Day 6 : How to be happy in Kibera…

Today was a very intense and emotional day. We got dispatched in 4 different families of Kibera to understand their everyday life. We walked with the parents from the Red Rose school to their house where they showed us their home.

Most houses have one room of 5×5 meters, a corrugated roof and mud walls. In general two beds on each side of the room, few kitchen utensils and pans to cook the ugali on a charcoal stove, and a big pile of clothes in plastic bags in the corner of the room. Some have a communal toilet and shower that they share with neighbors and if not, they have to pay 5ksh to go to the bathroom and 10ksh for shower.

Everyone of us participated to the chores that a normal family have to do on everyday basis like water fetching, washing clothes, preparing the ugali with pumkin leaves for lunch and selling sodas or veggies at the market or at the shop the family own. 5ksh for a tomatoes, 20 for avocado, 2 ksh for veggies leaves,…we learned than rent per month for the one room house was about 4,500ksh per month. Knowing that the majority earn sometimes les than $1 a day, you can understand why pay school fees can be difficult for those families.

We were very happy to live this experience. We learnt that “kibera people take a lot of pride and happiness in doing the most simple things”. Some realized that they were pretty much incompetent in doing any of those chores. Water jerricans were heavy. You get wet while washing clothes, you can almost chop your finger while cutting the veggies with the unique huge knife the family is using. They were shocked by the smell outside the houses as washroom wash down to the river.

We interviewed one of the teenagers of a family, a very loving one to understand his challenges now that he is in boarding school and we were all emotionally touched when he started telling us how “a burden”he is for his parents. Philipp has eyes problem which need to get fixed with a surgery, otherwise he cannot really study correctly, then he confessed that there was bullying at school because of where he is coming from and that he was locking himself often in the bathroom to cry. He even started telling us that he want to suicide to avoid to be a problem for his parents who work both so hard.

On the way back we saw all the houses the government destroyed with a huge excavator early morning. Many people have now nowhere to go. Their home have been destroyed and kids will come back from school tonight and discover they have no place they can call home. Heart breaking…

In the afternoon, we stopped by red rose and continue our renovation of the library. Was it wall painting or face painting? 😘

At our evening journaling session, we had the surprise to see the MP of Kibera, Ken Okoth, who came to congratulate the kids of their actions. He told them that this trip will be an experience that will stay for ever and might even help them during their college years. Ken Okoth grew up in Kibera but had the chance to get a scholarship to study in a US college. He spent two years at Georgetown University to finish his master before coming back to Kenya and launch his own foundation Children of Kibera before running for office.

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