By any measure it’s a protracted safari from Burundi to Kibera and at around 1200 matatu kilometres is an arduous achievement. Barely breaching his twenties, Steve had left his family and the Burundi challenges to make the long trek solo in search of the bright lights and financial illusions of the Nairobi metropolis. Realistically that meant serving his time in the uncertainties of Kibera. Steve, (his adopted kibera tag as his French influenced Burundi name is unpronounceable by the locals) although resolute could be easy prey for the darker operators of the Kibera deep state economies.
A chance meeting with a recent start-up barbers and the Kibera Saints football club proved more than a life-line for Steve. His ability to connect with the customers and to learn the requisite barber skills despite some linguistic challenges has made him popular amongst the locals and a valued employee. Entrepreneuristic to the core he acquired a “smokies and eggs” burner that sits just outside the barber’s kiosk and generates a brisk but modest supplementary income.
With a little Kibera Saints kindness his hope, like the ‘smokies’, moves quietly from the horizon.