Opiyo Bolongo left his home shortly after a rigged election in Kenya on Dec. 27. He fled for fear of violence against him and his family, a report on National Public Radio explained Friday.

Kenya, one of the more stable nations in Africa for a number of years, has erupted in violence since the election. The international community has condemned the election process, suggesting it was rigged to maintain the status quo power structure there.

Bolongo is a native of the country and a member of the band Extra Golden, which includes a pair of Americans — Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff. The story on NPR was discussing the band’s music and the circumstance in which it formed. The story was fascinating and can be found at www.npr.org. It can also be found at www.extragolden.com, which explains more explicitly the situation in Kenya for the band members who are from there.

Africa may seem like a faraway land that has no impact on those of us in Barren County, but there are actually several local individuals who have been there working in various areas.

Robert Miller, a Glasgow native and student at Samford College in Birming-ham, spent his Christmas break in Kenya working with a mission trip, his grandmother, Margie Kinslow, informed us last week.

She was obviously concerned for his safety considering the upheaval in the country at present. He is supposed to return home shortly, but she wasn’t sure of the exact date.

Our plan is to do an interview with Robert when he returns. We also hope that he has some photographs we can use to show the situation there.

While Robert will be home soon, Chauncey Boggs is serving with the Peace Corps in Mauritania, Africa, on a two-year tour.

She has an online blog called “the nomad” that can be accessed through www.glasgow-ky.com.

She has commentary about the trials she must deal with in order to teach English at a small school. The things she explains about working in Mauri-tania are interesting, but what I found to be more revealing were the photos. Notice the housing conditions in the pictures from atop a hill overlooking what must be a village.

There are some great photos of kids and adults. Another interesting feature on the Web site is the map of Africa and the clock that gives local time where Boggs is living.

These individuals from our community gain an experience that probably cannot easily be described. Certainly, it can’t be covered in a few short sentences. Pictures help tell the story. A photograph can reveal things about a situation because a person wanting to do so can study the nuances of the material within the picture.

The little things have the most information to offer.

Read the blogs and the stories. Study the pictures because those will be as close as many of us come to Africa. But also understand that there is no substitute for experiencing a culture or circumstance that is so different from our own. The immersion into another culture does more for helping us realize how privileged we are than does reading about it or hearing about it on the radio.

James Brown is editor of the Daily Times. He can be reached by e-mail at jbrown @glasgowdailytimes.com.


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