Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Poverty Goliath (we a small axe)

Been sleeping on this blog for a bit too long. Updates? There are many. Should I talk about the amazing new green space / football pitch? Or should I talk about how we hosted the Executive Director of UN Habitat and UNDP at the new centre. I could post a bunch of pretty photos and talk about how efficient we are as an NGO but that all seems a little backwards to me.
When I haven't seen or spoken someone for a while the next time I see them they always ask me "How is the project going?" To which I always struggle to respond. I normally reply "We are doing awesome." It's the easiest to say because our crew is a group of amazing people who work tirelessly in the name of progress.
What is our project? Is it waste management? Yes but not exclusively. Is it youth development? You bet your buttons. Have we made an impact? That's not for us to say but we'd like to think so. When you focus on the issues of urban poverty and inequality it reduces our work to a drop in a very huge daunting bucket. During the month of January alone, in one of the communities where we work, 10 people died as they languished in poverty. Some were sick, unable to afford medical attention. Some were killed, unable to chose a more honest lifestyle before their 20th birthday. This is the reality for over one billion people living in ghettos across the world. Someone named "Muze Kize" who always keeps my head on straight, tells me "People aren't living here, they are surviving". That is why it's difficult for me to always write with an attitude as though everything is hunky dory.
(Remembering our fallen member Kenito who was killed by police 3 years ago)
Mlango Kubwa in the evening. During the day it's a vibrant place, in the evening is a totally different story.
This is the successful green area we have started behind the football pitch. Guess how much grass exists in Mathare Ghetto? Not a whole lot I can assure you.
Kaka addressing the Executive Directors of UN Habitat and UNDP
Starting on the left MP of Mathare Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, ED of UNDP Rebecca Greenspan and the ED of UN Habitat Joan Close
Entertainment with the SAKATA Dancers
Joan Close made a very wonderful speech. He's also the ex mayor of Barcelona So what is our "project" when you strip it down bare? It's people, mostly with only a high school diploma (myself included) that are passionate about working together for results that make people lives better. However small and insignificant it might appear on paper or to strangers. I just hope we can all continue working together because at the end of the day, it feels as though we are doing something right.

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