Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome to the slum: Mathare day 1

Yesterday we had the opportunity to go into one of the slums that we will be researching in to do an initial 'orientation' of the area and begin interviews. So we hopped on a bus, got off a bus, walked for a ways, stopped for a meal (masala chips - yum), got on another bus (I had a guy sitting on one of my legs and my shoulder squished behind another guy), got dropped of beside the highway, crossed the highway (near death experience pretty much every time), walked down a dirt road, crossed by a bunch of stalls and corrugated metal houses that look like this:

...rounded a corner........ and we were there - Mathare, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi:

Like most informal settlements or slums, there is no recognition from the municipality that they exist, meaning no services, like water, sanitation services, roads, or trash collection:

Since there is no sanitation/water service to the area, I bet you are wondering where everyone goes to the bathroom, aren't you? Well, that's what I am here to show you!!!


Behold, the toilets of Mathare. The right side of the bush is for men, the right for women.

No saniation services?!? No worries!!! There are pigs to help with waste removal!!

Want to know what is in many of those bags????? I'll leave it to your imagination.

Which is where my internship comes in, and the organization I am working with.......... EcoTact is building a Water and Saniation Facility, called the Iko Toilet, that is being officially opened TOMORROW!


This is less than a 1 minute walk from the 'bush.'
It is under construction for the official launch on Wednesday.

The ladies' toilet.

The tap where people will be able to fill cans to take home to cook/clean/drink.

The Community Committee of Mathare that is aiding EcoTact with this project. They will be the ones collecting the fees and managing the facility. They were so gracious and have already been an incredible wealth of inforomation for us.

And here are some completely gratuitous pictures of adorable children we met near the Iko Toilet.

FYI - we have permission from the community to take and share all of these pictures.


Kent said...

My advice - don't eat the pork.

Victor said...

I'm so glad you met the town/community committee. I know they must have been a great help. The ladies' toilet looks alright. The water-filling station doesn't look so good, however. I don't know if they're still working on it or what. Are there cleaners for the toilets?

Do pigs really eat feces? From where do people get the plastic bags?

I can see that the slum is farther away than I thought. One picture initially looked to me like you could see downtown Nairobi.

Victor said...

Oh tell me about the corrugated homes. Who funded that project and how long have they been around? Those look alright.