Vunja Winga_Part 1

Vunja Winga means Breaking Boundaries [it is also the title of rapper Sharama’s debut album]

Two months ago I made a friend. Nothing new, ei? But it is this friendship that made me visit a place that all at once fascinated and scared me. And that place is Kibera. I have mentioned before on this blog that I consider myself a member of the middle-middle class.

So to be brutally honest, I hadn’t taken the time to visit, because [in my mind] the middle class is a hop-skip-and-jump away from abject poverty. This thought lingers ever in my mind and I did not need a reminder of the same.

Also, and more realistically, I had no reason to go there. I had no family, no project or business to conduct there, so why go?
Therefore, you can imagine how shameful I felt when my friend invited me on a slum tour of Kibera. He was in the country to write a paper on the ‘phenomenon’ and as he put it, I was ‘the perfect guinea pig’.

I got up on the Saturday morning set aside for the tour, sat on my bed and thought ‘Woah! I’m really doing this’. See, I am opposed to the idea of slum tourism because it is disrespectful.

It is the observation of how a people live. As if they were caged animals in a zoo to be marveled at. It also engenders the idea that poverty is something to be ‘proud’ of, something to ‘present’ and expect to make money out of.

But since I hadn’t made a point to go there through other means, I thought it best to shut up and see for myself. We met outside Java, Adams Arcade and due to my awesome time-keeping skills [ahem], I was the last to arrive.

There were about 12 people gathered there, mostly Caucasians with just one British lady, two guides and myself repping the Africans. I dashed to the loo to steel my mind and soul [ok, that sounds a tad bit dramatic] before the tour, because I knew I’d experience the mixed emotions of anger, sadness and embarrassment later on.

So we set off, looking quite the spectacle as we wove our way through the narrow paths, wooden, mabati and/or polythene-roofed stalls of Toi market. I was already cringing as I heard the inevitable ‘Hawa wazungu wengi wanaenda wapi?’, [Where are all these white guys going to?] ‘Hallo mzungu’ etc. But I knew that there in the densely packed confines of the market, I was probably passing off as just another shopper stuck behind a trail of a bunch of white guys.

But as soon as we got to the end of the market and crossed the road [unfortunately I don’t know the name of the road, but basically it divided Kibera and Toi market] it was clear that I was part of the troupe. A local ‘tourist’.

*deep breaths*

11 responses to “Vunja Winga_Part 1”

  1. Enhe, twendelee…

  2. freeze picture *insert adequate theme music*…

  3. Wanjeri.justus

    Am dying with curiousity!!!!! What happened next? Slums are a disgrace to our society unfortunately there are people who use them to enrich themselves. How selfish!!!

  4. Vidahxz

    Cant wait for part 2! There is always some misconception about people who live in the slums which to me is no big deal. But anyway next you coming let me know, I come from there and I can be your ‘tour-guide’, just to give you a better view of the area.

  5. Sonia

    halafu what happens next…very good intro

  6. Situ

    Ebu jus write the whole storo…wwe can even publish it to a book:D….very nice intro my dear

  7. Angela wahinya

    Ehe????what happened unaeza acha hiyo story iki hang…ehe???

  8. EdGicovi

    Aaaaand….. Quite interesting. Now waiting for the rest 🙂

  9. Narisha

    Beautifully vivid imegery there!! It couldn’t be any better! I like every bit

  10. henry

    This a story ill really like to follow,it leaves me eager to know how it unfolds.good job

  11. Wonders will never cease!!! Ati STV in Kibera? I cannot even aroffd cable in the first world to watch English league and kiberians have access to Satellite Dish. You gotta love Nairobi/Kenya JKE ama:-) !!!!

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