kibera mirror christmas edition | Hiv/Aids | Society

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INFLATION: High food prices kill the spirit of the festive season for the poor

Most expensive Christmas ever
It‟s the festive season again. A time of celebration and merrymaking as families and friends gather to celebrate Christmas and New Year. This year however, Kenyans are set to experience one of the gloomiest and most expensive Christmas seasons as spiraling inflation continues pushing the cost of most basic goods out of reach for a majority of the population. The long drought experienced for most of this year, the rise in international crude oil prices and a weakening shilling have been pointed out by many economists as the major reasons for the high inflation being experienced by the country right now. Recently, the energy regulatory commission (ERC) announced the largest reduction of fuel prices in the country this year by 5 shillings for most of the fuel products with petrol now retailing at 119 shillings and kerosene retailing at 90 shillings. Ironically, same commodities rose by over 30% within the year with petrol jumping from 94 shillings in January to 124 at its peak in November. Kerosene which is used by most low income households especially in the slums for lighting and cooking also rose from Sh 75 in January to Sh 94 in November pushing most of them to switch to charcoal as it is considered cheaper. However, the price of charcoal has also risen sharply by more than 100 percent to retail at Sh 50 per a tin and to these residents who survive with what is known locally as „Kadogo economy’ which translates to a system of only purchasing what you need at the moment in small quantities, it is becoming unbearably expensive to survive and Christ mas would pass out just like any other day; Struggling to survive.

Great barriers in the war against AIDS


It is a case of having too much to sell but no one in sight to buy for Edwin Antony– A second hand clothes dealer at the Toi market as he passes time reading a newspaper as buyers avoid purchasing clothes citing high prices. [photo: Vincent Achuka/Kibera mirror]
According to Beth, a resident of Gatwekera in Kibera, she has seen the price of charcoal rise uncontrollably this year. “At the beginning of the year, one tin of charcoal was retailing at Sh15 but today the cheapest you can get in Kibera is Sh 45 which is too high considering the fact that you can only use it to cook one meal and the price of food is equally high.” Fuel is a major driver of the Kenyan economy and an increase in its price causes major ripple effects to the prices of every good or service being sold in the country as manufacturers pass on the price increase to the consumers in order to cushion themselves against an increase in production costs. For instance a spot check by the Kibera mirror on the prices of commodities that have a high CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

Shopping list
Sugar 2kg Milk 500 ml Maize flour 2kg Home baking flour 2kg Bread 400 gms Cooking fat 1/2 kilo Kerosene 1 litre

Dec 2010 Dec 2011
Sh 160 Sh 25 Sh 65 Sh 113 Sh 32 Sh 98 Sh 75 Sh 400 Sh 32 Sh 118 Sh 147 Sh 46 Sh 130 Sh 90

orld AIDS Day, an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/ AIDS, was celebrated on the first of December. The event moved from its traditional venue in Nairobi to the lakeside city of Kisumu. But the government also organized an event for Nairobi residents that included a walk from Uhuru Park to the Kenyatta International Conference Center, and speeches by health and government officials and guests. This year‟s theme was “Getting to zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination.” Kenya‟s Prime Minister Raila Odinga assured Kenyans that the government was fully committed to reducing to zero the number of mother to child infections by 2015. Odinga‟s speech was read on his behalf in Kisumu by the Minister of Cooperatives Joseph Nyagah. Raila also spoke about the achievements so far since the disease was declared a national disaster by President Kibaki in 2003. These include the provision of free ARVs (antiretroviral drugs) and reduction of new infections. Currently, the United Nations estimates that 33 million people in the world are living with the virus and 100,000 people get infected yearly in Kenya alone. Speaker after speaker reiterated the need to reduce the stigma associated with the disease. Many people, especially the youth, are reluctant to be tested or will not go to health centers for ARVs for fear of being stigmatized. Speaking during the event, Nicholas Muraguri, head of the Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP), said that 40 percent of Kenyan youth become sexually active before they reach 19 years of age and 75 percent of them do not use protection in their first sexual encounter. But this age group rarely goes for testing. There is also a great need to increase education about the disease. Many CONTINUED ON PAGE

Just register for 8 packages at a combined cost of only 800 ksh At SHOFCO CYBER, Gatwekwera (0725269069) and turn to this



We went to the Kenya National Theater on November 26 and 27 to attend the 2nd Slum Talents Festival whose theme was „Celebrating slum talent‟. We saw many fine performances form many age groups. We were especially impressed by the Kibera hamlets acrobats, who leapt around the stage like gazelles, swallowed fire and kept the audience on its toes. These talented slum performers came together on this national platform to show off their talents. There were dancers, singers, poetry, acrobats, and play performed by our own Shining Hope actors and actresses. The weekend was sponsored by the Theatre for Development, SLUM-TV, Kenya Art Projects and many other groups. To raise these artists to the next level, the government should set aside funds through the Youth Development Fund to provide coaching, training, exposure and publicity for these artists. With proper backing, thee performers should be able to contribute to their own well-being and to the benefit of all of Kenya‟s arts communities.

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Door to decision
We come from a turbulent past To an info-age moving way to fast The fate of these lands Is now placed in our hands Will we bring destruction to an end? Will we have the power to mend? Save this fragile dreamland Wash away our footprints in the sand Global warming is causing weather changes right before our eyes But we still blacken our skies Sunrays take less time to burn our faces But we still destroy our rain forests Our oceans are slicked with oil spills Our waterways full of toxic waste that kills We build our cities on mountains of pollution Without an environmental solution We live our lives in search of wealth In the process damage our good health Crime stories are found on every newspaper page People loosing control in an uncertain age The victims of greed are getting younger In a world that still allows their hunger Our petty problems make us hang down our heads While million's go unfed Desire unfolds the light of our day But we cannot give in to the subtle decay We must rise above the haze descending Toward mass action mending We must take control of our actions today or the children of tomorrow will be the one's to pay The new innkeepers shall soon take charge of the next generations voyage at large Trends are patterned and patterns trended But man's damage must be ended!

EDITORIAL Change should begin with You
Social issues are controversial, dynamic and interrelated and interdependent. This could be attributed to the cultural beliefs and practices in various communities. A child that grows in an iniquitous culture may find it impossible to acculturate. This is because attitudes formed through the central route of persuasion have a lasting effect compared to those formed through the peripheral route. Also the social systems found in a particular environment modify behavior either positively or negatively. They interact in an input/ output system, hence garbage in garbage out. Agents of socialization; family, media, religion, school, peer group, penal systems, language, economic system etc. directly determine moral decay or uprightness in the society for instance juvenile delinquency is trainable and correctable. It all depends with a person‟s values and vision. According to me a holistic thinker is

Attitudes formed through the central route of persuasion have a lasting effect compared to those formed through the peripheral route.

likely to train a child on antisocial behavior. Some people in their adulthood indulge in socially unacceptable behavior that not only stresses their families but impacts others significantly. For instance a son who grows up in a family where the father batters the mother is likely to turn into a wife battarer himself when he gets married while a daughter who grows up in the same family would likely remain single for the whole of her life as she would have developed a hatred for men. In efforts to correct them, sometimes their families resort to consulting witchdoctors and some pastors who demand hefty

sums of money. Most of these pastors who claim they can heal probably cannot and witch doctors are downright liars. How can someone for instance claim that he has the ability toi cure AIDS when scientifically we know there is no cure. Such people actually promote retrogressive development because they waste resources which could be channeled to useful activities We can only lead in the right path if the choices we make as individuals are sound and meant to affect our futures positively. Therefore we should be smart in the choice that we make as change begins with us The writer is a social worker at shining hope for communities

Editor Vincent Achuka Photos Nancy Akinyi, Jessica Steinke & Slum TV Writers Kizito Nadebu, Solomon Sakwa, Jessica Steinke, Evelyn Atieno, Paul Owino, Linet Akinyi & David Otieno Special thanks Dan Whipple, Joan Pereruan & Kathy Bogan From page one

The cry of several hearts

Down the valleys and hills in the town full shanties are women weeping and children crying out. The sight of countless hungry looking women in the slums carrying little children on their backs can make you wonder if there is a break out a contagious disease in the area. “Mummy, where is daddy with food?” A young child cries out to his helpless mother. Husbands on the other hand leave their houses in the morning with nowhere to go as family members are left behind to search for something to ease the hunger pains on their own just like animals. What about a young child languishing in

pain in the stomach due to hunger? On the other side of town food is being thrown away from the magnificent houses of the same leaders who were elected to lead these suffering people. How ironical that these same leaders would still come back after five years to ask for votes from the people they have been neglecting all along? Question to you leaders, why don`t you take your responsibilities as leaders to rule the whole nation? Stop leaving women and children to die from hunger yet you have government resources that you have diverted for your own good?

Poem by: David Otieno, Nairobi

Linet Akinyi, Nairobi

Great barriers in the war against AIDS
people simply do not want to change their behaviour, even though they live in areas like slums where the disease is most prevalent. HIV is a virus that damages human immune cells. It weakens the immune system and, without treatment, leads most infected people to develop AIDS, according to the website of “Like all viruses, HIV infects the cells of a living organism in order to make new copies of it. It can only be transmitted in certain ways. It is found in blood and other body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids. However it cannot survive for long outside the body, so to be infected with HIV some body fluid from an infected person has to enter your body. The most common ways to become infected with HIV are: having unprotected sex or using condoms incorrectly; sharing needles and syringes; from blood transfusions using untested blood; mother to child transmission during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding. It is very important to be tested if you discover you are pregnant. However, you cannot get HIV from mosquito bites, which has been a common misconception. Nor can you get HIV from sharing anything else with a HIV infected person.

Pic speak

He is mine! Each of these girls wanted to have the mascot for herself during the National 10 km diarrhoea run held at Nairobi university. 500 children participated in the event. [Photo: Jessica Steinke]

All in one: Despite the tough economic times, stocking different products seems to be working well for this trader in Kibera [Photo: Nancy Akinyi]

Workers put final touches for the new Kibera School for Girls building. [Photo: Vincent Achuka]


chauvinism, drugs, racism, bad attitude and other vices. What is your taste? Through hip-hop basically I sing about everything. I can‟t say I concentrate on one thing. It is so diverse, but to me hip-hop is love. What is your greatest track so far? So far I have not done any commercial music. I prefer to be an underground artist. That is where the real hip-hop is. I do mix tapes. They allow you to use any beats to do a recorded freestyle. I have done one called brain misuse and incorporated many artists. Personally do you think music as an art can be used positively in our society? Definitely! Art is something so powerful. Most of the people listen to music. In times of sorrow, misery and happiness or even when bored you listen to music. Through music people learn a lot of things. Like now I am working on a peace song so that during elections next year people can learn from it. Currently which project are you working on? Right now I am working on the peace project and my debut album. When should we expect it? Let me leave you in suspense for now. You have to wait for it, but it will have different feeling and several artistes. It would be big. If someone wants your music where can he get it? You can download them from www.reverbnatio This is a website where artists upload their music. While there search for Kibera Slum Dawg. You can also find me on YouTube. Five years from now where do you think you will be? I expect to be far. I expect to have influenced a lot of people in the slum. I usually put all my concentration here and I feel the slum would have changed. Although not the whole of it as you know it is a very large area. But I hope the number of shanties would be reduced and there would be better housing. One day I know it would stop being referred to as an informal settlement and there would no more rusty rooftops. I always say that if you come from a ghetto you should never refer to yourself as being poor. Don‟t say that if you come from the ghetto you are poor because that is just a state of mind. I believe there is nobody who is poor in this world and as long as you can think of something to do and it uplifts you then you are not poor. People call Kibera a ghetto but I call it paradise. This is the poor man‟s paradise. This is my home. In five years‟ time I expect to be a big artist. Parting shot. What can you tell someone out there who wants to become an artiste and does not know how to start and how to go about it because you have been there for some time. First thing is hard work. You should also never give up and lastly be patient. Don‟t expect to wake up one day, write a song, run to the studio and expect to be a hit. In music nothing comes on a silver plate. Lastly, when you make it, never forget the hood where you came from.

To write that he is the biggest hip-hop artist in the country at the moment would be an overstatement. Likewise to write that he is not worth listening to would be an absolute understatement. One thing that is true though is that Kibera-born hip-hop artist- 23 year old Kevin Ochieng popularly known as Slum Dawg is really talented and is destined to go places. As Kibera Mirror found out in this exclusive interview, he believes music can be an agent of change. And he is not going to stop until he sees some change in the slums. Every artist has a story. What is your story? I started off as a break dancer in 2007. During the same year I started familiarizing myself with hiphop music. However, in 2009 I met other artists like Virus, Octopizzo and Mistake and we decided to form a group called YGB meaning Young Gifted and Black. This is basically an umbrella of artists from the slums. The four of us are the founding members of the group but we incorporate other artists. Other than that we also train dancers like Shelly Belly and Diatomic Dancers. Do you have a central place where you meet and do all these stuff? No, we just do our rehearsals at home, like for example at my residence, where we meet freestyle and write some lyrics. But for the dancers they need some space. So we at times request community recreational centers to lend us the space because it all about nurturing slum talents. How has been the going so far? I can‟t say it is bad. I can see people‟s perspective toward Kibera is changing. They finally have realized that living under rusty roofs doesn‟t mean that we have rusty minds. We have golden minds and raw talent. Basically as YGB we have put Kibera on the map and we are respected for that. In the past it was all about Dandora and these other places in Eastlands. In the past, people only associated Kibera with crime, war, drug abuse and only talked of the negatives. Since you started as an artist, what was your breakthrough point? (Laughing) I can‟t say that I have made it. I am not yet there. Though I am a bit famous, I will only say that I have made it when youths in the slum change What of Money? Ha ha. Money?…. Not yet but I can‟t say I am Upcoming artist Kevin Ochieng also known as Slum dawg (left) with Sudanese broke either. artist and UN peace ambassador Emmanuel Jal during their project to promote So music does pay generally? peace last year. Ochieng lost his father during the 2007 post election violence in Not only that. Through music I have worked with Kibera and is on a mission to promote peace through his music an NGO called “You Made” that was dealing with uplifting men‟s needs in Africa. I also met with Emmanuel Jal, a peace activist and internationally Kenya as he did not want a repeat of the with people as it will move them and violence of 2007 since Kenya is the eco- make them see the essence of peace. recognized Southern Sudanese hip-hop artist…. nomic powerhouse of Eastern Africa and That‟s how we‟ve been working till Speaking of Emmanuel Jal, there are rumors anything that happens here the whole now that there is a project you are doing with him? Yes, on peace. Himself he grew up as a war child in region economically. I also lost my par- As a child did you ever think of doSudan, but right now he is among the most famous ents during that time. ing music? celebrities in the world. At the moment he is tour- Receive our sincere condolences. Thanks. When the violence erupted they I never thought of it. ing the United States and other parts of the world spreading messages of peace. Peace is the backbone were coming from upcountry in a matatu Now hip-hop music has been known when they were shot. Both of them were for glorifying sex, violence, male of everything, as without peace there is no freedom. I met him through my friend who was chatting with sitting on the front seats. My dad died him on Facebook. Jal updated his status on Face- instantly but my mum who had been shot book that he needed to work with young men. Coin- in the head was hospitalized for 14 cidentally he was to tour Kenya at around that time. months. So Jal heard my story and he was I met him and he told me that his focus was mainly touched. He thought it was good to share


From page one

Inflation dampening the mood of Christmas

demand during the festive season in major supermarkets revealed that they were being sold at very high prices as compared to the beginning of the year. For instance sugar is now retailing from Sh 375 upwards from Sh 200 at the beginning of the year. Naivas supermarket, which is known as a customer friendly supermarket due to its low prices is selling a 2 kg packet of Jogoo maize flour at Sh 118, 2kg EXE what flour at Sh 132, 2kg Mwea rice at Sh 250 and a 2kg Kasuku cooking fat at Sh455. Most of the people we talked to have been forced to cut back their plans for the festive citing high food, commodity and increased fares. For instance, most of the people who normally travel upcountry to celebrate Christmas with their families will not be doing so as fares which normally increase during the festival season due to increased demand have gone even higher due to increased operation costs and fuel prices. For instance in order to travel to Kisumu one is now forced to part with a minimum Sh 1500 Beatrice Okoth is one of the people affected by this sharp increase in fare prices and terms 2010 as the worst year she has ever seen in her lifetime. According to her, she has even been forced to do two jobs in order to put food on her table for her children and she does not even know how she intends to spend her Christmas as here is simply no money. “I had planned to travel up country with my children

but the fare is too high. My children keep on asking me for presents so that they can be like their neighbours and I don‟t want to disappoint them. ” Just like consumers, traders too are feeling the effects of inflation as business is unusually low when it is expected to be booming at this time of the year. Edwin Antony, a second hand clothes dealer at Toi market claims he is caught between a rock and a hard place as customers are not streaming his shop due to high prices even though second hand clothes are preferred by the middle and lower class consumers for their low prices but this time round they are unbelievably high. Edwin who sources his clothes for resale from the UK, Scotland and The Netherlands blames the weak shilling for his woes. “One bale of clothes was costing Sh 7000 at the beginning of the year but at the moment get it Sh 16000 so if I don‟t increase my prices I would not make anything. The customers also have to understand that we are also people who have to make a living. Even if the Shilling has since strengthened, it is already too late and it will take some time before things normalize. The government must admit that it failed its people.” He adds bitterly. To add salt to injury, the ongoing war on alshaabab in Somalia has also raised security concerns with most people fearing terror attacks . As we move towards the end of the year it appears many will be having a gloomy Christmas and will just be waiting for 2012 wishing that it will bring with it tidier times. That waits to be seen with elections scheduled for next year threatening to bring even tougher economic times. To comment on this story and others write to us on


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Slum talent goes national
There was pomp, color and a display of rich talent when the youth from various slums in Nairobi got a rare opportunity to showcase their theatre talents on the biggest stage of them all—The Kenya National Theatre during the second annual National Slum Festival on November 26 and 27. The two-day event was organized by Theatre for Development in conjunction with Slum TV, Goethe Institute and Hope Theatre to help young people avoid crime, sexual immorality and the drug manacle to live a healthy life with hope. They displayed their talents through music, poetry, acrobatics, drama and other art forms. Festival participants were drawn from all age groups. They re-enacted the ills that bedevil the contemporary Kenyan society, including institutional corruption, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and health, immorality, political violence and crime. These issues were explored through plays, verse, dance and narrative. The youth, who are used to performing in small makeshift theatres in the slums and not in a real theatre with lights, did not disappoint. The cameras rolled, celebrities were in attendance, and a large audience watched. The performances left the audience sometimes surprised, sometimes in stitches, and always wanting more. Notable performances included the Swug crew from Huruma in Eastlands who thrilled with their choral verse Ulevi, which centers on the effects of excessive alcohol consumption by husbands at the expense of family responsibilities. The choral holding their breaths as they watched them do what they do best—high adrenaline stunts and tricks. At one stage during their performance an acrobat swallowed fire from a plate as if he was eating food. the fire reduced until it fizzled out in what seemed like a camera trick from a Hollywood movie to the amazement of the audience. Another breathtaking stunt from the same acrobat involved sliding his body head first through a 12-inch cylinder. Throughout their nearly one hour performance, one acrobat particularly swung on a rope that disappeared to the top of the stage and he would occasionally scale up and down the rope, sometimes disappearing into the ceiling and reappearing after some time to do more high octane stunts. All this while his feet never touched the ground. You would have thought that he was born on a rope. Speaking during the event, guest of honor Nairobi city council town clerk Philip Kisia encouraged the youths to take art seriously since it can be a source of income. He told the youth to work hard for their livelihood instead of waiting for handouts. “If someone brings you fish, do not take it. Ask him for a fishing line,” Kisia said. The event was hosted by popular Kiss 100 radio presenter and comedian Felix Odiwor popularly known as Jalan‟go. The comedian who has his roots in Mathare slum rose from humble beginnings to acting school to bookings as a small time actor to national radio. Apart from comedy he also acts in a popular weekly comical drama Papa Shirandula that airs on Citizen TV. He also directs another comedy, Naswa, on the same channel.

One of the performances that was staged during the 2nd annual slum festival at The Kenya National theatre [photo : slum TV]
verse was acted as an exchange between a drunk husband who comes home late demanding food even though he did not leave any money, and his wife. The parts were performed by a group of six male and female actors. It was a classic masterpiece with good choreography and a smooth synchronization of voices. The male actors who represented the alcoholic husbands in the set were dressed in tatters. They staggered and blurred their voices while reciting their lines just like drunken people usually do, while the female actors representing the angry oppressed wives of drunkards responded as expected, to the amazement of the audience. The festival also showcased one of the most talked about plays of the year, The Dream Of Getting A Job by Hope Theatre from Korogocho slum. It will premiere in 2012 in Europe at Kulturhaus Leverkusen- Germany. It follows the lives of a newlywed couple whose dreams are pegged on the husband, Mike, succeeding at his job interview for a major international bank. As the eldest son, the young man must take over responsibility for his wife as well as both their families. But Mike‟s dreams of working for the bank slowly turn to nightmares when he discovers a dark secret about the organization. Kibera, the country‟s biggest slum, provided an ocean of talent. It had the largest representation at the festival with about 200 actors, some as young as 10 years of age from various theatre groups based in the slum including Pillars of Kibera, Wayo Wayo, Kidiot, Kibera Hamlets and Shining Hope. Kibera Hamlets stole the show with their dances performed by young actors and their amazing acrobats who had the audience

Kibera celebrates Sixteen days of gender activism
To celebrate the sixteen days of activism against gender based violence, residents of Kibera held their own event at Mchanganyiko hall along Karanja road on Dec. 9. The event whose theme was „From peace in the home to peace in the world‟ was well attended with several NGOs being well represented plus wananchi who turned out. Several gender issues were discussed although most of them revolved around rape, marital rape and child molestation. This was probably because in a slum situation where there is inadequate security women and children are the most vulnerable though at times there are cases of men who are molested. During the event, fifteen groups were formed to work in ensuring that the cases of gender based violence reduced. The community was also urged to take action whenever they witnessed such cases. Kibera contains the highest number of human injustices in the world. Physical abuse and gender based violence for instance are now currently the greatest forms of human injustice that happen right under the noses of the residents. And it comes in various forms ranging from inhuman beatings to torture and physical assault or in most cases without reason at all. Although all of them are against the laws of Kenya, in this part of the country most of the residents are either unaware of this or do it deliberately. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.

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