Heading through Kibera to Future Stars
Today has been wonderful. I went out this morning, walking through Kibera to Future Stars. I took a suitcase full of donations and was met by Vincent Austine and John, two of the older boys, who carried it over the more difficult terrain to the centre. I saw for the first time what has happened to the children’s playing ground. It is now a quarry. Work is underway to lay rock on the main streets in an attempt to combat the mud. Unfortunately it has left the children without a convenient place to play.
At Future Stars I got the most wonderful greeting. I took Fermila with the children and made a small ‘speech’ in Swahili. I think I did okay – they all seemed to understand me anyway!
The Shamba at Future Stars
I got a guided tour of the shamba where 70-year-old Daniel takes charge of growing bananas, passion fruit, mangoes, sukuma, and sugar cane. It’s all on a very steep slope with the river at the bottom. Today it was very very slippery thanks to a fair amount of rain and the subsequent mud. The centre are currently keeping a few rabbits whose urine is used in the shamba to help the plants to grow. When the rabbits are fat they are slaughtered for food.
Donations for Future Stars
I handed out some of the donated goods – toothbrushes, pens, and exercise books. The remaining items will be distributed on Sunday when the residential children who attend other schools are present.
Making Plans for the Future
I ate lunch at the centre and then sat down to discuss plans for the schooling of three of the children. Vincent Austine and John want to start high school form one at the beginning of February. I looked at the details of a few schools.
Mourine, the young girl who was brought into Future Stars for her safety, needs to begin class seven. I talked to her for a while. It’s actually Mourine who has had me crying tonight. Just the thought of what she’s been through – repeatedly raped by her stepfather – it’s hard to think about. It’s a horrific thing to happen to any child let alone a child who has lost her father and whose mother is very sick. Mourine is quiet, shy, but has a beautiful smile.
With the Chaffinch Sponsored Children
I spent the afternoon with the children: playing, teaching. As usual, the little ones just wanted to touch me and stroke my skin and hair. They played with my camera. The children below are almost all of those who have Chaffinch sponsors – Isiah, Melvin, Praxides, Tashley, Emmaculate (no sponsor), and Samuel.
On Leaving Future Stars
At around 3pm I left Future Stars and walked, through an awful lot of mud, to Jamhuri. I collected a parcel from the IVHQ volunteer house, which I have promised to mail to Kesia who left Kenya to return to the UK before the parcel arrived.
Whilst I was in Jamhuri, the power went out. I returned to Ayani to discover no electricity there either. On further investigation it seems as though much, if not all, of Kibera was plunged into darkness. At least I know for certain that Soweto, Jamhuri, Ayani, and Olympic were out. Thankfully, after several hours of candlelight, we have power back.
Medical Care in Kibera
One other thing has bothered me today – the problems with medical care in Kibera. I cut my finger quite badly today and decided I needed some antiseptic cream. I went to a duka wa dawa (chemist) to pick some up. 50 shillings for a tube. Around 34p. At first, my thought was that, at such a low price (when compared to the UK), why do so many Kiberians suffer from minor ailments? Then I discovered what I was being sold – tetracycline ointment. It’s an antibiotic that is certainly not suitable for use on an open wound. Now I see why ‘medical treatment’ in the slum often does more harm than good.
Thinking about health, our new boy at Future Stars (Geoffrey) has malaria. The first clinic had run out of needles for taking blood. They said to return tomorrow. However, the second clinic could do the test and prescribed appropriate medication. I hope Geoffrey will be okay for our trip to Soysambu on Saturday.
When all you want is an Education
One last thing, 5 children who were removed by the government last week have returned. They want to go to school. They don’t care what the inspectors say – they just want to learn. It’s heartbreaking.
It’s now late and I’m exhausted. Looking forward to seeing the children again tomorrow.