Visit the Official WinCatherine Website

Friday, May 1, 2009


I can’t believe it is already May! The time is really flying by. Today we got a call back from the person we had called to take us into Kibera. You need to go in with a local who has connections and knows the place because it is easy to be robbed there and we were going in with our equipment A Kenyan who I have been in touch with just finished filming a feature film inside the slum so she referred us to her security man, Bangkok. He directed Willy where to meet him and we parked the car outside of a police station and met him. He was a very striking man with a commanding presence. He had a scar on his face from a knife wound that he told us was received during a clash with police some years ago. He enlisted one more man to go with us so our equipment would be protected and he also helped carry the tripod. The first thing we did before going in was to buy “sweets” to give out to children. We bought two bags of lollipops and headed in. I wanted to learn if the children inside knew who Catherine Ndereba was and thought it would be interested to know what they knew of her.

We headed into “town” down a dirt road and we were struck by what we saw; just like the outside view of wall to wall rooftops, inside was wall to wall buildings, stores and homes. It was the Kenyan Labor Day so we knew there would be many kids around since there was no school that day. As soon as we got into town there was a railroad track that stretches straight through the town.

We just caught the end of a freight train. We are told that the train runs from UgandaKenya. We were immediately surrounded by children and when I asked if they knew who Catherine was they had no idea. This was just the beginning of what would be a huge eye-opener; throughout this slum, almost no one knew who she was! We went through the lollipops on no time and had to stop and buy more sweets; this time colorful sucking candies. Even adults would come ask for some! What struck me most about Kibera was how many children were there and all alone; brothers and sisters wandered along taking care of each other with no parents in site.

The shops were tiny and one after another.
There was a toilet area that smelled awful and was concentrated in an area at the end of a block of homes. There were actually some TV antennas around but for the most part, it was dirty, dingy and crowded; 1.5 million people live inside this slum (I need to research what the square footage is). However, as dreary as it seemed to us, the children there are happy; they don’t know any different and that is sad. When we did find children who had a hero or role model, it was of a football (soccer) player. They have no Kenyan role models but they like to kick around the football and they know the players. It was interesting to think about why the runners in Kenya are not celebrated throughout the country like our sports heroes are in America! We spent about 4 hours inside just walking, looking and talking to people of all ages. When we left I had a new view of Kenya; while some places are extremely beautiful, it is contrasted by this sad place where people rarely get out. It was great to have Bangkok with us as he was able to handle the locals well and they all seemed to know who he was and respect his authority. He said he had recently formed a security company and he and his men have worked with several film crews inside.

Bangkok & Willie in Kibera

When we left there we stopped by Willy’s offices at Film Studios. It is a complex with several film/production companies that rent office space inside the compound. We met with some of the executives there and all exchanged business cards for future. We left there and stopped for some lunch at a place called Java House which is owned by Americans and is a chain similar to Starbucks but they have a full menu. It was good and they have free wifi :-)

Overall, it was an extremely interesting day and I am glad we experienced it!

kids everywhere love the camera!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!