Moving a River…

dsc00517Informal housing settlements are just that. The dynamism and the darker elements of an unregulated heavily loaded land-market, a million or so souls who live hand to mouth in the illusion of trickledown economics and the irresistible urban pull-factors of the Nairobi capital conspire unrelentingly to the DNA of Kibera.

Partly constrained by government policy the inclined land was once deemed to be worthless and only suitable for rural migrants who were seeking a better life, are now inextricably linked to the urban pool of ‘economic’ labour. The ever increasing demand for slum space has produced some ingenious but temporary solutions. Precariously perching a second story upon current constructions relieves some of the land demand and creates rental income. The suck-it-and-see construction techniques can and do result in some horrendous consequences.

Such is the land demand, the heavily polluted river to the south is being challenged. The government strictly enforced natural slum boundary is being manually moved inch by inch. Knee deep in rancid rubbish and human waste, young men can be seen laboriously hacking the outer banks and rebuilding the internal banks to provide precious shack space.

The yet to arrive heavy rains will no doubt deliver their verdict ahead of any government intervention.




These writings are penned whilst in the field working with our friends who live and work in Kibera and it is hoped that they bring insight, understanding and a provocation that the status-quo is unacceptable. Please feel free to unsubscribe or share as appropriate. Any opinions implied or expressed are my own and names may have been changed for the sake of privacy.        

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