When it rains cats and dogs in Nairobi, where do you stay- hotel or slums ?

It’s close to midnight when I get this WhatsApp message:

“I can’t get to the house due to raining water. The river has cut off our access for tonight😢

The friend texting me is a social entrepreneur, one of the people in the slums (and still living there). He has achieved so much in life although the circumstances for him has been much harder than for many of our Western children and adolescents. Born in the slums, in a very difficult family situation, with low education background he has taken any opportunity to grow.

Today, he runs a social enterprise in the slums in Nairobi to give back to the youth that suffers from the same destiny. With filming and theatre plays he trains young people in the slums and gives them a lot of skills, health awareness and self confidence.

With his experience and knowledge he has supported also very actively our students program on social entrepreneurial thinking. As a speaker and as a filmmaker to document the students’ activities. They learned a lot from him. He brought them to the slums and explored together with them how life really looks there. Which are the daily challenges. How the slum is organized…

Back to the WhatsApp message …

We had a meeting tonight. A short one. Then he left. In Nairobi there is a lot of rain actually. More than it should rain in December. All the nights I stay here it’s raining: heavily, or at least steadily it’s raining. People say it might be the climate change. Farmers who were happy first, get scared more and more. The predictions says even more rain …

The main roads on the city are partly flooded. A lot of traffic jam. It seems that the rain never stops.

Then I arrive at the hotel. It’s ten in the evening. I’m tired. It was a long conference day and then a few so additional meetings afterwards… I fall asleep in my big, nice hotel room.

Somehow in the night I got this message. Francis was unable to go home. The slum was fully flooded…

I admit I have never thought that the rain could have such an impact. What it would mean to people living in the slums. Crisis situations hit those most who already suffer. What would have happened if a similar situation has happened in our countries? Media reports, a lot of activities to bring people in safety, finding sleeping places for them.

And in Mukuru slums in Nairobi ?

Well, no one cared about the people staying there. Neither about the adults, nor about the children, babies. Nor elderly ones or sick ones. No one. Most of them sleep just on the floor or at something that is similar to a low bed. Probably just flooded now. Where did they stay? In the middle of their flooded slum houses? What did mothers do with the babies? What about disabled people? What did they do with the water and the items in their one room habitats ? Did parts just swim away?

Just look at the picture!

…a swimming Coca Cola bottle. All the waste, the smell, missing canalizations, tons of waste – just floating around.

No one has talked about it today. Only a new message from Francis came in, a picture, along with this sentence: “Finally the situation got better…We have swimming pools for free inside our houses😂

This willingness to just accept and to do the best out of it, is impressive. To believe in life.

When I see that I see our people in the rich countries who start to shout out and to become nervous for some traffic jams and some delay; sometimes we are very unfriendly for small thing that do not work out immediately. We feel it’s not perfect. And it’s not fair.

But let’s ask ourselves: are we still behave in a healthy way within all our wealth? Are WE fair? Compared to such kind of life circumstances we live in a paradise. But we are never really aware about it. We forget to appreciate.

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