Stories we Tell Ourselves

Charity begins not at home

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A whiff of sewage. A strong whiff of raw sewage is what hits you as you go past the junction of Suna Road and Joseph Kangethe Road- a few metres off what was formerly the Nairobi Winners Chapel and adjacent to the extension of Toi Market where fresh produce is being vended.

Now, this stretch of the road runs under a culvert that cuts across the road so as not to divert the course of what was once a stream, most likely feeding into the Nairobi River. However, by the look and smell of things, you would never know there is a stream; for just next to it is a manhole that spews sewage into the river as though it is being paid to do so.  During the May long rains, the sewage flooded the road such that part of the road- the sidewalk, caved in, eating into the road.

A whiff of sewage. A strong whiff of raw sewage is what hits you as you go past this stretch in a matatu. It is so strong that the odour pervades the inside of the matatu, rubbing off into your skin and clothes onwards into Nakumatt Prestige where you will alight. Now, as the matatu rides off at the edge of the road- for there is a bump here- presumably to lessen the impact of the bump on the ill-maintained shock absorption system of the matatu, you get a sneaky feeling that it might just veer off the road and tumble into the murky waters underneath. Death by sewage. Or if your imagination is one step ahead, sewage boarding- for the matatu will be upside down, you trapped inside (Good Samaritans don’t dive into raw sewage to do their rescue), the sewage clogging your lungs…




Tragedy is that this burst sewer is off a few metres from the Nairobi County Council’s sub-county offices and the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company that purportedly serves the area. The sewage flows into Moi Girls School Nairobi, Quabbz (named after a former president and who has a residence, Karbarnet Gardens, a kilometre away). Further ahead is the Joseph Kangethe Primary School- named after a freedom fighter. But no, charity does not at home begin!

And so the children in these schools grow up knowing it is ok to have open sewers. They grow up and become leaders who let sewage flow freely- for that is the way things have always been. But before that, they will vote in the same same leaders come election time. For the City Fathers know that money talks, bullshit (or is it human shit?) walks.

Nairobi- once the Green City under the Sun, now the Green (another kind of green though, sewage green) City Under Shit. How things change! I miss John Gakuo. Come the general elections, I will vote for him as my preferred gubernatorial candidate.  They will declare my vote spoilt, but it matters not, for I saw what the man could do. Now, if only I knew where the man lives, I would pay him a visit and convince him that the governorship is his for the asking- Nairobians are intelligent.

Over to you Nairobi peeps. Let’s clean the city. Let’s vote for John Gakuo.




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