Feb 12, 2008 — Kenya, previously one of the most stable countries in Africa, degenerated into violence after Dec. 27 presidential elections that international observes say were rigged. More than 1,000 deaths have been reported since then. Last week, the Peace Corps announced it was pulling the last of its volunteers out of the country. Most had been brought home in January. A spokeswoman in Washington said none of its people had been targeted and that the organization hopes it can return very soon.
St. Lawrence University has sent students to its "Kenya semester" program for 34 years. The school has a home base in Nairobi, but students typically combine study time in the capitol with weeks of home-stays in a rural, agricultural community and two long field trips. Not this semester. Early in January, the college had thought its program could go ahead, but when the violence got worse instead of stopping, and the political and ethnic picture became more and more difficult, St. Lawrence cancelled.
Dan Schafer is a senior at SLU. He's an alumnus of the Kenya program, and was in the country as that decision was being made, scouting NGOs for a trip he planned to lead there next summer. He arrived Dec. 29, two days after the polls had closed. That evening, the election results would be announced. He told Martha Foley the protests and violence had already begun.