This being our second visit in Kibera, it was a different trip all together. Our first trip was at Ndugu Mdogo Rescue Center which wasn’t far off from the main road, about ten minutes’ walk. When I heard about Magoso, I thought it was going to be easily accessible just like the previous Centre.
The first peculiar thing about entering the slum is the total transformation from outside to inside. Majority of the volunteers we had stayed in nice gated communities. Once we left the main road, the landscape immediately changed. It was as though entering an entirely new world. On one side of the street, a 21th century African super-city, and on the other, something altogether different.
We walked for about 15 minutes, for a while alongside an operational railroad right through the slum that, I was told, shakes all the structures around and, rarely, kills or injures the people who walk along it. For a little while we were on the main road, but we soon veered off between houses. We crossed literal rivers of sewage — the smell was all-pervasive before long.
Unfortunately for us, we had gone at a period when it was heavily raining and every time we were praying that the skies hold it tight till we were done. We walked through gaps between mud-and-aluminum constructions. The ground was so slippery, and my eyes were usually there, rather than on the people or homes, for there was the very real possibility of slipping and falling into the drain pools.
We finally got to Magoso School, A narrow, two-story, U-shaped compound, and were met by the students and their teachers. The school hosts more than 400 students who come every day, all of them from Kibera and many of them orphans with about 20 volunteer teachers.
We met the principle and some of the teachers who were some of the most impressive, inspiring people I’ve met in a long time.
We had fun with the kids. And by the way, they know how to sing, dance and narrate poems.
We shared the little we had. I remember one of the teachers saying that for some of the kids, that was the only time in that year that they were eating cake. So remember, whenever you throw away that remaining piece of cake or pizza you eat every week, there is a kid somewhere who takes it once in a year and sometimes not at all.
If you thought Kibera was the depth of poverty, wait until you get to Magoso.
They have their own “Magoso African Designs”, a project they started to help them get supplementary funding to take care of the kids.
As part of its mission, Magoso School also runs programs on poetry, drumming, gospel singing and acrobatics to combat anxiety and help children to overcome their experiences of violence.
We may not have enough but sharing the little we have counts a lot.