BY MICHAEL OLLINGA
“Peace Sio Option” is a sheng phrase loosely translated to Peace is not an option, which sounds ambiguous, just as open-ended as the world defines the word Peace itself, some saying peace like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
But for Genesis Family 254, a group comprising of Christian youths from different churches in Uasin Gishu and beyond that use their gifts and talents to influence positive change, peace must be a universal entity, not the absence of war but an upbeat situation that habours social justice and brotherhood in a motivating environment.
Anything thought, imagined or perceived as an option for peace could easily turn to a bloody affair and would negate the foundation of peace- which is unconditional love.
It is in this spirit that the rain falling in fine clear droplets twisted in the invisible strands of the cold atmosphere, could not stop members of the Genesis Family 254 and other youths from amplifying the messages of peace through their gifts and talents in the streets of Eldoret that Saturday, May 27.
It took months of deliberation for an intervention to bring back a society that has been tearing far apart with the rising political temperatures- a series of meetings motivated by the urge to become agents of change, peace, and love being part of the agenda.
“We pray for unity and peace but faith without action is dead, we need to go to the streets and tell fellow compatriots that politics and tribes should never be limitations for spreading the love. We all ooze with red blood when lacerated, we are one blood and politicians cannot define this differently,” said Dennis Gicheru, the group’s Chairman.
This statement was the genesis of the peace rally that happened along Ronald Ngala Street adjacent to Zion Mall that brought together poets, spoken word artists, artists, painters, musicians, instrumentalists and orators who spoke one language of peace through their different dialects and gifts.
As the tune of Daima mimi Mkenya by songster, Eric Wainana smoothly penetrated the cold airwaves, absorbing young and old Kenyans into immeasurable depths of patriotism as they held hands and sang along, a perfect picture of a peaceful nation was drawn.
As I rehearsed and put final touches on a spoken word piece we performed as a duet with Samuel Kariuki aka Karis before Harrison Kimaiyo aka Gaetano also a poet friend just to make sure I had the message right, I could not overlook the unity embraced by Victoria Cherotich, Merisha Haron, Ruth Kiprop, in branding sugar papers with the names of 47 counties which were later filled with soil and used as candle holders.
“The sight of unity is amazing, this is how Kenya needs to look like always. I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter the tribes of the poets, the violinist, and saxophonists nor that of Jeff the artist who is drawing the Map of Kenya, what they do is marvelous and compliments one another, this is the Kenya we want,” observed Julius Mirii who had just travelled two days before from Nairobi to attend the event.
There were several musical presentations that were preceded with the National Anthem, then presentations by Dye Verse Kiprop, Busuru de Flexxy, the poet in the Combat top, Gaetano and it was time for me and Karis to do Title ya Hii Piece ni Peace.
As we poetically churned out the message of peace, keenly reiterating that tusije kujua thamani ya Amani after throat zao tumeslit (let’s know the value of peace after we have lost lives) there was a moving applause from the audience, some in umbrellas some engrossed in the presentation not feeling the drizzles, they never asked which tribe we were but appreciated us for speaking their language of peace.
As Clalfin Achimba, Edita Wairimu and a guy I just know as Mike clicked the cameras to capture the moment of peace love and unity, with of course Samuel Njoroge, Silah Koskei, Joy Kareithi, Valentina Muthoki, Brian Wamunga, Adhiambo Ketta, Lulu, Edu Mokaya, Alex Sanzy, Kevin Mbili and Nancy de Symson taking and getting into selfies.
It was all a true feel of love and the value of peace as these friends lit candles and in turns went to the stage and introduced themselves using their dialects, ignore how some were “Englishnized”, it was a perfect blend, and my lesson was that different tribes work excellently together than individually- Amani, Upendo, Undugu ndio Nguvu.
Tonny Kims, Esther Njoki, Kris Madola had worked a great deal behind the scenes giving ideas, motivating artists and developing the stunning graphics circling around the theme of Red, Black, Green and White the colors of our flag.
Gicheru and team adopted art skills and did face painting on attendants facades- little Kaylee and her other patriotic age mates enjoyed this bit a lot as they flew little Kenyan flags.
There was Bishop Wilson Kurui and Sheikh Abubakar Bin in one podium, a strong message that the meaning of peace does not change with religion, which is my point- peace is a universal entity, not the absence of war but an upbeat situation that habours social justice and brotherhood in a motivating environment.
I encountered, I got swept away, I was stunned with the sweet breeze of true love and brotherhood in that “Peace sio option” environment glowing with 47 candles lit for peace and a pledge book with a vow to keep peace, which even got better with the Uji date at Cloud Nine Restaurant where Eva Lagat and Chewhite- the latter a new member of Genesis Family 254 joined for the review of the event.
The agreement was: “Kenya ni nchi ya tribe fourty two or more, fourty tu kati ya hao hawawezi divide watu Fourty Two Million, Peace si Option, Peace sio want, Peace ni need, tusije jua thamani ya Amani after wenzetu wamewekwa six feet under, politicians should never put us asunder.”
Michael Ollinga Oruko
MSC Comm Journalism(ongoing)
BJM Masinde Muliro University
Correspondent: Standard Group
Facebook: Michael Ollinga