Kibera Women Series; Story 2
(This post is under the theme ‘Project Sustainability’, a theme under which I interact with various communities all over Eastern Africa and find out what they think about sustainable development in general. The mission is to find out how the various communities interact with the environment in which they reside.)
Twelve-year-old Millicent, who is my youngest interviewee so far, is a class six student at Kibera Primary School who while not at the school like on the ‘Sunday’ which I happened to have a little chat with her, sells vegetables at her mother’s stall.
The young girl, who to me looks like would make an incredible runway fashion model in future, sits quietly as she watches me interview a one other Millicent, a mother of four, and then Grace before I eventually get to her. Young Millicent sits quietly and smiles shyly. When I approach her sit after, she smiles and tells me it’s okay if I take a picture with her. I notice she sometimes hesitates when I ask her some questions, and she replies in Kiswahili. Then I realize that her problem is similar to mine. Were she to interview me in Kiswahili, I would reply in English as I am not confident in the language either. So to solve our little problem, I ask Jay, my companion on this mission, to ask her some of my Questions in Kiswahili so when she replies, Jay tells me the meaning in English.
On some occasions, we are on the same page as we both speak the same language and on others, Jay plays the legendary role of the interpreter.
When I ask Millicent what she thinks about the sanitation in this Kibera, she reveals that sometimes the place gets cleaned up but the people litter again (I did not know this). She also thinks that the litter and waste by the railway trail should be removed, as it looks, in her words, ‘pathetic’.
Millicent concludes that in general, Kibera is a good place and I start to wonder whether she is saying this because it is where she has grown up, or because it possibly could be all she knows. But then I agree that she is right because in general, we all have a place where we grew up and much as it may not be the best in the eyes of the outsiders, who often victims us, we survived and memories of our childhoods are planted there.
Despite this, I am glad that young Millicent knows that the environment is not healthy and that something should be done about it.