International Day of PEACE

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May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.

– Pope Francis, World Day of Peace 2017

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Drawing by Augustine (age 7), Kenya

 

 

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Kenyan Election Update: September 1, 2017

An historic Supreme Court ruling for Kenya, and all of Africa. 

Canadian papers now covering Kenya.

 

 

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Kenya Elections

Other things are going on in the world, besides the usual.  The big news in Canada is the PM falling out of a kayak. 

This week, Kenya has their elections. Much respect for Kenyans who faced long line-ups to cast their vote:

..and made it meaningful, truly Kenyan:

This NYT article from election day outlines a few basics, but obviously neglects local, on the ground understanding of the real issues.  Obama weighed in:

I urge all Kenyans to work for an election — and aftermath — that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new Constitution and the future of your country. Any disputes around the election should be resolved peacefully, through Kenya’s institutions and the rule of law.

The reality is, there is extreme poverty and unemployment in the day to day life of many Kenyans.  Even though Kenya has one of the most robust economies in Africa, with vast natural resources (coffee, tea, sugar), a population of 48.5 million and 90% enrolled in school,  more than 42% of Kenyans still live in poverty.

There is now a lot fake news, flooding their social media. There is also the new problem of big data, and international meddling that was seen in both the US election and Brexit, with a strange connection to a tech firm in Victoria, Canada.

It is a complex situation, with no easy answers – the systems of justice cannot be over simplified, without knowledge of life on the ground.

Despite reports in the international mainstream media, people of different tribes, of course, make friends, work and live together  in peace.  (Just as Catholics and Protestants do in Northern Ireland, despite reports). No one wants violence.  People want shops to open, they want to feed their families.  Like the vast majority of people, Kenyans just want a functioning democracy, so they can live.

A friend in Kenya once told me:

You do not know what peace is, until you do not have it.

Kenyans want peace.  Democracy and peace – means simply and peacefully naming and speaking the truth.  Without fear.

I think without understanding and empathy for ongoing economic oppression, it is also easy to misunderstand the context, and potential power, of peaceful opposition. Democracy brings hope.

No matter the results of this election, I’m thinking about my students:

…and praying for peace, justice (and some soda) for them.

Tuonanne.

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Jambo Kenya!

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Kwaheri

“No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning” – US President Barack Obama

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President Obama dances the Lipala in Kenya.

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Sacre Verte

Check out my latest project in Kenya:TestSV_Logo

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Learning with Class Six

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Book Tour

Toronto Star Books Section Saturday October 24
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very honourrrred…
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–> support independent CDN publishers/bookstores = that support local CDN & Indigenous authors: 

 

 

 

 

 

& honoured to be invited to International Festival of Authors Toronto this year:

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a little interview, click:

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looking forward to Words Aloud 2015 in Durham Ontario – reading at Sunday main event with super cool writers Mark Truscott and Armand Garnet Ruffo
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& reading with a group of great Exile+ writers @ The Bookshelf in Guelph:GaylieLaunch

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<–independent bookstore supportive of CDN authors

 

 

 

 

good fall, all.small sunflower

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Elephants

Two baby orphans at the elephant orphanage in Nairobi. They’re both small. The little fellow on the right – less than 4 feet tall. At the orphanage just two months, he was very quiet.  He stared at the ground most of the time.

Watch this documentary, Warlord’s of Ivory.  30,000 African elephants die every year because they are hunted for ivory. BBC: Why is ivory so popular in China? 

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Sword Dance

Jambo. In Kenya with my first book of poetry: Sword Dance (Exile, awesome publisher)vgimage-sd

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jambo…tembo. elephant orphan at the sanctuary in nairobi. this little fellow was found fallen down a well after his mother was killed for ivory tusks. click the pic to read more about ivory poaching.

two small orphans at the sanctuary. elephants are very quiet animals.

two small orphans at the sanctuary. elephants are very quiet animals.

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Book Launch

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Monday, June 22, 6:00 pm Windup Bird Café 

382 College Street, Toronto

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