Monday, 21 December 2009

Adversus Solem ne Loquitor (Do not argue with the sun)



So that was a long break since the last post, and there has been a lot of action since. The Up With Hope project was presented at the 11th annual Global Leadership Forum in Istanbul to delegates from all over the world and had an amazing reception.

The Up With Hope support group is constantly growing and continues to be the backbone of this organization. With out people's support and belief in our cause we would never have been able to have accomplished all of our goals and more.

I'll be in Nairobi within a few weeks to continue relations with the groups who have been working endlessly in the centres since we left.

I'm excited to see what 2010 is going to bring Up With Hope. I will definetily be updating this often when I am back in the hot, noisy, sleepless and amazing metropolis of Nairobi.


Saturday, 27 June 2009

we is da human beans

WOW WOW WOwee. Yesterday from dawn to this mornings sunrise was one long hot party day.  You know those days that start so early and alcohol consumption begins long before sunset, the hot sun beating down on you while one drink is as easily slurped as the next, and the next, going on well into the early morning hours. Well that was the kind of day we had. And it was more fun than driving backwards down a highway.

The launch went great. We had nothing to do with organizing it, which we were elated about. A massive crowd swarmed in as the area MP came to grace us with his honorable presence. Giving a long-winded twenty-minute speech. Old women danced and sang. Drunken people yelled about being hungry, it was your typical Kenyan ceremony in everyway. People gave us lots of love and it was nice.

Then we made our crew walk to our place where we cooked 25 kilos of beef for 60 people. It was so great to have the people over who we have spent so much time with in their crazy neighborhoods. We had people from all over Nairobi, and my bedroom was the grimiest, sweatiest, and smokiest of them all. At one point a 40-year-old haggard man was passed out on my bed. What was even better was for a while there was no electricity as well as no running water (we more often than not don’t have a drip of running water in the house). So we celebrated the launch of the business and our soon departure from this wonderful and insane city. 

This was the massive crowd who showed up with the MP. The video I took of it is one of the best things I have seen in Kenya.
Listening to many speeches in Swahili is always the most fun

Justin taking one for the team and thanking the community, I wasn't too into the Microphone

The area MP having a very Kenyan speech. Some how he managed to turn the direction of waste management into Politics. Its a constant campaign. 
The unveiling of the centre also came with a long list of equipment that was supplied by the CDF for the groups we were working with who are doing garbage collection. 
Here is a few of the people who we have been working with in the past 3 months. There is Mathare people and Makadara people here. 
We are demonstrating our amazing plastic shredding technique with the new machine we bought for the centre.
Not everything is business.


Thursday, 25 June 2009

FAREWELL TO THE AUSTRIAN, CONGOLESE AND CANADIANS

BIG PARTY TOMORROW, IN SOUTH B,
bought the store out of KENYA KING and its going to be a big smash debaucherous evening with people from all over Nairobi and this PLANET CALLED "EARTH". Everyone Welcome! starts at around 4 pm. Right after the Recycling centre launch in Makadara, Mbotela. 


Here is a video that was shot deep in the jungle of Pookaroo by the famous Dutch explorer/Dr. Von Fartenhammer. The heinous Teeto tribe is one of the last tribes on earth who still likes to eat little children. It was passed on to us by a colleague. 

Monday, 22 June 2009

Nancy Drew! (What did she draw?)

 Today was not ordinary. We had a special clean up around the Recycling centre in Makadara before the big shebang launch we are having on friday. This mean't picking up all the garbage that was lying around, cutting the grass, etc. Today was the first day and hopefully the only day where I had to sort through the garbage and separate the plastics (bare hands).The plastics that have been festering in garbage for weeks and covered in odd colours and slimes. The smell was exactly how Justin described it "pure baby poo".  Here are some photos from today. The actual pictures are amazing, I scrunch them down so I can put them on here fast and easy and they look like garbage, but you get the idea. 

Yesterday we went to an international rugby competition. The sun was roasting. We drank so many beers and never peed. I laughed the entire 7 hours I was there. Drunken Kenyans are some of the funniest people you will ever meet. And bar none the best hecklers on this planet. Every white woman who passed infront of the bleachers was named "Nancy Drew" and everyone took the chance to scream it out as every white chicked walked by. I cried of laughing when one guy said "What did she draw?"  

GET IT? GET IT?









Saturday, 20 June 2009

Final Days in Nairobi

Just wanted to add to the last post, That the last few weeks have come together even better than expected, as both Management/Operational structures are now complete for both Waste Management centre’s. Both networks have appointed board of representatives, have named chairs and secretaries and are on the verge of hiring the Manager, accountant and the laborers. We finished our involvement with both businesses this past Friday and are now both firmly in the hands of the youth within the networks. We plan to attend both their meetings at the beginning of this coming week to ensure that management is in place, laborers have been hired and everything is running smoothly, otherwise both businesses are set to go, and should begin bringing plastics to centre during the week. The one centre in Mathare is fully equipped with their plastics shredding machine in place and running, while Makadara should have there’s completed and hooked up by the end of the week.

We are having a launch for the project in Makadara on Friday at which point the machine should be in place and the equipment that the Local government has pledged to buy in support of the program should hopefully be ready to go. So as of Friday, conveniently our last day, we hope that both businesses are fully equipped with a building, a machine, the equipment, the training and the ability to fully run a waste management centre.

After the launch were having a BBQ at our place in the afternoon and have invited everyone we’ve worked with, in the past three months, plus all of our other friends, which should be a lot of fun.

I must add we're extremely pleased just how well everything turned out; it really couldn’t have gone any better than it has and just want to thank all of you who have supported this project, as it couldn’t have been possible without you.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

the yuts are great

The blogging activity has been low. But the Hope has been uping more and more everyday. We have two more weeks in Nairobi. We are working as hard as humanly possible to achieve everything we came to do. If someone told me before we came here that everything would go as smooth as it has, I would have laughed in their face, thinking "I should punch that person in the face for being so stupid". The past two and a half months have gone so well and everything is wrapping up to look like we accomplished what we came to do. I don't know if it's a product of our organizing or the help from others that has made this project go so well. 
We have tried to do everything with these youth groups so that when it's time for us to leave, they know everything they need to do to succesfully run a recycling centre. We have done everything we came here to do, now the success lies in the hands of these groups who will have to work very hard to make it all work. 

I have met some incredibly inspiring people in the time I have been here. People my age and older and even younger. I can't ever try to describe life in the slums, but the resiliance and strength of the people who inspire me from these neighborhoods are teaching me as much as we are teaching them.

On the 29th we fly to Bombay. This will be awesome. We have been trying to do some fun stuff when we aren't working here, we recently climbed a dormant volcano, which was a lot of fun. And I myself enjoy the nightlife of this town, maybe a little more than others but I try to go party every chance I get. To be honest, it's nice to go out and see stuff once and a while, but I don't have any vibe to go and see lions or anything like that in Kenya. I love working where I work and if we go away I miss it. 



Friday, 5 June 2009

THE SEARCH FOR MORE SOSA

The search for more sosa begins and ends in Nairobi. The video depicts our daily life while living in this sleepless Metropolis. Our lives consist of walking everywhere, taking buses during the most savage traffic jams you can ever Imagine. Meetings in obscure places like under a tree or outside a building that have the loudest drum circle ever playing. Spending a lot of time in the complicated neighborhoods where the streets turn to ankle high mud after a bout of rain. And where parties are banging till the early sun. 

Saturday, 30 May 2009

getting blogged


  Now that the construction of both centres has finished, we have been working with the different youth groups on how the centres will be governed. Some of these meetings are really hilarious as some of the discussions that can go on and on about wether or not the employees should be provided tea during the shifts or wether or not they should start at 830 or 9. We are attempting to set these centres up as a recycling co-operative within the community. All the youth groups in the constituency of Makadara will work to keep the centre running. On tuesday the business simulation training will start. This is where people selected from the 14 youth groups are given business training which will ultimately teach them on how to succesfully run the centre as a proper business. Im super excited to see where this is going and have a really good feeling about it. 
  The days have been a lot slower since the construction stopped. No more 12-13 hour days. I'm happy to not have to wake up at 530 every morning but I definetely miss spending everyday in the crazy neighborhoods. To celebrate the completion I bought myself a bottle of Jameson. 


Here are some photos of us hanging out with friends in Kibera.


The man next to me in this photo is one of my biggest heroes. Jacob a.k.a Rasta is one cool cat.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Celine Dion and Plastic Fires

 Yesterday was the last day of construction in Mathare. There are a few more things to finish up but yesterday was the last day that we would be working with the full crew. Friday was a full 13 hour day that really knocked me out. By the end of the day Sean and I were hustling ultra hard to get the last bit of cement poured while about 100 community members made of babies to old men and women surrounded us staring and giving us orders. Sean and I were at wits end. As random locals were yelling out to us that we missed a spot Sean would yell "I DONT WANT ANY MORE PEANUT GALLERY!"
and I would follow up with "SHUT UP! WE DON'T CARE! WHO ARE YOU?!". 
It was more than insane. We are always calm and collected until random people start surrounding us trying to tell us things we don't know. 
It was a race to finish that we didnt win. We spent friday from dawn till dusk building but we have to go back soon at the beginning of this week to finish up some of the walls and put in some steps. The past five weeks, waking up at 530 with the hour and half commute plus 12 hour days have taken their toll. Sleeping in, waking up and making a huge breakfast with sausage hashbrowns, eggs and coffee was a beautiful thing today. 
Here are the photos from the Mathare construction. Ill post the finished product when its done. I'm seriously sad the building is over. I grew really attached to the crew. 






Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dem Hafe Geta Beatin

 For the past two and a half weeks, we have been working close to twelve-hour days in Mathare, trying to finish the construction. It is an hour and a half commute from our house to the site and the same going home. Traffic in Nairobi is disgusting. The city is over populated and during rush hour you can count on spending two hours on the bus to get anywhere. It’s so hot you have to open a window, but with every other car idling on the road waiting to move forward, you can literally see the exhaust fumes filling up the bus. That mixed with the garbage fires that are constantly burning all over the city, make for a supreme headache. I can often loose my temper on the bus as well. I hate it when the drivers are wheeling around like a bat out of hell during the hours when school kids are walking to or from school in their nice uniforms often having to jump out of the way of these gas guzzling beasts.

 There is never a dull moment in Mathare. The community is vibrant and together. I could write a dozen stories of the things we’ve seen over the past few weeks but that would get tedious. One thing that really stands out in Mathare is the community justice that I have witnessed a few times now. On Tuesday there was an accused thief who was placed on a step and surrounded by angered residents. The accused pleaded and cried, denying any responsibility in the crime. A few men started beating him with there fists until a few other men came with a gigantic wooden club that looked like it was made for what it was about to be used for. The men took turns smashing the living daylight out of the screaming man. The noise of each smack against the skin rung out and I could see the eyes of the criminal which looked terrified and tortured. After more interrogation and a few more slaps to the face the man limped away. Some of the workers on the site told me that usually these people are killed if they don’t admit to the crime. But they can also be banished from the area. I was told that if someone is a victim of a robbery, instead of going to the police, they go to a local youth group and request justice. It’s not hat hard to get a group of idle youth to go beat on a scummy criminal. The police just take the criminals money and send him on his way. My favourite part of the whole thing was when the police walked up to the situation and inquired why they were beating the man. The locals answered indignantly that he was a thief. The police shrugged and kept walking at a slow pace.

The centre and youth hall that we are building is awesome. It’s been my favourite project yet. I think the reason for that is that Sean and I have been way more hands on with the building. Him and I did the entire two cement floors of the hall and centre and they look so good. Honestly we are proud of ourselves. I wish I could post photos of it right now but I need the photos from Sean’s camera and he is at work.

 I took the day off work today because last night after work I had a malaria scare. I took a nap and could barely move out of bed. I’m feeling better today but I didn’t have enough energy to get to Mathare. I am very doubtful that I have anything worse than a small stomach bug. I’m not surprised considering the things I eat and ingest.

 



Saturday, 16 May 2009

Getting your shillings worth.

So here is the video I promised yesterday. I'm suprised I got it done when I did, but honestly I love editing these things so working on them is no chore at all. Here I have tried to show how exactly construction works over here, especially on a grass roots level. Most structures in poor neighborhoods are thrown together with whatever one can find and are usually comprised of scrap wood, old metal and mud. 
The centre is not much to look at, but try to remember that the structure itself doesn't have to be amazing, after all it's for garbage. This is also to show how you go about building something without any electricty whatsoever. We are now doing it for a third time in Mathare and I don't even think about it anymore. Before I used to think "this would be so much easier with a drill" or "why can't I just have a skill saw" but now I can use a hand saw like nobodies business and never really think about how much easier everything is back home. Another really positive aspect to these centres being built is the lack of garbage being produced. As most of us know, construction sites produce infinite amounts of waste, as where here, the only garbage we make is the bags the cement comes in, and even then the youth groups use them as heavy duty garbage bags. We use every inch of material and nothing goes to waste. I love it. That was my biggest peev working on sites at home, was the amount of shit that I had to throw out. Check it out. 


Friday, 15 May 2009

no more cow stomach please


  The project in Mathare is by far our biggest one to date. Not only are we constructing a recycling centre, we are renovating the connecting youth hall, and by renovating it, I mean tearing it down and rebuilding it. The size of it was a little intimidating at first, especially when we started tearing everything down. Now as we have been working on it for the past week, everything is taking shape and everyone is feeling good.

  The site we are building on is my favourite so far. It is situated in a core area where there is lots of human traffic and surrounded by apartment blocks. All day long we are watched by mothers doing laundry, selling vegetables and taking their kids for walks. By vagabonds and street kids with glue bottles hanging from their mouths and by people my age and older with no work in sight and nothing better to do than to sit in the shade and stare. Kids are constantly running around playing, often with just a tire or a piece of string pulled from a garbage heap and stopping every now and then to watch. As much as the people of Mathare like to watch us, I like to watch them. I feel as though my understanding of poverty is something that has no limit. I’ve been in this country for some time and still I find myself astonished at some of the conditions people have to live through. Mathare’s condition disturbing and the garbage is similarly overwhelming than that of Kibera’s. The smell we work in everyday can sometimes bring a tear to your eye

 The crew of people we have working are vibrant and hard working. In Makadara we hired two females and can honestly say were very disappointed by their effort. In Mathare we have three females and they are all fantastic. One woman, Joyce is a powerhouse and is more hard working than many men on the crew. It’s really strange having to give orders to people. Sometimes the language barrier is a major headache but I try hard to make sure that everyone knows I’m their friend, because after all I’m in their hood and none of this would be happening if it weren’t for them.

Today was especially brutal. Sean and I dug a trench for about 6 hours in a place which not only used to be a dumping site but a place for pooing. As I was sweating all over my body under the intense sun, hurling the pick into the “dirt”, the soil would fly back and hit me in the face, at one point I licked my lips and the taste I felt on my tongue was the same taste as the smell I had been smelling all morning.

  We hire a lunch spot across the way for the crew everyday and usually it is very enjoyable. Except for today. Sean and I were equally dying of hunger but much to our chagrin the daily special was “Matumbo” or what we would call cow stomach. Our hunger presided and we went for it. I’m not sure what was worse, the smell of the dish or the taste. The scent was like a rotten petting zoo and the taste was like a chewy garbage soaked piece of leather. Never again.

Our days are long and hard, waking up at 530 and usually arriving home at six or seven, with an hour and a half commute each way. That’s when Sean’s alarm clock isn’t waking us up at 3 am so we think its time for work, up until we’re making coffee and I look at my phone and see the real time. We slave all day throwing rocks, dirt and cement around and our hands are sore from the skin being shaved down. When we’re done, my body is fatigued and aching, we are covered in dirt, feces and sweat. but I can’t say that at the end of the day I have ever felt a better feeling.

I should be posting a new video soon and some photos of the construction in Mathare. For now here are some photos of the youth centre we pulled down and what garbage collection looks like in the slums.

 


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Long Week. Longer Weekend.



Finished up with all of the major construction in Makadara on Thursday. Everyone was completely exhausted by the end of the whole thing. Luckily it was labour day weekend here in Kenya so the workers got to enjoy their wages and get some rest while we went for a much needed mini vacation on the coast.


We were invited to join a group of other foreigners working in Kenya that had rented an amazing villa on Dianni Beach. There was a pretty great crew of NGO workers, private sector people, volunteers and the lot. Everyone was doing some kind of incredible work and they were all a blast. We basically spent the entire time swimming in gorgeous water, eating ridiculously good food, going on catamaran trips and enjoying the odd beverage or two. It seemed a bit surreal going from piles of garbage in the slums to a beach vacation, but hey, it’s not against the rules to have some care free fun now and then!


Now that we’re rested up Nathaniel and Sean are going to be moving their efforts over to Mathare for about two weeks to renovate the existing structure and convert it into a youth centre/ waste management centre. We’re still not 100% on the plan yet, but it looks like we’ll be using part of the area to store plastics and other recyclable from collections, the rest of the building will be upgraded to a community hall where the group uses the space to show soccer matches for a small fee and also rents it out for functions.


I’m going to continue to work with the Kibera group from last year at developing their door to door garbage collection business. Myself and some members from the NGO WorldBike have been working with the guys and girls from Kibera to make a solid business plan for the group to use as a guiding tool. The plan is almost done, next step is to do a pilot phase to see what works in reality and what doesn’t. We’ve made some good progress and the group has learned quite a deal about marketing, financial forecasts, staffing and all the other fun stuff you need to know when running a real business. It’s pretty awesome to keep working with these guys and see all of the familiar faces.


Time’s flying over here, we’re a third done already.


Il faut bouger bouger.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

"DONT TOUCH THAT F*$KING HAMMER!"

We have one day left of building in Makadara. I am seriously pooped. The sun has been merciless of late so I was very thankful to get the roof on today so we could work under the shade. I think the combination of an extremely tight schedule and the simmering heat has made Sean and I a little impatient and at times angry. As much as I love the work, it is so frustrating trying to get things done when you have five fifteen year old's from the neighborhood, hovering around you trying to pull the hammer out of your hand or trying to tell you what to do. These kids are basically idle all day, everyday so they are with us from start to finnish, but I had to put an end to their involvement when the work started to get technical. We have hired skilled workers and we have the local stragglers. The stragglers will pick up any tool at any time and just start banging at something, this has caused me a few out bursts where the locals heard many four letter words yelled in their direction. This isn't to say that we are groing strong relationships with this crew. There are some really cool dudes we are working with and once again I am so grateful that we were able to work in this area and meet these solid people.

Today we had a visit from the Executive Director of Environment from Nairobi. I think this is the end of us working completely under the radar like we have up till now. When we were working in Kibera, there was not one peep from the city council because no one cares about that place. Now that we are somewhere else, people are raising all kinds of stinks and we are trying to roll with it as we keep working. It was silly for us to assume that we could just walk into a neighborhood and start building a massive centre with out getting caught. We tried at least..

Tomorrow after work we are heading to the coast for some heavy RnR in Mombasa. Friday here is Labour day so we will have a nice 3 day relaxation period and then back to work on monday. Now Im going to go home, make some tasty burritos, have a beer and PASS OUT.

Ill post some video or photos soon.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Moving Forward

The end of our first week of Construction in the Makadara Constituency came to a close on Friday, with the successful completion of the first step of the waste management centre. After a lot of hard work put in by a number of ambitious youth, the weeks work was completed on schedule and only slightly over budget, which we can’t be more pleased about. It was more difficult getting the guys to stop for lunch then it was to get them to work, which is always nice. The Materials needed for next week’s work are already on site, and we are hopeful that the walls will be up and the roof on by the end of this coming week. Below are a few photos showing the completion of the foundation.




Next week is also the beginning of the waste Management training that will see about 60 youth, divided into three groups over the next three weeks, trained on waste management techniques such as plastics sorting and processing, briquette making, and composting.

We have also continued working closely with our friends in Kibera, trying to build on what we have already accomplished with them there, and are hopeful that things will continue to move forward

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The other side of working over here

As the construction in Makadara moves along well there have been some unfortunate incidents in the past week.

We have learned that three youth that were supposed to be a part of our program in Mathare died last week. Initially we were told that they had been in a car accident during a weekend trip out of town, later we received news that they were actually killed by police after a case of mistaken identity. This is disgusting but all too common. The police here are a pretty pathetic bunch of people, they make the VPD look like a group of angels.

Corruption in Nairobi is insane, personally I've been seeing a lot more of it this time around than last year. It's everywhere, there's nothing you can't pay your way through. The politicians are the worst, the majority of the time they are fat men in suits that walk around with an arrogant smile on their faces.

In the case of the youth that were murdered, they were apparently mistaken for gang members and killed. The criminal justice system is a joke here, which shouldn't really come as a surprise but when you see it first hand it is sobering. This information is second hand, so we don't know the full story yet, but it doesn't sound like a stretch.

On top of this story, we are now getting people who have been popping out of nowhere to start bugging the makadara youth groups for bribes. I won't name names, but people who should be happy that something is even being in their neighbourhoods are now taking the opportunity to attempt to fill their pockets. Officials, elders, and others are telling the youth group members that they want a piece of the pie. These folk see white people in their neighbourhoods working with the youth groups and now think that they have millions of dollars. There's been threats that if they don't get something they will incite the neighbourhoods against the groups, luckily we are working with groups that have lived their whole lives in these areas and are respected by their peers. Farouk and Michael, who are the leaders of the Kamaliza group have done an amazing job of dealing with all of the chaos surrounding this project.

I don't mean to sound too negative here, but this is the reality of Kenya. I should also say that there are good politicians and police that are trying to make this place better, but unfortunately they seem to be the minority. This wouldn't be a real project if there weren't any bumps in the road.

In the mean time we move forward and try to create a positive change, don't have any other options.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

DIG IN

After too many meetings than I care to remember, we are finally doing what we set out to do. It is very rewarding now to be here, seeing this project evolve. The past two days has been a milestone in our group’s efforts. Yesterday the Chief of the Makadera constituency came and gave the site the official opening. It was a symbolic gesture that was mainly for him to brag about his involvement in the community. The application process for the construction went well and the selected youth are keen and extremely hard working. We have accomplished in two days time what took six days in Kibera (mind that the ground in Kibera is much worse). I also have eight blisters on my left hand. It looks like leprosy.

The sun is ridiculously savage here. As much as we want to be able to be working as hard as the rest of the guys on the site, we do not have the skin for it. We can only go for so long before it feels like our skin is cracking to pieces. So we spend as long as we can, doing what needs to be done until we have to run to the cool shade like vampires. It has also been raining. Yesterday I left my only pair of shoes (suede) outside and got they were soaked. So this morning I had to walk to work in flip-flops. Our walk doesn’t include pavement and goes through the slum outside our flat. After it rains the paths are nothing but black sewage mud mixed with garbage. My feet kept sticking in the mud and the sandals kept breaking so I would have to pick the decrepit things up and fix them. By the middle of the day my feet were black up to my ankles. Thanks to Sean, he went and bought me a pair of rubber boots.

  The community we are in (Makadera) is not as visually provoking as Kibera but is still as affected by unemployment and other issues. The thing I like about working here is that the garbage isn’t absolutely everywhere already. This is really a great preventative measure to avoid a totally polluted neighborhood. As in some other slums, the garbage seems unsurpassable. The youth are excited about this opportunity that has been brought to them. I don’t have a single doubt that these groups are going to work their hardest to make this project work. After all, this project’s success doesn’t lie in our hands but in the group’s. We are simply providing them with a small service, should they choose to exploit it, is entirely up to them.

  Be sure that now that we are on the ground getting things done, we’ll be posting a lot more. And we want peoples input!







Monday, 13 April 2009

A little nini



Wow I cannot believe I actually got this video up. I won't get into detail about the difficulties of internet usage here, but getting this little video I made online was no simple task. I made a montage of some stuff while doing field work and other shots around town, just to try to portray the diversity of Nairobi.
It's not very difficult to pull out your camera and get some amazing shots here, there is always something going on. Luckily here (unlike Vancouver) there is an abundance of colour and noise which always makes filming and taking pictures fun, as long as you aren't flashing your gear too hard. I just don't know how often I am going to be able to go to these lengths to get video on here.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Put Your Hands Up For Nairobi... I Love This City!










We just had our big kickoff meeting on Friday and it was huge success. We had over 35 representatives of youth groups from around the city of Nairobi attending the presentation held at the Nairobi YMCA.

For those of you that don’t know about the project; we (Sean McHugh, Nathaniel Canuel and Justin Sekiguchi of the Environmental Youth Alliance) are starting a waste management program that empowers community-based youth groups in their garbage collections and recycling. We started our project last year with the Soweto Youth Group based in the slum of Kibera to build a waste management centre and we have now expanded the program to two more slums: Mathare and Makadara.

This year we have invited all of the youth groups from the Mathare and Makadara constituencies to participate in the program and to create a network that allows them to share resources, knowledge and markets. We will be building a waste management centre in each area and it will be shared by the various groups that serve that region. Construction will be followed by business and marketing development workshops to help the groups improve their existing services.

Yesterday’s turnout was over 35 heads of each group which represent somewhere around 600-700 youth. The presentation was given by EYA manager Melanda Schmid. The room was full of youth that have been doing door to door garbage collection for years and combined have an enormous amount of experience and knowledge. The overall reaction to the program was very positive and having all of the different groups in one room was an amazing sight.

During the discussion portion of the meeting we had asked the audience various questions to learn about their experiences with waste collection, when we asked the groups to tell us about problems they had encountered we heard a variety of issues that can impede groups from doing the collection (such as non-payment from customers, interference by politicians, hazardous working environment, etc…). The moment that things really started to change was when groups began to share various techniques that they had used to overcome the issues other groups were having, the answers to these youths’ problems were sitting right beside them.

So from here we will be designing the finer details of our project with the inputs from the groups and start the implementation as early as this week. There is still lots of work that needs to be done but we are excited to see how all of this unfolds and anticipate many twists and turns in the next three months.

Stay tuned…

Up With Hope Blog

Welcome everybody to the Up With Hope blog. We’ve set up this site to keep everyone up to date with the progress of the project and to share some stories from the daily life of a group of Canadians living and working in Nairobi. We’ll be uploading stories, pictures and video of our three months that we have to implement a waste management program. Stay tuned, we will try to update the site on a weekly basis (pending our access to the internet).

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the sponsors/donors that made this possible, it is your faith in the program that has made this a reality.

Green Workplace, Ruth Fluevog and Fluevog Shoes, Fine Art Framing, Pascale and Dominiek Lepoutre, Bernadette Phan, all those that attended the Up With Hope art show and anyone else that has supported Up With Hope in any other way.