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KIYARA WEERAKOON

GEORGES DIARY

MS. LORRAINE HICKEY


GEOGRAPHY

Dear diary,
It is George here! I shall update you on my family and take you on a tour of
whats going to be your home too! Welcome buddy! I am an eleven year old boy
residing in the informal settlement Kibera. I am grateful for a gift like you, buddy,
because you are someone I can share my feelings with! I live with my 7 siblings and
parents; we are a big family of 10. We like many live a crammed existence, like a tin
of sardines in our shack made of corrugated iron, plastic and scraps of wood.
Many people debate over whether living in Kibera is pleasant or not and I want to
tell you what I think of it.
Although we are faced with a lot of problems and lack basic facilities, we as
residents are very perseverant and stay positive through thick and thin. Everyone is
very supportive of each another making us fell like one giant family. It sets a very
positive environment.
Our location itself doesnt set pleasant atmosphere because we lack the most
crucial things for our survival. We live in a tattered and shabby settlement because
that is what we get for living in an informal settlement, a spontaneous settlement,
even though we had no choice. The location of our living space is not pleasant,
despite the ecstatic residents. Nonetheless, children enjoy themselves, singing
dancing and playing like any other child would.
We also suffer from many other disadvantages. Due to poor sanitation facilities,
sewage often seeps onto the streets, leaving a nasty aroma. Due to the unhygienic
sewage, disease spreads easily. The lack of job opportunities means no financial
income, resulting with the inability to access electricity, medical attention and
uncontaminated water because they are very pricey. With medical attention,
disease could be prevented, and other civilians wouldnt succumb to death earlier
than their destined time.
On the other side, Kibera is receiving a lot of aid from other sources. International
charities have been building new houses to help curb the growing problems of
congestion. Since at least 8+ people live in a shack, and Kibera being the home to
over 800, 000 people, it is very crowded. Other charities have been providing
medical services for those plagued with disease. Minority of the locals have started
small businesses to raise money for their families. Not to forget, even in the
conditions they are in, the residents keep their living space as spick and span as can
be.
Overall, with so much hope and joy going around Kibera in my perspective is a
lovely place to be in. Even though we have more downs than ups, my community is
actually positive, much beter than most assume.
Well it is bed time now, and I have to go to sleep. Good night!
George

Dear diary,
Ive just come back from school and I feel very fortunate going to school. Mother,
who works at school told us that only 30% of children go to school in our region.
Mother works at school too, just so that our education comes at no cost.
In school we are taught to read and write, and are also encouraged to learn as many
things as possible for a brighter future down the path of our education. All of us
students are very grateful for such an opportunity, so we take our learning to heart,
we take it very seriously.
The school buildings are mainly a wooden structure, which somehow stays stable,
even with the showers of rain, it surprisingly stands unaffected. School has limited
supplies of pencils papers and stationary, but we manage frugally. On the other
hand, hygiene is impeccable, much cleaner that the area we reside in. after all,
cleanliness and hygiene is the motto of our secure learning.
Unlike the fortunate students like those in my class, there are students that cannot
attend school on a regular basis. I find it quite disheartening to see those of my own
age group that have already found jobs, in hope of selling metal and plastic scraps
here and there to lingering merchants in hope of getting as little as a penny.
Also, speaking of jobs, majority of the workers indulge in finding scrap material to
sell. The rare farmers that breed a few livestock also indulges in his work. A few of
the housewives make food with the bare resources available to us. Then there are
the people like mother that work at school for our education. Unfortunately, since
her occupation covers our fees, mother does not receive a salary. Another line of
business is the charcoal business. We buy our charcoal from our neighbor, and it
comes in handy when mama is cooking, or trying to purify water by boiling it. An
interesting fact just popped into my mind! Did you know that in Kibera, only 10% of
the dwellers actually own the land they live on?
Unfortunately, Father is one of those in the tenants category. The house is rented
for 25 pounds and our living is quite hard to pay for. We live as a big family of ten in
one tumble down hut, but we have been managing for quite a while and actually
adapted to our surroundings as well.
Well since nothing else is coming to my mind at the moment, that should be all I
have to update you with for today. I will fill you in as soon as I get inspired. Bye!
George

Dear diary,
I just completed another day of school! Anyways, in school today we learnt about
the land beyond the borders of Kibera. This was quite an intriguing topic, since none
of us had been beyond the outskirts of Kibera and I did not have a single idea about
wat it would be like.
I was quite surprised and so were the other children in the class. There is a lush
green and spacious golf course towards the North. Towards the west and southern
regions of Kibera were well built houses in growing communities. South east, close
by to where we live, was a dam, the Nairobi dam, specifically. The Nairobi dam is
here we citizens of Kibera get our water. From. The rain comes often in Kibera,
sometimes in floods, wrecking the fragile shacks into dilapidated mounds of scrap
material. Even then, the water we receive is filled with bacteria and is not safe to
drink or use, but being our only hope, we take the risk.
As for the residential areas neighbouring our shanty town, they are clearly built
much better than our homes. I am well aware that we are surrounded by people
who are more privileged and wealthier than us. Kibera, an informal settlement that
is weaker than its neighbours and surely an eyesore to them. The though is very
disturbing.
I also think it is quite unfair. The neighbourhood beside us are in a much better
situation than my family and I are in. Should we not receive some assistance from
them? Shouldnt we also be given the opportunity to grow in society, and become a
much better place?
The topic makes me ponder quite a bit, and agitates me as well. I also have nothing
more to tell you, except I am going to be a bit busier these days, so I might not fill
you in on a daily basis anymore.
Well, I have a test scheduled for tomorrow and I need to study! Wish me Luck!
George

Research and work on Georges Diary. (Criterion B, Investigating)


What are the housing and living conditions like in Kibera?
Houses are mainly built with corrugated iron, mud, wood and scraps of
cardboard
There is lack of hygiene and sanitation in the houses and streets
Living space is very congested, often holding 8+ people in one minute shack.
Electricity is not that accessible for it is too expensive.
Clean water is not accessed due to sewage running through streets and the
inability of water coming through into Kibera
Smells of charcoal and human waste
Excretion on the streets happens often due to the lack of toilets
Because of the poor accommodation, the residents are exposed to harsh
weather conditions.
Due to lack of money, malnutrition, disease, famine and drought is extremely
common.
Toilets are shared between many. (approximately 1 toilet to 50 people)
What types of Jobs do people in Kibera do?
Cleaning sewage
Emptying toilets
Selling discarded plastic or iron( so merchants can making them something
else)
Food (selling food)
Farming (breeding livestock for food and profit)
They are paid poorly and receive as little as 80p for 6 hours work.
What are the surroundings like in Kibera?
There is a dam (confined body of water)
There is a golf course (lush and expensive)
There are growing communities (ignoring Kibera, not helping them out)
All of them are on the outskirts of Kibera.
What is the environment like in Kibera?
Supportive and positive ( Dwellers are positive and always look on the
brighter side)
Smelly and unpleasant view (tattered shacks and smell of human waste and
charcoal)
Hopeful (charities and government assistance, even a little helps)
Clean (houses are maintained as clean as can be in their position)
What is the education like in Kibera?
Only 30% of children go to school in Kibera
Parents join schools to teach so they dont have to pay the fees
Schools have limited supplies of paper and pencils
School buildings are often constructed with wood and is constructed by
people in the community
They are taught to read and write
The buildings are clean and sanitary
For the students that can't go to school regularly, they attend a community
where they are taught basic skills.
4

What

The students that don't have the privilege of education go in search of jobs,
or continue on with the job they have found
are the good things about Kibera?
Residents keep their houses clean
Residents help each other in dire situations
Children and adults live normal lives, sleeping playing and dancing and
working
They grow up with siblings
Great community spirit that lets helps them be trustful of one another

References:
Banner, S. (2015). STOLEN ART FOR CHARITY: WHAT KIBERA RESIDENTS SAY.
Available: http://blog.voiceofkibera.org/. Last accessed December 3th.
world weather online. (Unknown). Kibera Monthly Climate Average, Kenya.
Available: http://www.worldweatheronline.com/kibera-weather-averages/nairobiarea/ke.aspx. Last accessed December 3rd.