The rainy season comes as an extensive blessing. Large harvests, green lands, and a constant source of fresh water are born from this season. I personally love the humidity that comes with season, the fresh smell from the ground in the beginning of the season and falling asleep to the sound of rain. However it comes an unpleasant experience to some. It seems almost unforgiving as we watch the news as lorries, matatus and houses are being carried off by the sheer power of water and others losing their lives due to floods in this season. At the beginning of this season I had a chance to spend two days with a family of eight in a village called Gatwekerra located in the largest slum in Africa ( Kibera ). It takes a maximum of 30minutes from the Nairobi city center to get there before you reach the final destination ,Olympic Kibera. From here you start the journey walking since vehicles cannot go through due to the squeezed roads. The place is surrounded by a continuous trail of ragged , rusted rooftops and mud-walled houses stretching from one end to another .Houses are squeezed facing each other ,alleys are narrow and streams of filthy sewer water flows right outside the houses. The air is polluted by the smell of the sewers and human droppings on the alleys some in polythene bags as most have no toilets and not enough money to pay for the public toilets. The area has a large population mostly of idle youth just hanging around and children happily playing around to get through the day.
Terresiah Mwangi is a mother of six. Three boys , three girls. The first born is a 26 year old female happily married, the second born is a 23year old male who currently finished his secondary education. The other four children are still pursuing their primary and nursery school education. One of them being a 20year old girl who is in her primary standard eight, a 16 year old girl who is in her primary standard five, a 13 year old boy who is in his primary standard five and lastly a seven year old boy who is in nursery school. According to the Kenyan system children their age are on higher levels of education .These children are up to five years behind because time without number they have been forced to leave school for lack of school fees. During the day you meet Terresiah selling vegetables around her village. Her husband also works as a night guard to fend for the family. They make just enough money to sustain the family’s primary needs such as food and rent . School is not a number one priority
As we reach for our warm bed covers during the night in this season, Terresiah gears up to fight a storm that could care less about her plight and that of many in her area. It is only normal for one to have umbrellas during this season.” Nikona mwavuli kumi “ “I have ten umbrellas” .Terresiah tells me. It might come as an exaggerated statement for anyone oblivious of her situation. This is a requirement for her due to her housing conditions. The worn-out rusted rooftops and the large holes on the mud walls are unable to hold out water, cold and the strong winds. There is leakage as rain water makes its way into the house through the roof and strong winds blow right into the house through the holes on the wall. There is a very slight difference being inside the house and being outside. As her children sleep during the night, she stays up and holds umbrellas over their heads to shelter them from the leakage. She opens the others and places them over the holes on the walls mounting furniture on them to hold them in position to protect her children from the cold and strong winds. This is how she spends her nights during the rainy seasons. In the morning the house is partly flooded and the children help her take out the water using basins.
When asked why they had never addressed this issue , she tells us they have it better than most in that area, as their house is situated in one of the hotspots of the village. They move out today and tomorrow several families will be fighting to move into in. She tells us they have lived in that house for over 26 years and raised all their children there through every rainy season hoping one day their landlord will fulfill his promise of renovating their house.