Kibera is known as the biggest slum in Nairobi. It holds over 5 million people, most of which have small businesses in town and then return to their homes in the evening. These homes consist of iron sheets that are usually separated by a sheet or a divider.
As we walked around with a team of people from Beacon of Hope, we visited three schools and two homes. Social workers visit the slums of Kibera daily, and as they develop relationships with the people there, so their stories; stories of struggle, pain, addictions, abuse, neglect, and loneliness. We all have a story, but what are you going to do with yours?
Families and teachers welcomed John and I into their small spaces with so much joy. It is strange to have kids want to touch you because of your race. A lot of them looked up to us, having not seen a white person before. For them, seeing white people happens so infrequently. A lot of the kids would shout, “mzungu!!” Which means, “White person!”
Note: The Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Domonique and Veronica lived without parents. Veronica’s brother works right outside of the slums, but often has to travel far in order to find work. Veronica’s father is not involved, and when she fell very ill, she went to ask Dominique for help. Dominique took her to the hospital, and the doctors found meningitis. During this time, Beacon of Hope helped Veronica by partnering with another organization and paying for the CT scan to confirm this illness. Yet, doctors kept her in the ICU for three more months as she lost the ability to walk, speak, and see out of one eye. Finally, Veronica was released, but needed to take medicine everyday to combat TB as well as ARVs. At this time, Dominique took her into her home takes on the heavy burden of responsibility for Veronica’s help. Yet, Dominique does not see herself as a victim. In fact, Dominque shared that she would like to go back to school as a hairdresser and eventually own her own business.
Not surprisingly, many people come alongside to sponsor these families after listening to their stories. Compassion and stories move people in small ways to make a big difference.