Coping with the pandemic in Kibra, country’s biggest slum

Kenya Defence Forces personnel fumigate Kibra Streets on April 15 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Living in a place like Kibra can feel like the whole world does not care for you due to the many needs we have. 
  • I have learnt that even though we fight like brothers and sisters all the time, we cannot bear to see another one in trouble such as being overwhelmed by this pandemic. 

I come from a family of 10 in Kibra, the biggest slum in Kenya, and life has not been easy for me and my family during this pandemic. When schools closed in March, studies were supposed to go online.

I cannot begin to tell you how hard it has been buying bundles to get to class but I am determined to work through and learn from the difficulties. Before Covid-19, I looked at some of the things in my life as a challenge.

For instance, I live with my stepmother, and this long period at home with her has made me appreciate the efforts she puts in looking after me. I now share a special bond with her even though she is not my biological mother.

Free bar soaps

Living in a place like Kibra can feel like the whole world does not care for you due to the many needs we have. This pandemic showed me that this is not true.

My family and I have received free masks from people we do not know. The Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) also moved door-to-door to give water and free bar soaps. I had always been the kind of person who gets wronged and walks away. Sometimes, I would keep quiet and cry.

However, staying at home with my siblings, with whom we fight regularly, has taught me to stand up and speak up for myself. I have learnt that even though we fight like brothers and sisters all the time, we cannot bear to see another one in trouble such as being overwhelmed by this pandemic. We are always supporting one another.

I have taken this attitude because I have had no other choice but to observe people's character and way of life and l have noticed that not everyone is the same.

Wear masks

This can be observed in the disobedience of government order to wear masks. I do not know about other parts of Kenya but in Kibra, many people wear masks to avoid being arrested.

I see them just walking with it in their hands or wearing them under their chins. I have realised that I have the ability to do uncomfortable things for my own good and that of the community at large.

The others do not think about that and when they disobey the guidelines, the police create problems for us all.

Recently, tear gas cannisters were thrown near our house, leaving us coughing and crying.

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