Making Second-hand New
They're sandwiched between the airport, a housing development with a twelve-foot tall brick fence topped by broken bottles, and Kenya's National Park, which is also fenced off securely. No wonder it is easy for these people to slip into the identity of second-hand clothing.
The water that little boy is drinking in the picture above is some of the cleanest water in the area, because it comes from a relatively deep well and has been boiled. But one of the things that made me sad was seeing kids in the slum eye our bottles of water. Jim from the medical group brought in a sweating three-gallon jug still cold from the grocery store, and I had to watch it while he was occupied lest it disappear. I just wanted to walk around the corner and leave it outside someone's door. Children should not consider clean water a luxury item!
During the 2007-08 post-election riots, Mitumba was the only temporary settlement in the nation with no violence. We heard stories of how the men and older boys took turns standing guard at night during those uneasy times, and it was clearly a point of pride. Mitumba is a community where the people stand together, even if they originate from eleven different tribes, and that community feeling is built largely through the church and school run by REM.
See REM's website to learn more about what is happening in Mitumba, and how you might be able to help.