Its Sunday afternoon here in the south east of Ireland, and the rain has finally stopped. Thoughts and plans are now turning to our up comming trip, back to Nairobi in Kenya in July later this year.
You see, I beleive we are all made in the image and likeness of God, and hence we have a God given purpose within each one of us, no matter what part of the world we live in, no matter our circumstances.
We also are given a certain number of steps to take in this world & tragically, there is a mother who is joining us on this trip who lost her son, a brother and sister he lost there older brother who had just completed his leaving cert. Eoghan was known as the Big Friendly Giant, who stood 6 foot 6 inches tall and was recognisable everywhere he went, always sticking up for those who were vunerable in his community, We have adopted the BFG for this outreach, because we believe everyone is Born For Greatness. After out brief trip last year to scout the land and see where and how we could make an impact, however small. 8 more are joining me on this trip & their ages range from 13 to 19 years old.. What a trip it will be for them.
So here is a little on our trip form last year.
I wanted to tell them that our trips are fun, but while we do have a little fun, we also get stuck in, get our hands dirty and do what we can with what we have & let God do the rest.
The place is called Soweto Slum.
It is a slum area in Nairobi near the International Airport. It’s not nearly as big as the world famous, largest slum in the world, called Kibera, which is also located in Nairobi. This slum is one of the many forgotten slums in Nairobi, in Kenya.
Before we begin some information on Soweto. It is about 3 kms in length and 1 km in width. This small area has over 400,000 people living in it. This place is mostly made up of widows and children and single women and children. Prostitution and alcoholism is very high here as well.
On entering Soweto Slum, nothing had prepared me for what I was about to see…..every street is covered with garbage. The stench of human waste fills the air. Young children that should be in school are running around.
Not sure the last time white people went in to Soweto but as soon as we entered, we heard the famous word ‘Mzungu’ being shouted from all directions. We visited a local school, bringing some clothes and a few treats. It’s wonderful and he is reaching out to the children of this poor place. Something that is still hard to get my head around is that in the senior class of 11 pupils, 4 were hiv positive and 3 were prostitutes….. there age between 12 and 14 years old. I must confess I did not believe it when I was told, but walking around the streets later that night confirmed that not only was this true but there are many young girls and boys caught up in this lifestyle…
Walking through the slum streets, I saw residents forming queues to use one communal tap. They say it is much better than collecting water the water pipes that are often cracked and also run through the sewage drains. One of the homes we went to was in complete ruins. The home was made up of metal sheets and it had only one room. When we arrived, the mother was gone to the dump to find food and plastic. She had left her three young children at home to fend for themselves.
A quick spur of the moment decision saw us stop at what was presumably the local cash and carry to buy Ugali (cornmeal) for the orphans and widows of Soweto slum. What we bought was enough to feed over 700 people for 2 days and cost 170 euro…. (In fact we gave out over 2000 meals and all cost less than 300 euros… so it really doesn’t cost a lot)…. Word spread throughout the slum pretty quick and we were overcome by the size of the crowds that turned up.
A little info of Living in Soweto Slum
The lucky residents have one toilet (hole in the ground) is shared by up to 50 shacks. Once full, young boys are employed to empty the toilet and they take the contents to the river.
In the western world it has become common for many students to take a Gap Year out before or after college. More mature people are also now taking a year out, away from their everyday life. Many could work in Soweto Slum where they would achieve a real sense of doing some good. Soweto Slum is crying out for people to help.