Kibera Slums 1
By: Northern Seminary
It is late, and the erratic WiFi in the hotel is preventing me from uploading pictures at the moment, so I will settle for posting mere words before heading for bed.
Monday and Tuesday this week were exhausting days spent exploring just a fraction of the Kibera slums. Walking the slums is rugged hiking, comparable to hiking a mountain trail with added obstacles of chickens, children, excrement, mud, conduit, gutters, and garbage everywhere.
Should one be oppressed by the misery encountered in such a place? Should one be exalted by the compassion demonstrated by those who choose to make Kibera their homes? Should one be humbled by the grace with which so many Kiberans greet the tourists squelching through their living spaces? Should one be sickened as the light of Kibera casts evil shadows from one’s own affluence?
Kibera can be a morass, a gravitational well, that pulls the human spirit down. It strips life of the insulating illusions of technology and infrastructure, exposing a bare wire of human spirit humming at levels dangerous to the observer. You breathe Kibera in, and it enters your bloodstream. Even when you leave, Kibera clings to you, clotted on your shoes and coating the insides of your nostrils.
The focus of our visit, though, is not Kibera, but the men and women who live and work in Kibera with the stubborn insistence that God cares, that God will redeem each and every soul who turns to Him. Our goal is not to change Kibera, but to change ourselves. This is at least an achievable goal. How much we change remains to be seen.
We will be leaving tomorrow for the last stage of our African pilgrimage before turning for home. We will pack up three vans by 6:00am and head south to the town of Namanga where we will visit some Masai churches and then drive to Amboseli National Park in time for dinner. I do not know whether I will have access to the Internet again before we return to Nairobi on Saturday to start our series of flights toward home. I look forward to posting more when I can.