Who would of thought that I would truly fall in love with Kibera- minus the “yucky factors”- danger, violence, lack of sanitation, and extreme poverty- I find myself only seeing the beauty of the souls of the people I meet, the determination of those that want to see change, and the true positive impact that can unfold when you come together with open hearts and a a strong dose of determination and the obvious wallet component:)
Returning to the slums was like returning home- inside of me I felt this anticipation to be back, a place where I knew I belonged and was meant to be, plus my added bonus was that I had Kassie with me! I was super excited to introduce Kassie to the Kibera Talking team, the children and the library!
I think back to when I first entered Kibera- the thoughts going through my head – what would this be like, a week seems like such a long time to be here; it is huge; there are so many people and they are all staring at me, the smell- what is it and please God don’t let me hurl, praying that I wouldn’t fall when walking through the alley ways lined with sewage. My how my views have changed – when most of the people stare- I wave and smiles come across those faces that I thought were so scary, the smell- well after the initial inhale it is okay, a week wasn’t nearly long enough, I notice the large rocks in place to help guide me so I don’t fall in the sewage, and thankfully have my posse that keeps an eye out, and as I walk the streets I catch myself finding an appreciation for all things Kibera style.
I will remind you of a conversation I had with Gaz in the beginning- I said “is it hard for people to leave Kibera? “ His response was very poignant- “Why should we leave where our ancestors came from? Shouldn’t we try and make it better?” That hit my heart in a very special place. I have said in the past how sometimes on these trips I can see my innocent ignorance come out- yup- here was another example. I don’t apologize- I get it and deep down it is a silent commitment that I want to help in that journey. Side note- this is what makes me truly grateful that I am able to travel and learn about all of these cultures and ways of life it is the best education.
Kibera Talking has these high dreams of changing the whole society and I explain change will be grassroots it will be a small movement that will amount to something larger. I can see the impact they have as I walk along the Kibera allies with them. Having people who are painting a wall- Gaz says you should take advantage and put up positive quotes about change up. The next day we are walking and long and behold there is a quote and three weeks later when I return there are quotes and the guys ask if I remember them…of course I do and there was a silent special moment- maybe even an “aha” moment- this can really become a movement!
As I look around the library and knowing my time is coming to an end for this trip- I smile- we did this and there are kids here, we have a ton of work ahead of us but in that moment I take it in….and couldn’t be happier! We talk about the future and how we will continue to communicate and work together…and I look forward to spending my 40th back in Kibera!
Y’all know this trip has been an adventure for me- moments that have tugged on my heart, moments that made me question myself, and moments finding this inner confidence & strength that nothing was going to get in my way of completing my mission. And yes- along the way this City Chik fell in love with the Slums- the people, the soul, the hope, the resilience and the dream.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!