After lunch, Wambua walked us through a part of Kibera Slum, the second biggest slum in Africa (the first is Soreto in South Africa). It covers an area of 170 sq km, contains over 1.2 million people, and is featured in the movie The Constant Gardener, if you are interested. Most of the residents are Kenyans that have moved to the city to find work, and looked for the cheapest living they could find. The word “slum” implies to us danger and crime, but actually, in Kibera it’s a strong community of families that help each other survive. Quick summary of the living conditions: open sewage running into the Nairobi river, kids running around in rags, 5′x5′ tin houses that house several families, and feral dogs.
Thank you all for following along on my adventures–I can’t tell you how much I appreciated your support. Kenya has been an amazing experience, and I’ve learned a lot about the goodness of people, the importance of patience, and the overwhelming necessity to not take things for granted. As Americans we have the most and expect the most, and it’s critical to take a step back to realize just how privileged we are. And hopefully that will lead us to share the wealth, because it’s just wrong to allow billions to live in poverty while we have more money than we know what to do with (ie, the $100 that one spends on a pair of shoes could feed a family for several months–so are those shoes really that important?). The problem is though, that you can’t donate people out of poverty; you have to find ways to increase their income sustainably and on their own terms. Otherwise, once the aid money runs out, the poor are back to square one. This explains how in the last 40 years, over 500 billion has been poured into Africa. And what is there to show for it? More people and more poverty. We have to think of innovative ways to help the farmer to make more money from his crops, and allow the urban Kenyan to start a small business. If we could as a country, ask more of ourselves than just donating money and hoping for a quick fix, we could go far in alleviating many of the world’s problems.
Once again, thanks for reading! I will be posting pictures ASAP.
Love you all!!