My work inbox is full of e-mails from our Department of Staff Safety and Security.

I get the most interesting e-mails at work.   The last few weeks have been full of news: valuable information and unfortunate events.

Two weeks ago the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Uganda Minister for Health confirmed the outbreak of Yellow Fever cases in northern Uganda.  This e-mail also informed us of an out break of Dengue Fever in Mandera, Kenya (far away so don’t worry!).  We were reminded to keep our Yellow Fever vaccination cards with us in case we get stopped at international borders.  Good to know because I just booked a flight to visit Lisa in Zanzibar!!!  So excited!  I’ll be heading there in November with Danika.

Then, last week we received an e-mail informing us that the US Embassy in Nairobi had credible information about a potential threat towards Americans residing in and visiting Kenya.  All Americans and other foreigners were specially advised to avoid sporting events.

Then, last week we received an e-mail warning all staff about the escalating security threats in the Coast Province near Somalia.  While these issues have been in our weekly security briefings for as long as I can remember, there has been an increasing number of incidents and all staff have been reminded to ensure they are following proper security level protocol.  This e-mail specifically spoke of a French national who was kidnapped from Manda, one of the islands near Lamu, in the Coast Province. Apparently she was forcibly taken to Somalia by boat.  This incident follows by the September killing of a British tourist and the kidnapping of his  wife from Kiwayu Safari Village, located 57 kilometers northeast of Lamu Town.  Lamu is known as the perfect place to relax.  A series of islands with no one around; a recipe for disaster when there are pirates in the seas.  Luckily 3 of my friends had just returned from Lamu when this news broke.  Don’t worry, I don’t have plans to visit any time in the near future and the Department of Safety and Security made it pretty clear in their warning that staff should avoid all non-essential travel to this region.

Since then, we received an e-mail about the worsening security situation near Dadaab refugee camp as two Spanish female NGO workers (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) were kidnapped.  A local said the driver was shot and injured when he tried to negotiate.  The local authorities responded by sealing the border to Somalia forbidding vehicles to leave Kenya into Somalia. 

Here’s to hope for less news of this sort, a wish for peace, a prayer of thanksgiving for my continued safety, and thoughts of comfort and hope for those abducted to unknown places.

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