By Sam Bw’Ogega
Let me introduce myself! I by no means am rich, nor am I in the middle class. what I am is a survivor. A boy who whistled during breakfast in Kisii High School. (now if you dont know what whistling is, ask around). You see, when you whistle during breakfast, everything is affected; attention in class, involvement in sports et al. It takes fortitude and krypton gravitas to score a university entry grade.
I however can attest to the fact that I possess the tyranny of ignorance, to some things, to some extent. I am a common layman, and in absence of having, I wallow in coma of hope.
I hope I have your attention mr. Kidero & company. Yesterday I read a brilliant note by an anthropologist Gabriel Oguda (find him on facebook) about where it all began for him, his mudwalled shack in kibera, a worthy read. The note took me back several years ago to where it all began for me in when I landed in the ‘city in the sun’, Nairobi. I was hosted by a horde of cousins in hazina slums, sandwiched between the mukuru misery and hazina south B middle club (or class).
A picture is permanently mounted in my memory of my neighbour across the muddy street or pathway if you prefer. You see our tin shack one room ‘house’ was at the jut of a three way intersection (basically trenches that carried all manner of waste, living, dead, human et al).
My neighbour’s ‘house’ was at a lower ‘elevation’ than ours because she didn’t have a cemented floor. Hers was bare earth, in there she lived, like millions of Nairobians, with her five kids; a beautiful teenage daughter and younger kids barely ten. She looked seventy and she was their mother.
One day it rained heavily and I saw untold misery mr. Kidero; wave after wave of torrential rainwater literally passed through her house, a sorry sight. Keep in mind we were at the threeway intersection of trenches that NYS wants to unclog…my God the ignoramus Waiguru…anyway back to my story…the month I landed in our city was in April, the height of tropical rain in our republic.
Mr Kidero, this year, many people died because the city overflooded and came to a stand still. You had to bring canoes from nam lolwe to navigate gutter and sewage to get to work.
Diarrhoea, typhoid and dysentery reined supreme as was our usual hero, the female anopheles mosquito whose nemesis the cinchona tree which is grown in Kericho is being decimated by deforestation of a tree that provides the lethal antidote (quinine) to our childkiller queen insect. And you promised action sir, city hall promised action. Here and there I see drainages being built but they are the wrong drainage.
By the roadside what we see are cemented trenches, not what nairobi needs. You see in modern cities, they dig deep and in there they put in place humongous culverts that even a 26 wheeler can rumble through with ease. The city of houston a few months ago had flooding that brought the modern metropolis to a standstill and cost a few lives. If such a rain and flooding happened here in Nyairofi (the maasai for place of still waters), we will all drown. When obama came by, we used over kshs 100m for flowers and clay flower pots that were uprooted and we were told thy had been rented! for a kshs 100m!
That hundred million could have bought enough metropolis worthy culverts to drain the whole 600 acres of Kibra or Mathare or the whole mukuru slums network. If such a culvert drainage and sewerage system had been in place several years ago at hazina slums, across the stagnant river from Mukuru slums (near Uhuru kenyattas TIMSALES by the way), my neighbour and her beautiful daughter would not have suffered so (and of course the kids, am humane sheesh).
I wonder if the shuttered self esteem of that beauty allowed her to shun a need for escape i could see in her eyes so that she’d go to school and manufacture a life for herself. Now now mr kidero, you are not a bad man, Mumias and all. I for one dont believe in the mumias hogwash. But you realise education just popped into this conversation of self esteem and a beautiful young girl (lets leave that for another day).Nairobi doesnt need trenches unclogged in kibera, or cemented drainage trenches by highways in nairobi.
What it needs is metropolis worthy culverts sunk and deep in our city. Then we can deal with this issue once and for all. For dear dr kidero, i have sent my memo, any life that is lost next year due to flooding(again!) you will be answerable on the day of our lord. p/s on a side note, kuna huyu jamaa sijui ya ndhiwa aliwahi toa speech tu kamoja kuhusu secgen wa moi/univ, sijawahi sikia a speech from him anymore, remember obama’s history was shaped by such speeches before the limlight. Tunaongea 100 years from now. Ushaskia JAnam. sincerely, s/o/ogega “with the slashes n all”