Hello! In my previous blog, you must have learned that I am an independent writer on what I like to call ‘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.
My stay at Olympic Kibera and my desire to have a better planet are what set this project spinning.
In Kibera – Katokera, I interacted with various women and this is what they have to say about KIBERA.
Tina is my first interviewee. The mother of three sits quietly on a log, with a friend, who also runs the stall next to hers.
After introducing myself to the two women, Tina says she has no problem contributing to my project, especially after I reveal that I am especially focusing on women like her, as they have a message that would help many others all over the world, and set an example. I tell her that I admire her charisma as even in a place like Kibera, generally marginalized and that it carries a certain stigma once one reveals they are Kibera’s residents. I emphasize to Tina that she is one of the strong women who have not let the world dictate their fate. – And I mean these words. The women of Kibera are courageous and powerful.
Tina then reveals to me that she has three children of ages sixteen, ten, and six years respectively and during my fifteen minutes interaction with her, I get a chance to meet her sixteen-year-old daughter who is truly beautiful but excuses herself from having any pictures taken.
Miss Tina also tells me she lost her husband ten years ago and that she has been a single parent ever since, mainly earning from her Onion business. I do not ask about her six-year-old child after that.
When I ask about the challenges Tina faces, she mentions that they are mainly;
- Road Construction; Where some of the houses in Kibera are being demolished in order to pave way for the Langata’ Kibera road, which is also expected to cut down the Nairobi traffic once complete.
- Railway Existence: As she says that because of the railway, some houses still have to be demolished and once this is done, people are going to be homeless and that it’s going to affect her business.
- Expensive Rent; Miss Tina reveals that even for these shacks, the landlords charge them heavily, sometimes going between 1000 – 2000 Kenyan shillings per month, which is mostly un-affordable for many people living within the area.
I ask Miss Tina about who is to blame for the ugly circumstances such as poverty, poor sanitation, insecurity, and unemployment and she reveals that she wouldn’t put the blame on anybody or the government, but to the overpopulation. I don’t doubt this response.
On whether anything should be done concerning the slum, she says; ‘Nothing. The slum should be left the way it is as this is all that its residents have got.’
‘This one over here is a very intelligent humanitarian’; – I think to myself.
(See Images below)