The Toi Fire Agony

by: April 30th, 2019 comments: 0

DSC_0218

It was on the dawn of 12th March, around 3 am, that Kibera residents woke up to the news that one of the largest markets in Nairobi, Kibera’s Toi market, was on fire.

Most of the traders come from a bit far from the market and so they could not rescue a lot of their goods and ended up losing almost all their properties to the fire.

Those who live in the neighboring villages came together to try and put out the fire using any means they could, including having to literally walk with water buckets to and from the sources of water.  One Ramsha Dee Maunda even posted a picture of himself with fire injuries after spending time trying to help put off the fire.

ToiMarketMap

There was heavy presence of the General Service Unit of The Police guarding the market that morning and no one, not even the traders, were allowed to access the market and there was  no explanation given for that, many people were left guessing what the reason for that could be.

Relief came when the former Prime Minister came to speak to the affected traders and, together with the County Government of Nairobi, stepped in and offered iron sheets to help in rebuilding the structures and also help in restructuring their business lives all over again.

According to the traders we interviewed, the iron sheets, worth five million, were still not enough aid to help them restart their businesses again, and most of them turned to money lending institutions to be able to rise again from the ashes and make things work for them.

DSC_0336

The market is so far taking back its former shape and glory and very soon, according to most traders, things will be fully back to normal.

“We are only requesting the customers to come back because the market is now operational,” summarizes Mr. Fredrick Mutinda, trader at Toi Market.

Kibera Schools Map Distribution; My Experience

by: March 24th, 2015 comments: 0

A post by Map Kibera team member, Steve Banner, originally posted on the Voice Of Kibera blog.

“If you play your part, and you play it to your level best, then your gift will surely open more doors for you,” observed one Fred Ogutu, Hope Academy director.

St. Stephene school students and teachers view their school profile online.

We started our distribution on the Langata constituency part of Kibera, that is Raila village. Kibera is spread over two constituencies, Kibra and Langata constituencies, with Kibra having the biggest portion.

All the schools in Raila village had a very positive approach to the map, and the site. They very much welcomed it despite the fact that some of them were a bit reluctant to give out information during the previous data collection.

Map Kibera member Zack Wambua shares the map with Maono Secondary School

Joy and excitement may have sent the Maono Secondary School head teacher the religious lecturer way, telling us that these are the end times and why everyone needs to repent and get ready to receive Christ when he comes. He did that for a few minutes then went ahead to tell us how the school will now use the Open Schools website as their official website.

At St. Stephene school, the head teacher even offered us a job, to help her draft the 2015 school activity plan that she intended to send to her donors together with a link to their page in the Open Schools Kenya website.

Hope Academy school director, Mr. Fred Ogutu, having featured in almost all our previous Project phases including the pre-project survey, was now well informed about what we are doing and congratulated us a lot on the good work done so far. He had a lengthy talk with us telling us that Kibera is a slum that has so much been misrepresented, with a lot of false data out there, he cited an example of the current Government-driven National Youth Service project which has, to use his own words, been blown out of proportion yet none of the clinics and toilets that the government seems to boast about are functional.

He observed that our data is one of the few genuine ones and wondered if the work we do also translate to helping us personally besides fighting to change our community. ‘Are you able to put food on the table and pay your rents?’ he posed a question.

In other villages, that is Katwekera, Kisumu Ndogo, Kambi Muru and Makina, the reception was equally good. We did manage to take fresh photos for FPFK Gatwekera school .

At Joseph Kangethe School, which is one of the two public schools that my colleague Zack and I were assigned to, had a very nice view of the map, The deputy head teacher asked us to come up with forums to educate parents in Kibera on the need to take their children to public schools. She said, contrary to what most parents expressed in the pre-survey, that public schools are being deserted and parents are flooding the non-government schools leaving the government schools with empty classes. “Public schools that had four streams per class have now reduced to three streams. We’ve been forced to turn the extra classrooms to stores because there are no children.”

She also added that learning in public schools is far much better than private schools where children are ‘just drilled and not taught’.

‘What is the government doing about that? And what are you as Map Kibera, in your education project doing about that?’ were her last questions.

Stephene ‘Steve Banner’ Oduor

Map Kibera Trust

Photographing Schools In Kibera

by: August 18th, 2014 comments: 0

A Daily Diary post by Map Kibera team member, Steve Banner

Steve photographs a school for the Open Schools website

Pictures tell a lot, probably too much for some head teachers in Kibera. They won’t allow anyone to take them in their compound before you explain in detail why you have to take photos, what you intend to do with them and of course how they stand to benefit. Before you pull your digital camera out of your pocket, and press anything, the head teachers, directors, or teachers in charge have a number of questions for you to answer. Forget the journalistic five W and H, theirs probably double or even triple that of journalists.

Me, and my colleague Zack met our first questions at Kicoshep School, where the head teacher wondered why a lot of research was being done in Kibera and what the impact of all these research would be. We took her through the details of the project that entailed collecting new data and coming up with a website that will bring together all the educational facilities in Kibera, and how, not only her school, but all the schools in Kibera stood to benefit from the project outcome. She agreed to help fill the form we had, but then she sent us to their headquarters near Wilson airport to get permission to take photos in her school.

No shutter was going to be pressed at Shofco School for Girls either. Explanation given was that there are strict rules on photo taking in and around the school. Shutter was pressed at Bethel school, but not until after we had spent two hours trying to convince the head teacher, her deputy and other two teachers who had many questions to ask, including some in vernacular language that none of us could understand. They argued that since we as Map Kibera are the ones who will host the website, Map Kibera stood to benefit more than them, citing past examples where organizations collected data and nothing was ever seen or heard of them again. They were keen to know the most immediate benefit that they’ll see and fell just short of asking to be paid for the information they were to give. But just when we were giving up on them, they gave in to our request.

Otherwise, I was free to slide the exposure of my Canon and turn on my flash sensor where I felt necessary in all other schools, which was both fun and educative in equal measure.

Every moment I had my lens focused on a signpost, school compound or classroom, most of which were in a very poor condition, I felt like I was doing something that the Kenyan government had failed in: giving the schools a voice to speak on the challenges they face. For instance, some school directors pointed out that the government is not very keen in improving education within the slum itself, and is only doing so in the schools that are on the outskirts of the slum. So by me being there documenting the facilities with my camera, I felt that I was indirectly offering a solution to the problems facing school going children in Kibera slums.

So, as I switched off the camera, I felt an inner satisfaction that I had done what many people, government officials included, had failed to do to the schools in Kibera, and when we’ll see improvement in education within Kibera as a result of the online education directory, my happiness will be complete.