The second largest slum in Africa, freed from the beating heart of Mombasa, is an oxymoron crackling in the silence.
It is a bite of life on a rotten apple, between the muddy alleys and the houses mixed with dirt as if they were gingerbread. Children play around garbage castles, made of discarded dreams. It’s all a crazy paradox, so much so that while the smoke burns, black as oil and moves away like a plane that goes away, hopes rain and flood the slum, candidly, without too many pretensions.
Guardian angels do their utmost, so that this reality can, step by step, become from bitter to sweeter, grain by grain. One of these angels is Winnie, who acts as Cicero for those who want to know this truth and perhaps help make it more breathable. She is part of Kibera tours, a group of people who make this a real experience by contributing to a small school within the neighborhood. Alongside Winnie, Elia, a man of strong and sturdy build, acts as a bodyguard.
The dangers are obviously dictated by the sharp, devious whisper of hunger, which leads to stealing. There seems to be a kind of internal justice here, punishing thieves like witches, with the terrible end of being burned alive. Those who steal in here, and therefore, those who steal from those who already have practically nothing, if not the pockets full of sacrifice, do not even deserve to be called human.
In the slum, a communal bathroom uses excrement to produce gas. It is a cylindrical building where you pay 5 shillings at a time to access the bathroom, 10 shillings for a cold shower and 20 for a hot one. Everything follows a linear regulation that moves the reins of this community. The houses have a different monthly rent depending on the material with which they were built, from those in mud mixed with solidified cow excrement, to those more conventionally brick.
The slum is increasingly populated. People now don’t want to leave here. How to blame him? It is not so much the fact that, beyond those precarious walls, no one thinks there is a land of toys. There is just so much fear, uncertainty, desolation and the hard pillows of the roadsides. The living conditions now anchored and become impregnable customs, are their home. It is more than easy to call a place home when your affections and certainties are welded there.