Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Great day!

We had SUCH a great day today! We were invited to a performance by two of our friends from Silanga. There was a parade, band, and skits (all in Keswahili of course) meant to help the community better understand the new Constitution. I wish I had brought my camera with me! It was a really interesting way to communicate the changes and what they mean for the residents of Kibera. There was also a lot of traditional singing and dancing, and it was really beautiful.

We spent the afternoon in Kambi Muru, a neighboring village of Silanga. So far, the project has been solely focused around the 8 facilities in Silanga, and we were asked to take on a new facility in this new part of Kibera this summer. Unlike Silanga, the facility is newly built, well used, and extremely valued by the community. While the facility was being built, our partnering NGO conducted door-to-door community mobilization to create a group to manage the facility. It was so refreshing to the facility operating so well and have such a positive influence on the community. We spent the day with members of the community organization, visiting houses in the village, introducing ourselves, explaining our project, and basically letting them know that we would be hanging around for a while. All of the people we visited were so happy and grateful that we were there. They were excited to participate in the hygiene training and even more so to learn how to make and sell soap. Being this well-received by the community is almost a 180 from the perceptions in Silanga. Because the community group who runs the facility is so invested, plans are moving along very quickly. Next week, we will conduct household surveys to get a baseline of health and hygiene practices and perceptions of the facility. The next week, we will complete a hygiene training with a group of 20 community members who will be be trained to train others in the community. We had a lot of fun walking around with our new partners, visiting people in their homes, and smiling and nodding while everyone around us spoke (excitedly) in Swahili. Lots of positive energy today!

I thought it might be interesting to give you a glimpse of how we get around in Kibera...