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!