Kibera.The biggest slum in Kenya. Second biggest in all of Africa. From all over Kenya, they pour into this place, a sprawling community in southeast Nairobi, home to as many as one million living souls. They come to Kibera from all over Kenya: many leaving family farm plots that have become too small from subdivision; others driven off by failing rains, extreme floods and erratic seasonal patterns; some, the victims of soil depletion from unsustainable farming practices. Whatever the reason, they are here looking for a better life.
A better life? It’s hard for me to imagine what a worse life might look like. An uncountable throng in a continuous stream up and down muddy alleys, paths and narrow clay-red streets; unbroken ranks of tin and mud shacks crowding against each other and squeezing into serpentine pathways; vendors selling plastic sandals, maize, charcoal or other essentials at virtually every hut; open cooking fires everywhere; trash mixed with mud and sewage underfoot; and the air above choked with acrid smoke. Continue reading