Kenya slum dwellers see no hope in near future (2)

10:58, July 05, 2010      

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But that alone is unlikely to break the cycle of poverty that binds everyone in this community. Most of the youths here are unemployed.

"We watch as our children degenerate into misfits since we cannot afford the fees to take them to school. The government's so called free education is not absolutely free as school heads continue to hike levies in schools despite the government directives," said Zainabu wistfully.

"In Kwa Reuben you can never sleep hungry, it is the promised land. Even a prostitute is easily available," says a young man who lives in the slums.

For a long time, prostitutes charged only 20 Kenyan shillings. This made prostitution popular pastime for the male residents. Unlucky are the young men employed as watchmen within Nairobi.

"Their wives are so immoral and you are likely to see them lurking dangerously along the dark streets of the slums dressed half-nacked as they hunt for customers to compliment their nights when their husbands are at work," lamented a young man who has fallen victim in the past.

But there is a hidden cost. AIDS is wiping out young people fast.

"Unless something is done urgently," taxi driver John Otwori warned. "There is no need for a new constitution because it does not make meaning to the slum dwellers."

"We do not have the next generation," he claimed.

Papa Hassan Kabeti, 25, sells shoes in the slum. He has never been to school. When he makes a little money, he rushes out to buy local brew commonly called Busaa,. At 10 o'clock in the morning, he is already drunk.

The "Busaa" dens in Kwa Reuben slums open as early as 6 a.m. and close long after midnight.

The greatest worry is the recent decision by parliament to legalize traditional brews like Busaa and Chang'aa (another local brew).

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