Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a dialogue about slum life for young girls with Mumbi of Kiamaiko, Huruma

The last time I spoke to Mumbi, a young mother and community organiser in Huruma, Kiamaiko slum area in Nairobi, she was distraught! Her friend Lilian -who read to us parts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s speech "I have a Dream" in her mother tongue (Maragoli) at a tense time when Kenya was subjected to violence after the election of 2007,died all alone whilst in labour without help in her little room. Violence in the slums never stops. It is only that we only like to focus on killings of another type.

"I wish I knew what Lillian was going through. I wish I was there!,", Mumbi told me in tears, "I would have saved her life!". Mumbi suffered alot and still is. I tried to tell her it was not her fault but I also feel very hurt. Lilian died holding her dreams in her hands and writhing in pain. But now Mumbi is looking at life more critically as a community organiser. She sees things in a broaders sense. An interview with her will follow later on my pages. I wanted her to share her typical day's task and her life in Huruma so that we could send her some inspiration and hope. What would you like me to ask her or tell her? Please post to me. I am sure many of us are familiar with hard situations. For now, I would like to share what she sent me. I hope that you will be patient to follow Mumbi's story with me as she shares who was and what happened to her friend Lilian. These situations are common in many of the countries of the world and everyone I think should take note. It is not a problem of poor developing countries on their own because often the causes of dire poverty are shared or are rooted in better off countries.

Mumbi writes,

I am a community organizer and have been for years. What I think is based on my experiences as a community worker, meeting and coming across countless families in extreme distress, facing disease and death at a level that is hard to imagine for the middle class Nairobi community living comfortable lives driving posh vehicle you could imagine of.

Every week 5 to 10 pregnant women die in villages or local hospital during child birth and when performing abortion. Can you imagine by the end of the year how many women will have died, and not even one will be registered by the local media.

What would have happened if so many mothers “to- be” died in hospitals like Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan, and mater hospital name it? I fail to understand. Do the lives of these poor women in poor communities have less value than those who have?

Women from poor communities who are the majority in the Kenya population need support, and I hope that their lives are valuable enough for us to put resources on the table to save them. I believe that Kenya has enough resources that can to solve the problems women in the grassroots are facing due to lack of proper facilities in government hospitals costing us loss of many lives unsafe abortion claiming many lives of young girls in our society.

How many millions of shillings have been pumped into failing parastatals over the past few years in order to save them from collapse? Why can’t our leaders do something similar to save large portions of humanity especially women and children from starvation, disease and death? Is this not an important cause to support?

Secondary education is beyond the reach of many poor women, if the girl child and others are not educated then how much poverty, violence and criminality will they cause as they grow into unhealthy lawless, uneducated adults? We feel it high time that our government should be held answerable of the unnecessary deaths of young women and girls on its failure to achieve on the millennium development goals that promote safe mother hood.

Report by Ruth mumbi bunge la mwananchi women chapter/kiamaiko young women

--- On Tue, 2/16/10, Mumbi Ruth


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