With this Global Pandemic (Covid-19), governments everywhere have put in place tough restrictions on movement and social engagements. In Africa, these strict measures come with a pinch of privilege. With social distancing for instance… you need to at least have adequate space and a population whose movement you can regulate. In Kibera (the largest slum in Kenya), a lot of people are now trying to keep distance, and every new day provides a glimpse into their daily struggle to maintain this safe distance despite the congestion. To stay at home and do nothing on the other hand is the greatest privilege most residents of Kibera can think of, for most here depend on casual work as construction workers, househelps etc.
We initiated the Kibera Food Drive project to make sure that every family in Kibra can have enough food at the end of the day, we understand social distancing and staying at home is a privilege that we cannot afford. Each time we knocked on someone’s door, every time we said hello, the smiles and gratitude that met us gave us hope and determination to do more. With no support from either the government or the many non-governmental organizations with a presence in Kibera, the community team has so far been able to feed around 3,000 families over the past two weeks.
The drive has been successful to some extent but considering Kibra is the largest slum in Africa, 250 is a drop in the ocean. Most families we met referred us to other families and I sometimes felt like I was not doing enough. One woman we met, Lydia, spoke of how she lost her job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She worked as a househelp in one of Kenya's affluent estates. With her earnings, she was able to, before all this, feed her family, pay rent and buy any necessities needed in the house— but now she is left with nothing to do but to just stay in the house with no food and no income.