This morning we visited the mother and her child that we took to get a health check up yesterday. We bought her different types of food such as assorted beans, flour, rice, milk, sugar, cabbage, squash, pumpkin, onions and cooking oil. We could only buy these things since they can store them as everything else fresh would go bad as they don’t have a fridge.
As I was leaving them, the mother took my hands so firmly and looked me dead in the eyes and thanked us many times. Her gratitude was so overwhelming.
I am now headed back to Sweden, and I’m filled with mixed emotions as I leave this beautiful country. I’ve spent 11 wonderful and also difficult days here, but it feels like I’ve been here for a month. During this trip I was able to complete my workshop for the students at Kenswed Academy, follow up on the building site of the Kenswed Maternity & Health Center, help further support the Wayo Wayo Kibra Foundation, visit Maasai land and it’s people, interview and meet local people living in Ngong, and help support a mother and her child.
Each person that I have come in contact with here has really left a strong impression on me. Each person either comes from a background of struggle, or is currently facing struggle in their life, and have been open and honest about it. I feel appreciative for the information people have shared with me, so that I can better understand the real situation going on here.
It is hard to escape seeing the struggle that people face each and everyday here. I’ve seen school children picking through a dump for food, people filing jugs with dirty water from ditches since there is a shortage of water, children too young to be working, people living in the Kibera slums that goes on and on for miles, with tin sheds pushed up against one another, and rivers of garbage. I’ve heard stories of people living in the slum area, unable to care for their newborns or aborting their children, and just leaving babies (sometimes alive) or throwing fetuses into the dump. Another story of a boy who died from pneumonia walking to the health clinic, but dying along the way because it was too far away.
These stories I’ve heard have deeply shook my heart. At the same time that you see people in extreme poverty, you also see the complete opposite right next door of people with wealth. Just a couple kilometers outside of the biggest slums in Kenya, you see a huge open green field for polo, with expensive horses and equipment, playing. You also see huge beautiful, expensive homes towering on hills looking over the slum area.
Seeing the clear division between poor and rich has made me very frustrated and sad. I have had a hard time seeing and accepting the state that many people live in here. I feel so much for these people after meeting many of them personally and hearing from them their struggles and stories. One expression that I heard throughout my time here was “keep hope alive.” It has stuck with me during the process of seeing the building for the Kenswed Maternity & Health Center grow from the ground up. This health center that is being built has kept my hope alive for the future of the people I’ve met. I feel humbled and grateful to be apart of this project. It is more than a project for me, it is a stepping stone in the right direction for the people living here, and for that I am thankful for.
Lööf Foundation representative