Green Screen…

The Chinese invasion of low-cost smart phones into Kibera has reached near saturation point for the under thirties. The insatiable appetite for social media and instant chat has had little effect on the more traditional forms of communication. Competing music can be heard pounding the sinews of elderly part functioning speaker stacks daily. Local radioContinue reading “Green Screen…”

Boda Boda…

Nairobi’s peak traffic inflicts pollution levels that are civically unmeasured. A choking blanket of acrid fumes exude from the numerous elderly and poorly maintained matutu; essential to move the thousands of workers around the metropolis.  When the arterial routes inevitable grind to a halt, journey times can extend from twenty minutes to several hours, whilstContinue reading “Boda Boda…”

12 Step Bhang…

According to our Narcotics 12 step teaching programme, addiction has little respect for class, race or wealth. The choice of drug however is strictly related to financial capacity, availability and demand. Changaa, a low quality alcoholic brew that is locally concocted and sold for a few shillings, is widely available and largely overlooked by theContinue reading “12 Step Bhang…”

Umeme:- Poleni Sana…

High density informal dwellings are a consequence of urban pull factors and aspirational hope of those who have little. Nairobi has capacious needs and Kibera services them at minimal cost. Whilst Nairobi’s urban growth sprawl is partly organic it benefits from oversite and planning, Kibera is left to its own devices. Whilst water and sewageContinue reading “Umeme:- Poleni Sana…”

Kuku on the roof…

Not particularly known for their aeronautical prowess, kuku might well have preferred to keep her feet firmly closer to ground level, although spare bare earth has become a district rarity. Constrained by the sewer laden streams and civic boundaries, even informal shacks are obliged to extend skywards. Second levels of precarious development are becoming commonContinue reading “Kuku on the roof…”

Pamoja FM 99.9…

Electronic communications across Kibera are remarkably good. Third generation cellular networks and patchy wifi hotspots are available. Smartphone ownership using cost effective Chinese handsets, is highly valued and necessary to obtain work, information, maintaining rural contact and as important business tool. Swapping airtime credit for goods and services creates a virtual banking system in aContinue reading “Pamoja FM 99.9…”

Shylock’s Revenge…

Conceiving and nurturing a fledgling a micro finance initiative on paper is relatively simple.  Micro loans for a cottage business attracting a modest service charge facilitating the entrepreneurial in Kibera a hand up and an alternative to the Shylocks’ incalculable interest rates and leg-breaking consequences for non-payment. An impartial committee of local volunteers and communityContinue reading “Shylock’s Revenge…”