Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Deep Sea and the Depths of Poverty in Nairobi

The first time I heard of Deep Sea slums was when my sister and a group of fellow nurses visited the slum as part of their social work way back in 2009...I guess it was 2009.

She narrated tales of the slum and ended her story with "Kibera must be 100 times better than what we saw".

Deep Sea is sandwiched between fences of affluence literally the slum begins in between fences of rich homes. It is just in between Parklands and Limuru Road.

Many of the residents single mothers do laundry in these homesteads for their upkeep. They leave behind toddlers to be taken care of by an elderly lady and they leave her with what they can and many times with nothing.

During my sister's visit to the slum the only attempt at sanitation was an attempt by a religious congregation of priests the Consolata Fathers to put up a sanitation block which the residents could take a bath and use the toilet for a shilling - many of them could not afford this one shilling but to make the service free would encourage irresponsibility. The priests also had a clinic and a school right in the heart of the slum.

Everywhere the slum told the story of an environmental hazard... signs of children with diarrhoea and cholera and adults with visible symptoms of being afflicted with AIDS (clearly they were not on ARVs or if they were their diet was nonexistent).

My sister and her colleagues visited twice more the second time to take foodstuff to the lady who took care of infants and toddlers.

I largely forgot about Deep Sea until this week when I saw an article by Amnesty International about planned evictions of the slum to pave way for a road.

I am not anti-development but I would rather the government took all the funds given to them by the EU for this road and misappropriated the money to give these people a humane life...at the very least the children born to women in this slum or the women who are mothers in this slum

Then again maybe our government is very conscientious and would not want to misappropriate money given for a road to other uses - then would it be too much to beg that part of the road budget be the cost of resettling residents of Deep Sea in a place where their children would know that toilets are not found only in the books their teacher reads to them... resettling them in a place where they would understand that the rest of the world does not wake up to the leaking sewerage from their neighbours and that there is such a thing as colorless water.

Would it be too much to beg that as much force and manpower that has been used in evictions be used in building these people a place to call home?

Would it be too much to beg my friends the affluent neighbours of Deep Sea to petition the government on behalf of their clothing launderers?

Maybe we can't change the world but would it be too much to ask all of us to start caring about the world?

At the very least if you read this please help by supporting Amnesty.org intervention on behalf of Deep Sea here http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/end-forced-evictions

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Loving life and living it. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
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