Thursday, September 4, 2008

History lesson

Hello Family and Friends-

This is Renee typing from home. Eric has spotty internet connections so I thought I would update on what he has told me (via Skype) and a little bit of a history lesson.

Eric is finally feeling "up to speed" after having jet lag for several days. He is now staying in a boarding type house with 3 other men from Living Water International. A group of 7 ladies from the states came down last Saturday as well. They are with a jewelry company, owned by Kohl's department store and they donated money for a well. They also purchased several thousand beads from a local bead factory while they were there. Eric has not had to spend much time with them although yesterday his job was to escort them to the mall. Every man's nightmare!

Anyway, much of his time has been spent searching for companies that can provide services for Living Water and of course sitting in traffic!

The well that is being drilled is in the Kibera slum. Here is your history lesson. Kibera is considered the second largest slum in the world. Some argue it is the largest. Kibera began when Kenya was a British Colony. The British chose to give sections of land to the Nubian soldiers as payment for their service in WWI. Nubia was a country that is now northern Sudan and a small part of Egypt. The British allowed the soldiers to build any type of house they wanted. Because the soldiers were poor they built "shacks." Keep in mind the soldiers were not considered citizens but displaced tribes.

When Kenya became independent in 1963 certain forms of housing were deemed illegal by the government and therefore the Nubian settlement was not recognized. The Nubians and their descendants cannot rent "legal" housing because they are "displaced tribes"; therefore the more "industrious" Nubians "rent" their property. Since 1963 several other tribes have moved into the slum due to the fact that their villages are "under developed". This has caused conflict resulting in arson and theft.

Because the government does not "recognize" the inhabitants of the slum, basic water and sanitary issues are not addressed. They are known for "flying toilets". Latrines are very scarce so the method of disposal is to poop in a plastic bag and then throw it somewhere. Usually this means in the river or on their roof.

It is estimated that between 700,000 and 1.2 million people live in this 630 acre slum. Currently the slum is surrounded by government owned land so it cannot continue to sprawl outward, however the population continues to grow. It is located approximately 3 miles SE of Nairobi's city center.

Eric said that there was so much trash in the river inKibera that it stopped the flow. A front end loader and dump truck were brought in to dig it out.

It is hard to comprehend that any person could live in that situation. If you want to see the slum there are several videos on You Tube. In some twisted sort of way I almost wish I had not seen or heard about it because now I have to wrestle with the question, "What can I do about it?"

As for the home front we are doing well. The kids started school on Tuesday and they are adjusting well to the new schedule - better than I am. The boys are also involved in recreational soccer which encompasses 4 out of 5 week days and Saturday mornings. Although I am supposed to have all of this "time" to accomplish things with the kids in school I cannot tell you where the last 3 days went. Perhaps next week I can clean out that closet that was going to get done before we left for Mexico! :)

We so appreciate your notes (Stacey :) ), phone calls, offers to help and of course your prayers.

If you are able- please send my hubby a comment on this site. I know he looks forward to reading them (when he can).

1 comment:

  1. chris W has got me interested in your new venture. We have followed the family trip to Mexico and now yours in Africa. We are praying for wisdom for you and safety.



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