And I’m battling with the feeling that I am leaving Nairobi just when I am needed here the most (actually I am).

After a sleepless night last night, I came to the conclusion that though I could push the limits, as a parent, I have to put my child’s safety above my passion (she better not talk back when she’s a teenager!).

I will continue blogging events from Joburg and will try and get back to Nairobi in a few weeks once my guys are situated at home.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words of encouragement and support, for sharing your stories (keep them coming), for sharing your opinions, for tolerating my draconian stance about comments (trust me I’d rather not have to moderate, it’s not an easy task), and for reminding me why I love Kenya so much even at its ugliest.

112 comments to Leaving Nairobi

  • UK Kenyan

    Godspeed Ori

    Your contribution to us was priceless.

    Have a safe journey :smile:

  • Laura

    Hamba Kahle! And thank YOU. Thank YOU, to you and all the other bloggers for all the work you have done, in the past and now. We appreciate your dedication and efforts, more so us in the diaspora who have been starved of real time news. I hope members of your family in all the different parts of this our will remain unscathed from this madness that has befallen us.

  • Paul

    You have a child and your childs safety must be your first concern. Stay safe. Beannacht De ort

  • Lisa, California

    Ory, Even though I am in the United States and not affected at all by any of this. I am a concerned world citizen that only wants the best for Kenya and all the people of Africa. I have followed your stories upon hearing about your site, through an African wildlife conseration site. As a Mother myself, I believe you are doing the right thing by putting your family first and seeking safer ground. I honestly can’t imagine being faced with any of this and my heart goes out to you, your family and friends and to all the people of Africa. I wish you well and a safe a journey. I hope your Mother stays safe as well, and am very sad to hear of her situation. She is lucky to have you, that is for sure. Take care and hope to hear more from you very soon. Lisa

  • Wamuyu

    Hi Kid sis,
    How far we’ve come, huh?
    Your blog has been invaluable. I know how hard it is for you to leave but you have to put baby first. Thank you, and everyone else who is blogging on the ground for staying engaged. I’m getting crying jags whenever I sit still enough to think about Kenya and how this is tearing each Kenyan apart, in the most human place in our hearts and minds.
    Safe journey and God’s blessings.

  • Clive

    You have shed light on this exceedingly dark chapter of Kenya’s history. We appreciate the great service you volunteered to keep especially those outside Kenya informed at your family’s expense. All the best as you leave, and keep safe. You are a true patriot and you ought to be proud of your now world renown contribution (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/02/wkenya502.xml) to Kenya especially while the media blackout lasts. Godspeed!

  • Ari

    You are a true daughter of the soil. Through you some light has been able to penetrate the confusion and heat most media have blinded us with. The passionate yet balanced way you have blogged the sad events of the last few days is a reminder of the promise of our country and people beyond the jingoistic posturing of our leaders. Hongera.
    Thank you, and yes your child and family are of primary importance.

  • Abdi

    Good decision. Stay safe. Your updates were world class.

  • Bonnie

    Hi Ory:

    We previoulsy comunicated when I was in law school at University of Maryland, and I have followed your blog even after you left the U.S. After the news of all the events in Keyna, you were on my mind all day…more precisely, I wondered about the safety of you and your daughter. May the force protect you and your family.
    Thanks for your blog; in the U.S.A the primaries and events in Pakistan have overshadowed events in Kenya.

    As we say in the Caribbean, “Walk Good.”

  • tnk


    you can get some updates also from here


    kibaki must be made to resign

  • JKE

    Happy New Year to you, btw!

    I wish we can soon wish this to everyone out there. Thank You for providing us with the updates during these hectic days.

  • Izzy

    Go well, Ory, you trusted your instincts, and you know what’s best for you. Thanks for the job well done. I will miss your updates.

  • C

    I live in Kansas – with my family in Eld ( they are safe) having little or no access to news, your Blog was one of the constant sources of Info. Saying thanks for your time, dedication and voice at this time is not enough – But its the least I/We can say. All the best!

  • Rottuk

    Thank you very much Ory. Your blog has given me a real update of the unfolding story from kenya. I admire your commitment. KEEP PRAYING FOR PEACE.
    At this historical defining moment I believe that as kenyans we shoulc know that it is not a matter of choosingbetween KIBAKI OR RAILA…but rather we should focus on UZALENDO NA TRUE NATION BUILDING (KENYA). we should all seek avenues of building bridges to peace, reconciliation and Justice.
    Wish you well in all that you blessed new year.

  • Linda O

    All the best Ory! Thanks for your patience with all of us out here in the diaspora and mingi thanks for your energies and efforts! You went above and beyond.

    Wishing you and your family God’s Blessings during these trying times! Safe travels and we pray for safety and peace for you guys in SA too.

  • Jim

    I will miss you. You have been a great source of information for me as I tried to direct my 2 children in Kenya to a safe place. Thanks so much. Enjoy your family! You have earned the break and they need you.

  • Flora K.

    Ory safe travails to your family and you. At this point I feel that both candidates are totally undeserving of the seat. We must recognize that the country beolngs to us…we the citizens are the majority …great job covering this sad time in our nation’s history. I was following your blog and will continue to check in.

  • Godspeed, Ory, and many thanks for your diligent coverage.

  • Kenyan damu

    Two things Ory:

    a) Have a safe trip.
    b) Do read the story “RAILA TAKES THE LEAD IN SEARCH FOR A WAY FORWARD” in the E.A. Standard. I believe his main proposals will work:

    – He has offered to drop his Kibaki must resign before we talk demand.
    -He is willing to take part in an interim govt. of no longer than 3 months as a new presidential election is organised.

    I too still maintain that a new presidential election is the way forward. According to the press, the 16A forms have disappeared mysteriously from the KICC safe that was housing them.

    Will Kibaki listen?

  • Steve


    For more than a week you have been eyes and ears of the ground for my family and I out here in the Great White North and I have to the thank you for keeping us up to date on developments back home.

    All the best and God bless. Thank you so very much for everything.

    – Steve

  • PAO


    You have kept most of us so well informed in a way that no other source of news median has. Through your blogg Kenyans have proved that we are civil and mature enough to respect each other. Good job in setting such high standards. It’s time to take care of your family. A job well done.

  • As a mother I understand your choice. I, too, had to leave with my ten-year old two days ago. Now that I’ve found your blog, I’ll sto by more often. Godspeed. Bella

  • napcity

    Thank you for the updates. I understand your anguish because am multi-ethnic as well. Stay safe and Gods speed on your trip back.

  • kwambi

    You were a Godsend for me. You have no idea how much of a help you have been to me. I spent hours on your blog so hungry for info. i remember that sunday when we were waiting for results i could not sleep and i kept refreshing the page hoping that something new had come in. I’ll admit that i have been relying on you more than any other news outlet. You’ve been better that BBC, CNN, etc for me.
    I’m sure that we will continue to hear from you and in my heart i’m glad to know that you and your family will be in a safer place. You are a true Kenyan, I can assure you that i have taken something with me from being a part of this blog.
    As you travel, may God grant you journey mercies and i hope to hear and read from you that you are safe when you arrive in Jo’Burg. Best regards and new year wishes to your family.
    NB: your entire family is in our family prayer list.

  • Sura

    Godspeed Ory – do what you gotta do; take care of your family and your life since that never stops in love or war.
    Shukran na asante sana kwa kutupasha habari zinazoeleweka. Kenya itadumu na waKenya tutavumilia hadi demokrasia iwe injili yetu

  • Wamucii

    Thanks for your dedication to this blog. Was very helpful to me, since I’m so far from home. Will be praying for you and your fam as you travel to Jo’berg.

  • Tesh

    Many thanks for all the hard work and may God bless you .
    You are the best .

  • I feel absolutely sad and distraught. I feel so sorry and angry about what is happening in Kenya. More importantly, I feel sorry about my race, my people and my continent. It appears we are incapable of doing the simple things right
    God bless you for keeping us posted. I wish you and your family well.

  • Official Statement/Press Release

    I, Apostle Harry Das along with my wife, as Preachers and Teachers of the Word of God operating in Kenya for over 30 years, and as the founder(s) of Chrisco Fellowship of Churches, would like to make the following official statement: I am asking for all people who love God and are truly “Saved” to refrain from acting with bitterness, hatred, tribal prejudice or involvement with murderous behaviour, but to act in forgiveness, love and mercy. Cry for peace and through prayer, bind the ravenous spirits of bloodshed that have come upon the Nation, because as Christians we are taught by the Bible according to Ephesians 6:10-18, that during times of upheavals and killings there are always Evil Spirits working behind the scenes to cause death, destruction and chaos. God assures us that He is a God of Mercy, and during times of wrath and judgment, he can temper the severity of the situation because of His mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). This is the position all Christians should take now, not to depend on natural weapons to defend us during this perilous time, but to rely on Spiritual help as stated in 2Chorinthians 10:4-5. God says to use the power of Prayer! Prayer is what will pull down all strongholds and bring peace to the hearts of those who are committing violent acts. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the Peace Makers, for they shall be called the children of God. Follow the ways of peace, and pray that the honest process of democracy will prevail. On behalf of all Chrisco Churches, Pastors and Members, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those Kenyans who have been killed, maimed or displaced during the past few days. May God have mercy on us, May God have mercy on Kenya.

    Apostle Harry Das


  • BRE

    Bon Voyage Ory. No need to feel torn between leaving Nairobi and returning to Johannesburg. You are a young mother first and foremost and everything else comes after that important responsibility. You have done your duty for the country you love so dearly and you have done it very well.

    According to the latest news reports here in Europe the ethnic violence is subsiding and the political leadership on both sides of this dispute are attempting to pull back from the brink of disaster. Sounds like an opening in the storm to me… I can smell fresh rain coming on the rays of bright sunshine.

  • Selam

    Ory –

    Please don’t feel guilty! You’ve already done enough. Safety is priority!


  • ahmed

    many thanks for your daily, min, second update we really appriciated your work as i had many kenyans flocking to my office for updates as am also based in joburg.
    You were really my source of info about home such that i had to log in always to see if it could be safe to book someone a flight back home.

    Once again thank you for all your tireless effort, God bless
    Ahmed Mohamed

  • You made the right call, Ory – your family is the priority. You’ve done amazing work bringing the events of the past few days to a global audience, and there are many, many people grateful for all you’ve done. Thank you.

  • MoMoma

    Thank you for what you are writing! I am a mother in the U.S., but my adopted son is Kenyan/American (Kikuyu) and we are praying along with his birthfamily here for the safety of his birthfamily who remain in Nairobi.
    Hopefully a peaceful solution will happen soon. This moment is not the Kenya we have been so proud of, and that I want for my son to come to when he is a man. I want more for him & for all of Kenya.
    Thank you again for keeping those of us informed! You are doing God’s work here.

  • m

    thank you …

  • As an East African, Kenya always made me proud. I will always be proud of Kenya. Even though it is not exactly stable right now, it will always the beautiful country it is.
    I hope everything goes well. It’s a terrible stage but it is just a stage.

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