Kenya slum dwellers see no hope in near future

10:55, July 05, 2010      

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As Kenyans clamor for a new constitution, many slum dwellers in the country's capital city of Nairobi lead desperate lives in abject poverty. Many face obstacles in improving their conditions with no ray of hope in the foreseeable future.

However, what do they want in alleviating this situation and how can they wade through the stings of poverty?

Zainabu Mohammed, 57, is a single mother and a resident of Mukuru Kwa Reuben, one of the highly populated slums in Nairobi.

She has lived with her children in a single room that doubles as a sitting and bedroom with some kitchen accessories, indicating that it is also her Kitchen. All that she wants is a separate room for her children.

she said pointing at the floor "Here is where my eight children spread out their stuffed mattresses and spend their nights."

Her most mortifying moments are at night when she has to answer to the call of nature.

"You do it in a basin while your children are listening. I have never got used to this shame," Zainabu told Xinhua with disgrace painted all over her face.

For the past 36 years she has lived in this dingy room whose lighting comes from a few holes on the roof and the door which is left ajar most of the day.

From this room she organizes most of her petty merchandise which she hawks at a nearby market. She sells everything she lays her hands on, from second-hand clothes to vegetable and fish.

"I have lived in this room with all my children, through their adolescence to adulthood," she explained.

As a mother raising her children in the sleazy and dirty- choked slums of Mukuru Kwa Reuben area in Nairobi, she hopes they can live a little better than she has.

A separate room for them is, for her, the first step in reducing the poverty in which she paddles. Zainabu prayed that the proposed new constitution of Kenya addresses major issues such us economic empowerment of the disadvantaged classes in the society.

"There must be some provisions in the constitution that compels the state to allocate special funds to the many little class earners living in slums at least at the end of every month to enable them access essential services," she hoped.

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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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