Today, Monday, March 4th, marks Kenya’s first presidential elections in five years. The country – and world – are watching closely, because in 2007 and 2008, following Kenya’s last elections, violence erupted throughout the country, killing 1,500 people and displacing hundreds of thousands more. Today, however, things seem peaceful. Citizens passionate about peace have been preparing for months, ensuring that orders are in place throughout the country to prevent chaos. So far, so good – as this article is being written, it’s late afternoon and there are few reports of election-related violence. Rather, peaceful queues and cheery attitudes are reported at polling stations around Kenya.

Everyone has this day off, and students have the week of school off, too. Teachers and school staff are at home voting, and students are either home with their families or, in Daraja’s case, at school filling their class-free week with other activities. Today was election-themed at Daraja. Before breakfast, Daraja girls gathered (on their own accord) to pray for peace during this exciting day; then, they held mock elections where a different Daraja student represented each of the eight presidential aspirants in a campaign speech to her peers. Teddy, for example, made a very convincing Martha Karua, the only female aspirant and role model to many Daraja girls. Following the speeches, students voted for the presidential candidate of their choice, so stay tuned for the results – we’re waiting to release them till the “real” results are out.

Next, the girls gathered for a discussion about the violence of 2007-08. (To learn more about this, and today’s elections, click here.) We asked this question: why did violence erupt following the 2007 presidential elections? Many girls cited the presumed-flawed election as the cause, whereby incumbent president Kibaki was alleged to have skewed results in his favor, thereby beating popular candidate Raila Odinga. But, as local Kenyans and some international community members have since observed, much of the violence actually stemmed from