United States of America

I am thankful for the United States of America. I am thankful for laws and the officials that help enforce these laws. I’m thankful for a justice system that, while imperfect, works. I’m thankful that corruption once exposed is not tolerated. I’m thankful for the right to vote and that this process is peaceful. I’m thankful to have a voice in my government. I’m thankful that our military protects its citizens. I’m thankful that, while there have been attacks, the last major war fought on American soil was over 100 years ago. I’m thankful that I grew up living in peace, that I could go to school, that I could worship in church and that my childhood was relatively carefree.

Kenya is considered one of the most stable countries in East Africa. I’m thankful to live here. Yet, independence from Great Britain was only achieved in 1963, a mere 51 years ago, after a bloody conflict. Just 7 years ago during the presidential elections, tribalism and politics caused violent clashes all throughout Kenya. Citizens do not generally trust the judicial system or law enforcement officials and mob justice still occurs frequently. In 2003 the government abolished school fees for primary schools but the best schools and secondary school still cost a good deal of money. Kenya has come a long way in a short amount of time but it still has a long way to go.

South Sudan is the newest country in the world. They gained independence in 2011. After a long, brutal, civil war with Sudan hopes were high that South Sudan would have a bright future. However, just 3 years later, politics and tribalism caused countrymen to turn against each other. Now the country is 9 months into another civil war. Thousands of people died, many more are on the brink of starvation. Tensions are high, schools are disrupted, people’s livelihoods are destroyed and many are refugees in surrounding countries living off the generosity of others.

I am thankful for the United States of America. I’m not deluded into thinking we are perfect but we’ve passed through war, economic instability, terrorist attacks and many other hardships and are strong. I pray that these other two countries I love can come through their growing pains stronger and more resilient than ever before.