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…”

Soccer, Scars and the Monkey in the car…

Sixty soccer coaches congregating on scrub land belonging to the ironically  juxtapositioned Kenyan Scout ground can give the illusion that the sprawling urban chaos that is Kibera is some distance away. Such is the proximity of Kibera that a lengthy concrete perimeter security wall has been constructed, emphasising the economic chasm and social divide. TheContinue reading “Soccer, Scars and the Monkey in the car…”

Two Pistols and a Fake Uniform…

Crime rates in Kibera are unsurprisingly high although the gathering and collating of any useful and relevant data is fickle as government activity is noticeable by its absence unless an election is imminent. Police presence is practically non-existent. Low paid and overstretched, interfering with the complexities of Kibera can be hazardous and is often leftContinue reading “Two Pistols and a Fake Uniform…”

Moving a River…

Informal 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 policyContinue reading “Moving a River…”