A few days ago I (Jamie) and my sister went into Kibera Slum to visit the Kigulu HIV/Aids Center. I have been in slums plenty of times before but this was my first experience in Kibera. Kibera is like most slums in that the living conditions are deplorable and completely unacceptable. You see the same sites….sewage running through the paths, young children fending for themselves, shacks of metal, mud and plastic tarps stacked tightly together, rubbish everywhere, livestock roaming freely, people starving. The difference with Kibera is that it is huge….the second largest slum in all of Africa. Nearly 1 million people call Kibera home (1/4 of Nairobi’s population). Kibera is where most of the violence took place in Nairobi last January. If you have seen the movie Constant Gardener then you have seen Kibera. Parts of the movie were filmed there. Going into Kibera, and any other slum for that matter, has one affect. When you see that amount of people living in those conditions it breaks your heart, every time. But I never fail to be amazed that every time I visit such place and witness such atrocities I always encounter kind, friendly, hardworking people.
The center we visited is working to provide supervision, education, and 2 meals a day to anywhere from 30-50 kids that have been affected by HIV/Aids. Each of the children either have the disease, have parents with the disease, or have lost parents to the disease. Unfortunately, Kigulu is not able to house the children at this point so the children are sent home each night to their sick parents, or worse, alone. They recently started a football club that gives street kids a chance to plug into a team, recieve soccer training, as well as education. Kigulu is one of many organizations that is working to make life better for as many children as they can. Very early in our visit we started realizing that the director was expecting something from us, some kind of support or assistance, and who could blame him. We do not know at this point what we are going to be able to do for Kigulu because there is so much we would like to do for some many different places. We do know that we are going to start by purchasing a gas stove for them. They have been preparing the meals for the children on a charcoal grill. The charcoal is costing them around 1000 ksh every few days. Gas canisters would cost around 2000 ksh a month, which would save a good bit of money in the long run. We just want to say thanks to those that have given finances to be used on such projects as this one. We will be sure to post when we deliver the cooker, as well as with future projects.