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Tales From the Field: Kibera, Week 1

Today marks the end of our first and very eventful first week in Kibera. During the past seven days, we spent long hours trekking through Kibera, back and forth from sites, trying to visualize the lay of the land, meet the local KDI community and understand the general tasks from day-to-day. It’s taken a few days, but we’re all now fairly confident we can navigate Kibera alone; although, it may take the rest of the month to really master the short cuts. Acquiring a good mental map of the area is difficult as our line of sight is most often directed at the ground while walking, as to avoid tripping over mud patches, sewage rivers and rubbish.

Now that we’re all fairly well versed on the politics and projects of KDI and Kibera, we’ll all be breaking up on some projects, while working together on others. Just this past week, Ele, James, Anne and I collaborated on designing a 3 square meter outdoor shed, as a barter for an advance on rent for an interior office space for KDI in a YMCA school complex. Meanwhile, Yumi has been working on business strategies with the Kiki weaver and baker groups as to help improve efficiency and profits. In the upcoming weeks, James and I will be working on a sewage line and park/playground at KPSP Site 2, while Ele and Anne will be helping integrate a washing station and clothing lines at KPSP Site 1. As a group, we will begin working with our newly befriended community at KPSP Site 3, shown in part to the left.

– Eric

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