Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Day 95 Christmas Wishes from Kibera

The shift from Bagamoyo, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya 5 days ago has been considerable, quite apart from the 18 hour bus ride across the border. Nairobi is a City of extremes, Three out of our last four days have been spent walking into Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa, which holds over a million people.

This is the view from the School of Hope: an NGO School 25 minutes walk into Kibera. The teacher at the school, Gabby, is responsible for teaching over 88 students, and providing them with one meal every day, and even though we are visiting well into the “holiday” season, Gabby is still looking after close to 40 students. I am interviewing him this week in order to make a promotional video for the school to gain much needed financial support for this literally life saving project.

On the other side of the coin I also had my first real Matatu ride the other night. Now in theory a Matatu in Kenya is the same as a Dala Dala in Tanzania, a broken down minivan that holds up to about 30 people. But oh no, this Matatu was red and black with underlighting, mags, a spoiler, red interior lights and a black light that made my white shirt glow, not to mention two flat screen TVs playing music videos in synch with pumping hip hop through a pair of 8 inch subs - all for the grand fee of 25ksh or 50c (NZD) Weaving through scattered and disorganised cars into the city centre in the middle of the night was one of the highlights of my trip so far, my naki roots involuntarily showing through here.

As for departing Tanzania, I felt it was a good time to leave, with the year drawing to a close it felt like a natural break. And it was nice to think that some of the students will go on to become teachers in the new year. We spent the last week or so working on a large painting project together which reflected the perogative of the studio, about the plight of street children and practice of child labour, and the importance of education in breaking the cycle. We worked through every stage beginning with drawing the setting out at one of the villages markets called Magu Meni, which caught the interest of many of the children there, and was something I wished we had done from the start. We went right through to enlarging and finishing.

All the students got involved, and I felt it was a good end to the year and could potentially make for a good end to the documentary aswell. You can see the painting in progress in the previous vlog.

So Merry Christmas and I hope you are all well, I am looking forward to seeing you all again soon, only one week to go now.


Anonymous said...

Good to see all your new blogs James.
Can't wait to see you again, but I guess we'll have to. Hope you enjoy the last of your time there. Take care, love you lots and lots,
Mum and Dad xxx

James Brown said...

Love you guys too, I'm looking forward to being back, in just 3 days!