This past Tuesday I sat in a beautiful cafe, outdoors, overlooking a busy cityscape, Adele quietly crooning in the background, sipping a cappuccino. It was the perfect balance of energy after a wonderful day. A typical Lazy Tuesday with a mid-day jolt of caffeine. My favorite kind of day.
The cafe itself can be found in a host of cities around the world. In many ways, it’s generic. Wonderful terrace, tables filled with business people, bloggers and ladies who lunch, all chit chatting animatedly. Upscale but without pretension. Relaxed, not uptight. A classic Coffee Shop. A great place to sit and watch the world scoot by. It could be in any city.
But it wasn’t in any city.
The cafe I was sitting in was the Artcaffe at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
I was there Tuesday. It was bombed on Saturday. As I write this, it is still under siege. Siege. How often does one use ‘siege’ in a sentence? That’s a first for me. Horrible.
I saw pictures of bullet riddled bodies strewn on that serene terrace. Lifeless souls slumped at my very table. Carnage along the marble steps I had waited on. My waitress running, blood soaked. Hysteria. Bloody violence. Fear. Terror.
All for what?
To intimidate by fear to achieve…..
What was the gain?
And it is 3 days later and the terror is still going on.
I just can’t understand. I am beside myself.
I had planned on blogging about my trip to Kenya in a series of sorts. I still am. In fact, I must. Kenya is a magnificent country. I encountered nothing but beautiful, kind, wonderful people who profusely thanked me for visiting their country. I don’t just mean a flip “Thanks for stoppin’ by.” I mean a real, genuine heartfelt thank you. It touched my soul.
There is beauty in Kenya. Beauty that takes your breath away. The people are genuine, authentic. There is also abject poverty and exorbitant wealth in the capital city. Intermeshed. I’ve never seen such a disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots. The juxtaposition of these two images? Gut wrenching. I can’t stop thinking about it. It is so very striking. This attack didn’t just happen to the Haves, it happened to Kenya as a Whole. In the face of terror, that stratification ceases to exist. It has terrified all Kenyans and now, the world.
And these kind, beautiful souls do not deserve it. No one does.