Bernard Terlouw, Kenya director for Mission Aviation Fellowship, was in his Nairobi office on January 1, planning how to best evacuate victims of the escalating violence. Amid the fighting that had broken out after the contested win of President Mwai Kibaki over challenger Raila Odinga, MAF had begun receiving calls from desperate Kenyans in Eldoret, Kisumu, Kitale, and other western towns.
"We were trying to see who needed help and where they could be routed through," said Terlouw. As more calls came in and the planning continued, Terlouw said he and his team began to feel optimistic "that we were going to be able to do something for some of these people."
Then Terlouw got a call on his cell phone from a man near Lake Victoria. "He was screaming at me because he was being chased into a field. He was saying, 'Send a helicopter! I need a helicopter! Can you come to this park? I'll do anything for you! I'll work for you! I'm at this park.'"
"I told him I couldn't send a helicopter because we ...1