Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011

Night time in Mathare

Mathare at night

It’s lively in Mathare at night, when most of the people come from their places to hustle. The women in the streets sell their products, mostly vegetables, while talking to each other with a lot of joy and gossip in their hearts. The men come back from earning their daily bread, walking from the city’s eastern industrial district with their paychecks of the day in their pockets, buying dinner. The kids run around playing and singing, a few of them gather up in video dens to watch their favorite karate movies. They do it very keenly so they can tell the story tomorrow at school to their friends who were not so lucky to see it.

“Slum snacks” are sold all over. They are the moshogi, orenge and mara, chicken head, feet and intestines respectively. They sell from 5 to 10 shillings and are considered a delicacy. I personally recommend the moshogi (chicken head). After a snack, the pool will be a good entertainment for a young person like me to catch up on the latest gossip, such as the English premier league transfers, footballers sex scandals, which cell phone has the best features, which shoes are fashionable, and if there’s anybody who got rich and got out of the ghetto lately. Graffiti, freestyle rap or weeding will help ease the stress of the day. The women on the road will talk about who got pregnant, shot, who contracted malaria or HIV/AIDS, got married recently, and who dropped out of school in the past week. And let me tell you, they do keep track!

As the night progresses some of the kids are still in the video dens playing Playstations, the men are in the bars drinking good old chang’aa. For the married ones this is the time to take showers, the time to head to “The Amazon” or “The Caribbean” (those who know they know, others can contact me for further explanation). The unmarried ones will hop from chang’aa to bussa (fermented millet wine) den all night long. Some of them will head to funeral gatherings. Ironically in Mathare, funeral gatherings are a celebration where the music is played until morning and people dance all night long. If these bachelors are lucky they might find a catch here and there but more often fights will break out. The atmosphere is tense, and there are only a few ladies around, so it’s a mad dash of young men to ensure the “Caribbean warmth” that night.

At about 3 am Mathare gets cold, and quiet, and peaceful. It’s almost like a ghost town, only a few barks from a dog here and there, and maybe a few drunks singing in the streets.

If you look beyond the troubles of the slum, you will realize it’s a truly fascinating place. The slum teaches life long lessons. The lights, the rusty roof tops, and the smell of sewage, chang’aa, food and love fill the air. I was born and raised in the ghetto and if I die, I hope there’s a ghetto in heaven too. Goodnight Mathare, sleep tight Mathare. All of us sleeping and sharing a dream of a better tomorrow!

— Jeff

July 29, 2011

Accident on Juja Road at Mathare No10

New video from Mathare in Motion.

July 29, 2011

Dangers of illicit brew in Mathare valley

In matharevalley a great number of youths are idle. A lot of them are either out of college because they dropped out of school or they are rural migrants, seeking a livelihood in town because there are no jobs in the country side to sustain their families. They must survive somehow and sustain their families so a lot of them engage in criminal activities such as prostitution, robberies, drug abuse or they work for drug barons.

Youths are the ones in charge of the entire chang’aa industry in Mathare’s Bondeni area. They distill, process and eventually get paid for producing the liquor. There are many different steps in making chang’aa, e.g. fetching water, lighting the fire and distilling the liquor. Though this they earn a living that keeps them going on and at least prevents some of them from engaging in crime. The bad side of the coin is that many youths have died after drinking the liquor often because they drink it when it is still hot.

Alcohol abuse is a major problem in Kenya. Scores of Mathare slum dwellers have already lost their sights and others died using a brew which is also called the “tears of a lion” or “kill me quick”. Recently there was a story from Central province of Kenya where whole schools in a district had to be closed down because of lack of children to attend them. Women in the area have long been complaining to the government and provincial administration that their men stopped meeting their conjugal and marital obligations due to alcohol abuse. Men didn’t show any interest.

— Javin

July 25, 2011

Fake money in Mathare

Mathare In Motion presents: Fake Money video

July 18, 2011

Making a pool table

Great video by Mathare in Motion’s Jeff Mohammed and Richard Chapia on Making a pool table.

Kids improvise, and use their skills to build a pool table. This video showcases the potential that is yet to be discovered in Mathare.

July 18, 2011

Murder in Mathare

A disturbing video from Mathare. A young person murdered by thugs.

July 14, 2011

Lack of Employment

Some of the youths in Mathare are graduates some have never even seen the door of a school gate. Because of lack of education the youths are often engaged in irresponsible behavior like prostitution, robbery, drugs.

To present to you a short story about myself. I am a graduate, I got a diploma in refrigeration and air-conditioning but couldn’t find work. I at least managed to get involved with Map Kibera Trust where I gained another experience in mapping. I don’t know if this will offer me and my colleagues a lasting employment opportunity.

I hope for a lasting solution to the problem of unemployment. I hope that one day we can stop worrying about jobs and get employment in order to secure peaceful futures for us and our families.

— Michael

July 12, 2011

Wasted kids potential

Daily hardships of the youths in Mathare. Education is the future of the young generation!

July 12, 2011

Problems we encounter daily in Mathare

The title says it all!

July 12, 2011

Mathare in Motion crew

Mathare in Motion crew making a video about themselves.

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