Kibera Women Series

Persona 4


Grace is a twenty-nine-year-old mother of four and businesswoman. She lost her husband and continuously refers to herself as a widow. She is also a participant and part of our ‘Project Kibera’ series. Check Link here

Throughout the week, Grace puts her pile of clothes for sale by the street, In between Katokera and Olympic Kibera, Africa’s biggest slum in Nairobi Kenya. Like the other women I interacted with in this series, Grace is right across the railway line, a place which is clearly sodden, dirty, filled with plastic waste, and an occasional stench.

When I asked Grace what she thinks about Kibera in general and how best to improve the place’s appearance.  Grace enthusiastically mentioned ‘We should keep our environment clean.”

What do you think about plastic waste? I asked her. She revealed that she had no idea how this issue of plastic bags could be solved, as she thinks that they are helpful, much as they are also harmful.

Grace further revealed that the plastic bags especially are like dustbins and that sometimes these bags are used to for waste disposal, human waste inclusive, which to her is better than having it all over or behind the shacks in which people live.

I got Grace’s perspective and I have to admit that it left me a little perturbed because honestly; if there are no pit latrines, the people are forced to dispose of feces anywhere, a factor that makes it even more likely that disease outbreaks like cholera are to occur. In Grace’s perspective, having disposal gathered up in plastic bags is better than having it dumped directly in the trenches. I am not sure it helps much, but surely you can see her perspective

I asked Grace to share a message to women all over the world; especially women facing circumstances like hers. This includes poverty, demolition of their housing, being windowed, and being single parents.

In her words, Grace says ‘I would like to tell my fellow women or even widows that they have to work hard and take care of their children. Work hard and obey God because God is the one who opens doors and they have to stop overthinking because God will bless them.’– Grace

Grace invited me to her home and I promised her that I would be visiting the next time we meet. She gave me her phone number, was very collaborative, and I have no doubt that she would love to see something positive happening around Kibera.

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