Settling Down In Washington DC

18 Aug

I write this blog mainly for my Kenyan Friends family and relatives to have them understand how am doing so far

Order! There is a lot of order here;  no one cares about who, everything goes as per the plan, a lot of prior planning. Yes, am in America, Washington DC this is my second time in US, the last time I was in New York City, but just for a week, now am here for a bit  longer period. I didn’t learn a lot in New York because it was easy. I was in a program that took care of everything, from food to accommodation to travel expenses, a UN program, and would even control where I can and cannot go.

The last one week I felt the same, the feeling of being taken care of, being loved, this time by IREX ‘s Community Solution Program. All the 56 leaders from around the world were flown to DC to be place in different organizations that match their work back home. It has been so exiting. Georgetown University was just an amazing place to be for an orientation. Four days later we are all let loose to find our own accommodations anywhere close to our work places.  When I finished high school I was told about going to meet the outside world, this is now the real outside world for me, trying to adapt and survive in a foreign land on my own. Pay my bills, live myself, and be responsible, of course am paid a living stipend. In Kenya we keep left on the road, here people keep right on the road, I still have difficulty crossing the streets,  adapting slowly though.

America is not like Nairobi, am used to paying cash for everything I buy, here its different, you need to have a credit card or a debit card or whatever card. Ok I have a debit card that I use to buy things around, my big problem is trying to convert dollars into Kenya shillings, each time I convert I see a lot of money, and then I stop buying. How can I buy a fruit for $5? that equals Ksh. 500, while back home the same fruit cost ksh 20. Life is incredibly expensive here, or perhaps I just don’t need to convert anything or else I will starve. The main mode of transport here is metro services, a train or a bus; again you need a card, a metro card. No one speaks with you, you can basically buy anything you want, or move to anywhere you want without speaking to anyone, it’s just you and your card. A lot of order, what do you think?…the systems are working well. I have learnt how to use my card in food stores and my metro card on a train and bus but still need to learn how to top it up.

Two days ago, I got lost. I spent a better part of my Sunday sleeping, maybe I was still jet lagged, then I woke up and took a walk down town Takoma Park, I went up to the open air market, came back to my house prepared lunch and left to visit a friend in White Aok, Marryland, so I decide to walk up to Silver Spring down town, then took a metro bus, The bus passed my destination with me, I had told the driver to let me know once am there so I sat close to him, but he didn’t. I had to come backwards. In America people believe that you should know, or you should follow instructions or Google or use your Google map or some mobile apps for direction. No point of bothering people around.

I love it, I really love the fact that am learning new things, that am adapting to live in a new environment with a new system. That so far so good!

Yes yesterday I was in a meeting where a presentation on the South Sudan conflict resolution mechanism was presented. It was my first meeting on my first job on my first day in the US office. Everything was really in order right from keeping time to keeping to the agenda, I loved it.

I am Lucky, am lucky because I am placed here in DC so I’ll meet many people and make many connections, am lucky because am placed at Search for Common Grounds (SFCG), a very serious International organization that does amazing work, with amazing people, am now a fellow in their program “Battle for Humanity”.

My new tittle

My new tittle

I am lucky because I got a house at Takoma just next to the metro Red line, am lucky because I have all the four Kenyans placed here in DC so we can easily visit and see each other, everyone tells me that… and am lucky because my Community Mentor is Massi, Massi is amazing person, Italian, works in the communications department SFCG. I have a good connection with Italians, though Massi doesn’t know about this yet but he has really been helpful to me, He is like my elder brother here. Am also lucky because my boss Erica and Mikel live here in DC and can give some guidance where necessary, Am excited to meet them.

Just a week before I left Nairobi, I was involved in some filming work, for the Kenya Investment Authority to produce a promo video showing how Kenya is beautiful, something meant to attract more tourists and investors to come to Kenya, it was great opportunity for me interviewing high profile people CEOs, MDs of big companies and organizations including Cabinet secretaries and to film places considered beautiful in my country. I enjoyed the job knowing very well that soon and very soon Ill be flying out, so it was a chance to also summarize my time in Kenya. I was also proud how my country is nice because I went to many places I had never been to. Yes, but we are still far away from US. US is just far ahead…

Windsor Country Club, Kenya

Windsor Country Club

However I still believe that we are rich, Africa is rich in culture, resources and in many other ways, a friend from Dubai recently  told me that all his wealth he attributes to Africa, “all my wealth, all the flats I have in Dubai everything, I owe it to Africa, without Africa I wouldn’t be that rich” he said. Why is it that we don’t see the opportunity around us and capitalize on them? Why must someone fly in 13-20 hours to tap out the opportunity then we start complaining?

Anyway, Dr. Diedre Combs gave me a book, a book that am yet to read a book that I consider the best gift I have ever got, and she encouraged me to always use the lens of my camera to open the minds of the world, the message is so powerful to me. I am and will always do that..

Diedre's book to me

Diedre’s book to me

Diedre's personal words to me

Diedre’s personal words to me

Am so happy to have met her, She is such a mazing woman so inspiring; she is so experienced in the leadership / conflict resolution skills, she is a coach, a mediator and professor. you wouldn’t want her sessions to end soon.

I cannot forget the Washington DC tour, it was so humbling to feel that I am standing, or squatting or sitting, or even lying, right at the exact point where Dr. Martin Lurther King Jnr, gave his famous speech “I have a dream” You would feel like you are him or at least you were with him.  And Capital Hill and white House, and Washington monument are all nice places to visit.

Today is my second day in office with all these amazing people really welcoming and willing to help me, they have all told me their names but you know I can’t master; I can’t remember all the names by now yet. I know its normal, with time I will be shouting their names around, oh! No I can’t do that the office is very quiet.

Talking about names, I walked into a super market to buy some sugar, there was no Mumias Sugar, or Sony Sugar, or just common local sugars, it took me really a long time to notice that this was a sugar,

Domino Sugar

Domino Sugar

it’s a very nice kind of sugar though, so soft like glucose powder and sweet just like ours haha! And even tea expect no Ketepa and stuff here, oh, and No Ugali . of course I knew this before.

Its generally hot weather now.

Alicia my supervisor is a very caring person, she makes sure am comfortable even while she is away from the office.

am just Lucky…….

By Josh. 

A community Solutions Program 2015 Fellow

Meet Kenneth Ochieng Wanga, aka “the Governor”

17 May

Great! Wanga, Keep the fire burning men!

Balloon Ventures Blog

Kenneth Ochieng Wanga is a 21 year old ‘Change-mindedyouth, hailing from Kisumu via Nairobi. He has been nicknamed ‘The Governorby the Eldoret Team due to his knowledge and passion for Kenyan politics and his desire to represent and help the countriesyoung people.

Kenneth

When did you start Volunteering?

I think that deep down I have been a volunteer since the moment I was born! However, for many, many years I never did anything about it, not until I was 18 really. It was a hungry time for me; I only realised when I needed help myself that giving to the community without expecting return or payment is the way to live.

What youth volunteer programmes have you been on before?

Action AID was my first project when I was 18; I volunteered as a social media officer for the programme. My job was to mobilise…

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How I joined Map Kibera (Flash Back)

22 May

While sited inside Kinyozi (Barber shop), where I used to spend most of my time during the weekends, listening to the  old school music as we remember our good old days was one way to spend our weekend since there was no much money to have a lot of fun. Steve Banner a big time friend who was running this barber shop had been a barber and a hair dresser here for the last two years now, for the first time, I had about KNN, it was actually some “Mzungu” white Erica who had come to train interested Kibera youths in video making. She had flip cameras while  Desktop computers were provided by Kibera Community Development Agenda (KCODA) a Community Based Organization they were partnering with, as Steve was explaining to me what they do and how it was, I listened with a lot of concentration , the music was low at this point and there was no customer for Steve we were just the two of us.  From what I could gather it was something to do with news and journalism, I felt so much interested , being a journalist had been my child hood dream.

“What are the qualifications?”  I asked, “there is no much qualification, you only have to be coming from and living in Kibera” said Steve. This to me was a God sent, how could someone offer such an amazing training  free of charge? I thought.

Steve Banner

You will realize that I have been mentioning Steve more often in the previous three blogs, yes he is a big time friend, we were raised up in the same hood, Kamrembo Siwandhe village, Ukwala Division, Ugenya in Nyanza province, we went to the same primary school, Kamrembo Siwandhe Primary School, we joined the same secondary school, Ukwala High School, unfortunately he did not complete the four year course due to lack of school fees, and now we live in one of the largest slum in Africa with Steve, Raila village in Kibera, we work in the same organization under the same program Kibera News Network, and more so we share the same land lord and we are both married now, you may think that we keep following each other, No its just by coincident.

I was going to join KNN the following Tuesday during their meeting, KNN had been in existence for one month when I joined.

I also  run a workshop with a friend where we fix electronics equipments, so that day I had to wake up as usual go to the workshop then later at 10am I was on my way to KCODA offices where KNN used to have their meetings and trainings.

I found six people inside the room, Steve Bunner being among them, there was one white Erica Hagen, I met her for the first time, all along during  Steve’s explanation I thought Erica was a man only to learn that she was a lady. More people came in, we were now 16people. I noted that people had been divided into groups, a group of 4 people each.

Erica Hagen

I had obviously become a member of KNN, it is this time that I also new the meaning of KNN as Kibera News Network. This day we were given an assignment, to go with flip cameras and make a video profile for anyone who had an interesting and a unique life. I was so green, I had never used a computer before, I had never operated any video camera, members of my group had an idea but were not available for the assignment. Shooting and editing was to be  done within one week. The following Tue was going to be presentation for all the videos done, with absolutely no idea I thought of Pascal, a young boy in Kibera who came to Nairobi by himself to start a life. He later found himself in the born making industry, where he makes jewellery out of animal born, a job that has sustained him for quite sometimes.

I approached him and explained to him what I was intending to do, he accepted and was more than willing to talk, only that he could not speak English, how was I going to subtitle all these?

subtitling was feared by almost every member of KNN during this time but here I had to do it now, I went and filmed Pascal at his workshop in Hawkers Market next to Toi Market, then for more cutaways and in depth interview we arranged to go up to his house and filmed him from the  house.

I like watching news on TVs so I had a rough idea of how to lay down my story. I later asked Steve to help me edit it since I didn’t know anything yet, we edited and by Monday my video was done.

Which group was ready to show us their work? Erica asked, everyone was quite, I fearfully presented mine, “Pascal the Bony Boy” was the tittle which we later had to change to  Pascal Bone Jewellery Maker In Kibera after viewing and people commenting .

We then watched some more from the other groups and the voting was done on which video to be posted on our you tube channel . The majority voted for my video, it was a surprise even to me, I knew my video had a lot of shaking, the voice over was too shaky too, but here it was emerging the best, perhaps the story itself was nice or perhaps they just wanted to encourage me, I felt so encouraged this being my first time to do it, if only I could do that video a gain…

Three years ago I was in Naivasha where I trained on electronics Engineering until 2008 when the Kenya Post Election Violence erupted in Naivasha, I was forced to quit and move back to upcountry till the situation calmed down. I later came to Nairobi and found myself in Kibera, opened a workshop in Makina Market in Kibera, but here I was again training on video making, I wanted to be a journalist.

During this time I came a cross a very humble long beard man, his name was Mikel Maron, Mikel was already running a program called Map Kibera, that was doing mapping in different topics in Kibera, then I had about the Voice Of Kibera that was doing SMS reporting and web submission reporting on issues happening in Kibera.

Mikel Maron

Geography was my worst performing subject at school so I had no interest at all on anything related to geography like mapping, neither did I have interest in VoK, I was well placed at KNN, it did not  take long before the feeling to emerge the three programs came up, since all we were doing had a lot in common, “information creating and sharing” for positive change. Many people were willing to help the project succeed, Evelien Davidson volunteered to train us more on Camera work and editing, then on her leaving Wanda O’Brien stepped up to train us on reporting skills.

Evelien with some KNN members

The three programs were later emerged and hence Map Kibera Trust was formed, with all the three programs under one roof.

http://www.mapkibera.org

http://www.voiceofkibera.org

http://www.kiberanewsnetwork.org

With 9 people on mapping, 7 people on VOK, and 7 people on KNN, the Trust has come from far and undergone so much. When I first joined the group, I didn’t know it would be this big.

We did not know we would be an organization, now we are, we did not have an office now we have,

Map Kibera Trust is now a big name both locally and internationally.

The Mapping Team

KNN members

I cannot forget to mention Jamie and Primoz who also played a big role in bringing up the Map Kibera Trust organization before they left and Kepha takes over the Directorship of the Trust, we still have along way to go and sky is the limit.

Youth And Employment in Africa

2 May

Just the other day 24th April 2012, World Bank via Africa Gathering organized a serious  forum for brainstorming session at Business Lounge, Junction Mall, Ngong Road Nairobi Kenya. The session was meant for the Kenyan youths to discuss high unemployment rate in Kenya and Africa at large, and I happened to have been in that meeting. Marieme Jamme who was sent by the World Bank to get Kenyan’s views concerning unemployment, started by wanting to know who amongst us were employed, unemployed, and self employed, it then emerged that a lot of people were self employed.                                                                                                                                                              

The meeting composed of different people selected randomly from different places. Are there jobs in Kenya ? Jamme asked, many people were like not sure but later poured answers like jobs are there but corruption,  high qualifications and experiences, bad education system etc.

Jamme wanted to get a report, a report that she would take back to the World Bank, unlike all a long World Bank has been giving reports to Africans, this time they wanted a report from Africans to the World Bank.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Looking at some of the things that can be done to end poverty in Kenya and other parts of Africa, farming was coming out strongly as one of the best things one can embark on, but not all people can be farmers, again Kenyan youths feels that farming is not a” sexy” job to do, the youths would prefer clean office jobs, a white Kenyan farmer was then given a chance to present her talk, according to her farming is the way to go, she showed us what she had done and what she had achieved with farming. But still it was had to convince a Kenyan youth to turn into farming.                        

We were then asked to define who an ordinary Kenyan is, after different people gave different answers on this, it then dawned to us that most people in this meeting were well off and were running there own businesses. How many people here comes from the slums, one person asked, I was the only one from Kibera slum, this was a challenge to the organizers because many unemployed youths comes from the slums, then the whole attention turned on me, I became like the reference point and I represented many unemployed youths from Kibera.

I had a lot of questions to answer, then we were quickly divided into three groups to find a  possible solution to the en rooting unemployment , from the the groups the most alarming issue was the bad education system that many suggested needs to be looked at a gain.

KNN Training on Citizen Journalism

28 Mar

For long Knn has received different trainings from different trainers on different topics, starting with definition of what citizen journalism is, Job Mwaura, a masters student from Moi University wanted to make sure that we understand the concept of citizen journalism, I guess this ought to have come earlier, before we even  learn t how to use a camera, how to edit videos, how to report,  how to upload them on you tube, we needed to have known what citizen journalism entails. Its good because it was not too late for us to learn this.

With all the six Knn members present, Job takes us through the session, and from this we knew about Dan Gillmor the founder of Citizen Journalism, his name is so important that you should not talk about citizen journalism without mentioning him.

While  looking at what qualifies one to be a citizen journalist, the list was long and I believe we passed test and qualified to be one.

We later looked at How to generate story ideas, something that has really opened up our minds and will help us identify more stories in Kibera. It was a two hours interesting session that left us informed, and are now looking forward to 3rd April 2012 when Job will be coming back again to teach us more on media ethics.

Job has been doing a research on Citizen Journalism focusing on Kibera News Network, he has been with us for one month and during this time he decided to arrange for such trainings as his way of appreciation, on my own behalf and on the behalf of KNN team, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Job Mwaura and the the Management of Map kibera Trust at large.

I Didn’t Want to Talk about it, so I Blogged It

7 Feb

The turn out for this meeting was pretty good, members of Map Kibera Trust attended an all trust meeting that started by everyone saying their achievements for the year, it was a good exposure for me, the team work was really encouraging, I acquired new skills, were some of the things members said. A meeting that we expected was going to give a way forward, a review, or even a work plan for this new year after having worked for 6 months on a trial system waiting for our contracts to be renewed. The eager and curiosity could be read all over the walls, then all of a sudden they appeared from KNN editing room, the house went quite, Kepha, Jamie and Primoz were here, ready to break the news, that Jamie and Primoz had submitted their resignation letters to the board.

At this point my brain stopped working for a moment, my mouth went dry, I was confused, I didn’t want to believe it, but why? what happened? why did it have to be this soon? I felt abandoned in the red command at the time we needed them most.
For those who don’t know, Jamie has been the Executive Director for Map Kibera Trust while Primoz has been the Programs Director for the same Trust, now they were going to leave us for the reasons we  don’t understand, reducing the number of foreigners in the trust, to give room for the locals Kibera residents to manage themselves, was one of the reasons they gave us, but why now? why both of them at the same time? a lot of questions engulfed my mind as Primoz was trying to explain.
I looked a round to see what the others thought just from expressions in their faces, I looked at Jacob, Steve, Lucy then Sande, all I could see was a shock a real shock that was not easy to hide. “Its time for you guys to step up and take responsibilities from us, this is your thing and we strongly believe you can” Said Primoz. I thought I was dreaming, then Kepha says, “even the lion watches as the antelope gives birth and the young one has to escape from danger because the lion doesn’t care that its too young to be killed and eaten” as I try to digest all these I remembered how Evelien left us, I remembered how Wanda left us, these two had been our trainers before, we loved them so much but for Jamie was now too much because we trusted her, we had a lot of faith in her, she had become so much part of us, she was like our family member, she was so much into our system, loosing her now was a big blow to the organization, we felt that Jamie needed to be around. Then I quickly remembered Jane, Jane had left when we didn’t expect we felt so bad, Jane was working hand in hand with Jamie as Operational Manager before she left. Could we be the problem? is it that we are so rigid when change knocks on our door?

for sure it was so sad to know that Jamie and Primoz were leaving, it would be so painful to see them walk away. At this point sadness overcame the sense of reality, it was as if Jamie and Primoz were going to die never to be seen a gain, God forbid.

In trying to calm us down, “of course we will still be around  for any assistance that you might need from us, feel free to ask us any question if you have” said Primoz. So its true that Muzungus are not there to stay, that at one time they will have to go and leave you a lone.

Now Jamie reads the mood and removes some chocolates from her bag to cheer us up, as if she was  expecting this, many of us were still in their deep thoughts as we pick up the chocolates that was going round to every one.

please go and think a bout it, let it sink then we meet a gain on Friday, you will help us put down somethings for the way forward said Jamie and the meeting was adjourned.

No one moved just yet, people were still stuck on their various seats not knowing what to do, I thought of what Jamie had done for us, her cooperation with us, then came the memories of our best moments with her, I also remembered how she organized and coordinated the Naivasha strategic planning meeting. While still there Kepha  came and gave us a word of encouragement never to loose hope and maintain the focus, we still owe the community, we haven’t delivered what we promised them, and never to worry because the bond will still be there.

Then soon after him Jamie came we had a lot of questions for her like, Jamie was it a personal decision you guys made or was there a pressure from somewhere for you to resign? are you now going to be jobless?

There was no pressure at all and she was going to be jobless for a while,  from what I could gather. Primoz had by this time left to attend to some other things.

During the meeting I had started to film what was going on then  I felt a victim of a agony, it forced me to pass the  flip camera to my colleague Steve who was sited next to me to at least film something that would help me tell this story. Steve suffered the same and stopped filming.

All KNN members were present in this meeting except Joe so I had to update him on the announcement. Checking my Face book Steve had posted something like “fresh challenges can we face them?” this reminded me of Kepha’s question to us during the meeting , he says life has to move on or you want the life to stop and end now because Jamie and Primoz are leaving? it sounded funny to me but it made some sense.

Come on, why should we cry like little babies? Mildred was still crying inside another room , I tried to calm her down but it was not easy, perhaps this tears would help her forget it faster, so I left her to cry. I also thought of getting members opinions so that I could make a video out of it, I asked Jacob to help me conduct some interviews and also captured Mildred while crying , video making had become so part of me that I wanted to make video of everything I see.

If Jamie and Primoz have decided, there is very little we can do about it, I thought, but why? they won’t just leave like that., at least there was a strong reason. The BOARD? further education? whites? were some of the things I suspected, I wish I  could solve the problem, but who was going to tell me the truth?

There was a vacuum, a vacuum that needed to be filled, who was fit enough to take over Jamie and Primoz positions? was the big question in every persons mind. “We don’t want someone from outside to come here and take over, it must be one or two of us” this was the mood on the ground.

Three days later, it was now obvious to us  that there was no turning back, Jamie and Primoz brought back all the equipments in their possession , it was time to hand over.

Hey! there is a crisis, a crisis that needs to be sorted out urgently , my blog continues after two board members Erica and Mikel fly down on Wednesday 8th from USA to help us solve this………….

That Day

20 Jan

Standing right in the middle of nowhere, “This is where my house used to be”  said Alice Anindo with her twin granddaughters sited under a shed she had built them. Alice explains to us what she was going through, we were here two  days ago when their shanty houses were being bulldozed, so we filmed it.

It was sad to see mothers run halter skelter with their kids and belongings trying to save whatever they could. They say the bulldozer surprised them because to them no demolition could take place before another court hearing was done. They were given about 30 minutes to remove their things from the houses  but this was not enough, some were destroyed, and those who had gone to work lost everything. There was a very heavy presence of police that they could not argue.

sorry I have never written a blog before, this will be my first time neither do I have a blog post account, I have just created one now. This blog comes a little bit late since I was still working on the Video, a 5 minutes video on you tube that I feel did not tell the whole story (Kibera Demolition Follow Up) so we had come back here to do a follow up after demolition.

With all this cold , Alice had spent her night here together with her two grands Lavin and Onion, Lavin appeared bigger than Onion but they were twins, their mother had died one year ago when they were just 6 months old.

Looking right at Alice’s eyes as she narrates to us, us here means Jacob, Steve  Ivy and I, I pitied her and I believe my colleagues must have too. How in my capacity was I going to help her? I thought. I only had Ksh. 50 in my pocket for my lunch, looking at us from a distance were two women, if I give Alice this Ksh. 50 to buy this kids something to eat, the people we were going to meet next will also expect something from us, so I held it, perhaps I can come back  and give it on our way out, I quickly decided, so whats your next plan? I asked, Alice did not have any plan even the cloths she was wearing  she had been given by a good Samaritan, a teacher who had been taking care of  Lavin and Onion when she was away looking for job. She had earlier made a call home so that they could send her some money that could take her back to her upcountry.

She washes two plastic cups and started to serve us with tea, the tea we found her preparing at least to make her grands warm, after along  cold night. No thanks, we said in unison as if we were thinking the same.

while still standing there, two men came so curious to know who we were and what we were doing there, then it dawned to me that many people here were on very high  alert on any possible donation that could be brought to them, unfortunately we had none.

my t-shirt reads TJRC KENYA this I guess made them open up and give us  a lot of information, the writings on my t-shirt sounded like we were a team set a side to investigate on the issue, we later learnt that the two men were Henry and Jofan and also interviewed them.

I wanted to do a stand -up but the area was too noisy with people removing their iron sheets from the demolished area since the government was already fencing the space and no one would no longer be allowed to be inside here. I had to wait for the noise to go down  since our flip camera captures alot of noise from the surroundings and we had no microphone, as I figured out on my stand -up my inner self reminded me  that I could also be a victim of such demolitions. I live in the western side of Kibera at a place called Raila Village 100m away from the newly built houses for slum upgrading process, I might not be a victim now because my area could be a among the last phase of demolition but a gain the truth is that the expansion of the by-pass road that passes through Kibera from Langata road to Narok could also evict us since our houses are a long that road. For a moment I put myself into their shoes, I was shaken, but I had to do my stand up anyway, I had to let the world know what was going on here, I also have to move from that place before the bulldozer acts on me, I strongly thought.

At this point we had met Steven Karioki, he showed us the court order that its ruling had allowed them to stay awaiting the final ruling on 17th Jan 2012. Perhaps this is where the confusion started , going through the paper, it had a list of names the (petitioners) all of who were land lords, the case was between these landlords and the

1. Office of the Attoney General

2. Ministry of Lands

3. Commissioner of Lands

but the demolition was ordered by the Ministry of Housing, were they not aware of the court order? the court order stated as follows:

1. That an injunction be and is hereby issued restraining the respondents, by themselves,their servants or agents from demolishing the homes of the applicants pending hearing on 17th Jan 2012.

2. That the application be served forthwith

3. That the petitioners do file their appeal with deliberate speed.

so who was to blame ? in our first interview during the demolition a woman was carrying the same copy of the court order which she said she showed to the OCPD  before the bulldozer could start its work, but the officer refused to look at it saying that he was operating with orders from  above. The land lords wants to be compensated for them to move, but the government argues that how can we pay you for having built in the government land and you have no tittle Deeds?

The sun was now getting harsh and harsher, checking the clock it was now 12noon, we had not gone to the Chiefs camp to get the map that explained how Soweto East was Subdivided into different zones. We were a bout to leave for the Chief’s camp when  we got information that some people had seek refuge inside a nearby church, something that we could not afford to miss, so we rushed there first, but before we go I was supposed to give Alice my Ksh. 50 to buy those kids something to eat, Steve also said he had  Ksh.50 with him so we gave her Ksh. 100, I later realized that Jacob had also given out the Ksh. 20 that he had.

We gave out this little money we had, not because she had given us interviews but because we sympathized her together with her two grand daughters who we found shivering after spending night in the cold. Out of all these people only a one Mr. Bokelo was so hopeful of being compensated, “however long it takes they will compensate us” he says. He is a land lord that had moved to the new houses built by the government but could still come back to collect rent from his tenants back in Soweto East.

Inside Maximum Miracle Church it was even worse all their belongings put on one side and people lying on one long line on the other  side of the church, we a gain saw a four months old baby that the mother had left lying outside the church compound , we were told that the mother had gone to fetch water that she could use to wash the babies clothes, she could have at least left the baby under someone’s care, may be everyone was so busy.

We did not want to spend much time here since it was already getting late, so we rushed to the Chief’s office where we hoped to get someone to interview from the governments point of view just to ensure that our story was balanced. Unfortunately there was a serious meeting going on with the area District Officer, it had just started and it was bound to take long, I was heading my team, so I had to go inside and request for someone to show us the map, how was I going to do this when everyone was so busy in the meeting? I gained courage and went, they all looked at me in a manner to suggest that “who the hell is this”  but there I was ready to explain myself.

The chair lady quickly ordered someone to come and attend me, I was successful, he took us to a different room and explained the map to us. When asked his name by Ivy Atieno, one of us from Voice of Kibera, he declined and said his name should be withheld, we wondered why, but we did not insist, the reason was best known to himself, so we were done, we had to go back to our office, time check 2.15pm, we were to go for KNN screening at 4pm the same day so we really had to rush back. On our way I was making a call to Eddie Juma one of the KNN members, I wanted to confirm if he had booked the video hall  for the screening as earlier agreed, he confirmed ok, in the office we found Joe who was also going to join us to the KNN screening, we thought Ivy would be too tired to join us but she came for the screening too.

At exactly 3.45pm we grabbed the dvd disk that we had burned our videos on and ran to meet Eddie Juma who was already waiting at the video hall. While watching the video on demolition the people of Gatwekera went silent, I believe they absorbed the massage the government had for them. Thanks to the Map Kibera Trust for giving us this platform to learn and experience a lot.