KIBERA MIRRORonline audience
KIBERA MIRROR ISSUE 9: PAGE 2
A publication of Shining Hope ForCommunitiesEditor
Josephine Gisesa,Kennedy Inditho, NancyAkinyi, Michael Omuka, Sylvia Nekesa, DavidOtieno, Isaac Gomba, Kizito Nadebu, Nicode-mus Odalo, John Okewa, Paul Owino
Dan Whipple& Kathleen BoganE-mail:
Quote of the Month
When we are no longer able tochange a situation, we should be challenged to changeourselvesVictor Franklin
We welcome letters on topical issues orthe stories we publish and comments email@example.com
Why do we like buildingwalls after they come fallingdown on us instead of just
lling up the cracks when theyrst show up? Think? HIV and
AIDS! Hunger! Corruption!All these are things that wouldhave been effectively tackledway back when they were stillin wet paint state. Now we have a newlooming catastrophe, a 21stcentury catastrophe. We all,either have a poor or nega-tive opinion about young menin skinny jeans, with plaitedor curl-kit hair styles and of course the pierced ears. Whatexactly are we faced with
here? Today in Kibera we are
seeing a different version of this 21st century catastrophe.Right now I care less about theskinny jeans, those femininehair styles and the ear-pierc-ing. Not that I have given intothem but because I have real-ized that we are missing a verycrucial point here.Think of this. How manyyoung men today grow in the
authority of their fathers? Today
it’s easier for a young man totell you what his mother likes or dislikes but not his father. Amnot complaining that mothers arenot doing a good job, no! Moth-ers are doing an excellent job but
where are the fathers? Seriously
in the life of a young man, amother cannot extend beyond acertain boundary.Fathers in Kibera slumshave failed the society. I see alot of young men lost and torndue to lack of effective father-hood. They only have fatherswho show up at the middle of the night demanding ugali andwell fried chicken when therest of the family has slept onugali and boiled cabbages. Whatfollows is always a ruthlessdomestic violence. What does
this tell the young men? Now if
you are an elderly man next timeyou hear a young man calling alady ‘ malaya’ please before youcondemn him, just ask your-self…what have you done to be
a male gure in –rule that man’slife? The stakes are high; we
are losing a lot of young men to both feminine glitz and glamour or worse a limbo of violence,irresponsibility and suffocatingfatherhood.Skinny jeans, plaited hair,curl-kit hairs, pierced ears andmany more are a direct reac-tion to feminine over effectsin the lives of our young men.Violence, irresponsibility andself-indiscipline come directlyout of the fall of fatherhood.Today I won’t talk of homosexuality. Gayism is one of thedestinations that the road calledmale identity crisis leads to. Itis time we addressed the maleidentity crisis before it blows outof control.
The writer is an author
Are we having a male gender crisis in theslums?
Fathers inKiberaslums havefailed thesociety.There area lot ofyoung menlost andtorn due tolack of
Lovers of fast food...Beware!
Sanitation and healthcare are veryurgent issues that need to be addressed but the Ministry of health and sanita-tion is not considering this as serious. Itis always said that ‘prevention is better than cure’ but many people have nottaken this as the greatest impact in their lives as they still sit back and wait for therepercussions that are to come their way.One of the geographical featuresindicating the straining and open povertyis the river that runs down to Nairobidam that is always full of garbage. Thereis also a river that is a mixture of raw hu-
man waste and water that ows through
Gatwekera area. Combined with theabsolute lack of sewers, Kibera is sittingon a time bomb.Ironically, the residents are leastconcerned if the numbers of businessesthat run along the river are anythingto go by. Women cook Mandazi andChapati for sale without considering theamount of health risk they are puttingthemselves and their customers in.
Also along the lthy ‘green river’
there is a water point where peopleun-disturbed, fetch water for householduse as well as a well where busy womencarry out their laundry without consider-ing the kind of illness that might erupt insuch dirty places.We should not always lean on our own understanding but also seek helpfrom different sources on how we shouldcover and protect our health statusamong other things.
We are sitting on a time bomb
Incase you are wondering wherethe 7 billion people in the world are,look no further than rush hour in Nairobi
– On a bad day it feels like a good num
- ber of the world’s population is livingright here. Meanwhile, what are these
7 billion people eating? Can the earth
produce enough food to keep up with
demand? Apparently not.
In August last year the Kenyangovernment gazetted existing legisla-tion that allows for the importation of
genetically modied crops. Environmen
-tal groups and small-scale subsistencefarmers, all of who fear that the GMseeds could contaminate existing seedstocks, met this with opposition. But itwas done, nonetheless.Our virgin market has just begunto attract the big boys of the world’s fastfood chains. Ever wondered why it’s
taken them so long to get here? Why arethey only beginning to come in now?
Well, it turns out that concernover the supply chain has kept themaway. Can a supplier ensure that thechickens they supply are all a certain
size? Can they breed and drug them togrow so large that they can’t even walk?
And once this chicken is big and juicy,
and slaughtered, what do they put on it?
This is what you happily stuff your face with every weekend. This is whatwe feed our kids. Is it any wonder that
the girls are menstruating earlier? Hello
obesity, diabetes and God knows whatelse!What scares me the most aboutGMOs is that the choices we haveright now will be limited in the future.Industrialized agriculture will drivesmall-scale farmers into factories and
city slums. Make no mistake; GMOs
will eventually collapse rural economies.How many small-scale farmers will
manage to compete against the big boys?
One after the other they will fold up. Theones that hang on will eventually haveto sell their organic vegetables and kie-nyeji chicken at ridiculously high prices.Small-scale farmers are the backboneof a community, nation and society as awhole. Watch GMOs destroy them, right before our very eyes.
Most of the problems we are facing asa country are local and need local solutions andfor such solutions to be effective, we need an en-vironment which is effective to implement them.We have skilled personnel, the best in East
and Central Africa; enough resources though we have
not exploited them. The major problem in Kenyais grand corruption. Seriously we have to curb thisvice. Reliable observations have noted that countrieslike Singapore have experienced massive economicgrowth because of their zero tolerance to corruption.Look at us, we had the same rate of economicgrowth as Singapore back at independence. yet theyare now so miles ahead of us in terms of development.
Development canonly occur if we stopcorruption
What is wrong withthe slum upgrading project
On March 6 President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister
Raila Odinga ofcially commissioned the second phase of the
slum upgrading project at Soweto. This paved way for theconstruction of 912 housing units, 230 business stalls, a nurseryschool, a social hall, a youth centre, three solid waste handlingsheds, three toilet blocks and a boundary wall at a total cost of 3 billion shillings. This is a very positive step taken by the govern-ment to solve the housing problem in Kibera.However even before all the construction materials are brought to the site a lot of issues have begun to emerge concern-
ing the rst phase that was occupied in 2009 at Lang’ata that
absorbed the residents of Soweto. It is very disturbing to hear that people are being evicted and replaced by non-slum dwellerswho are able to buy off the vacant houses.To them it is an opportunity to stay in a cool environ-ment in Up Market Lang’ata where the rent charged can beequated to pocket change. To the slum residents though this isa chance to stay in a respectable house that is a great contrastto the structures they have been living in. A chance to use water closet toilets and get piped water. A chance to use legally con-nected electricity and not having to worry about power surges,dim bulbs or being electrocuted. A chance to arrive at their workplaces without having their shoes discoloured with mudwhenever it rains. It is actually a lifetime opportunity of livingin dignity
Worse still this is being done without fear and even a rst
time visitor can easily notice that some of the houses are beingoccupied by middle class citizens. At any given time one cancount not less than 10 cars in the parking lot including top of range ones. There is absolutely no way you can own a 3 millionshillings car that you fuel with over 1000 shillings per day andstay in a house that you pay only 500 shillings as rent.Something is wrong somewhere in this whole slumupgrading thing that needs urgent attention and it is corruption.If nothing is done we are facing a situation where all the slumupgrading projects will be perceived as a deliberate plan to buildmiddle class housing estates.For those who don’t know High Rise Estate was once aslum upgrading project in the 90’s that was constructed for theresidents of Kibera. Today no one wants to talk about it and eventhough the Prime Minister reassured the residents that the second
phase would be transparent the government should rst solve theissues of the rst phase. Otherwise this slum upgrading thing is
just a hoax