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Return to the Rift Valley

By Scott BaldaufStaff writer / March 11, 2009

Reporters on the Job: I traveled extensively through Kenya’s Rift Valley during the violent times of January and February 2008. I watched the flow of men, women, and children walking into displacement camps with their belongings on their heads, the tense roadblocks where local youths would make life-and-death decisions, depending on their mood.

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Upon my recent return, it was great to see youth from the two ethnic communities, Kalenjin and Kikuyus, working together on a road project (read the Monitor's report here). Until then, I had seen no reconciliation efforts by the government and had only heard of a handful of church-sponsored workshops and community-building projects aimed at mending relations.

But it was also clear that faith-based efforts alone won’t do the trick. The road project was due to run out of money in a few weeks. Government officials had built more police stations to encourage villagers to return. But, in my opinion, it’s going to take more than new police stations to bring about true reconciliation.

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